Our older kids, who are eight and six, are very excited about their 4-month-old baby brother. They play with him, change diapers and love him endlessly. Sometimes the attention is a bit too much for the baby, causing him to drop his bottom lip before starting a juicy cry.
One thing the older boys are also interested in is the breastfeeding. They observe and hang around to see how it happens. Additionally, they ask questions and make comments. Today our six-year-old said; Wow Mom, nice breast! It is great to see that our older boys are interested in all the aspects of the baby’s life! They think it is very natural that babies eat from their mommies’ breast and that there is nothing to be embarrassed about.
My wife is a very good, experienced and determined breast feeder. She is not preachy about it, and not judgmental either, if others choose to do it differently. But she is able and willing to give encouragement and guidance to others that are breastfeeding.
In Finland breastfeeding is widely encouraged and it is seen as a very natural part of life. If baby is hungry, you will feed the baby where ever you are. Whether that is at your home, in public transportation, in a restaurant or in a church pew it is the same. Mother lifts up her shirt and plugs the baby in. No extra covers to disturb the important connection between the mom and the baby during the most natural feeding event in the world. I have seen many mothers breastfeeding their babies without covers since I was a small child and it has always been discreet and very dignified.
I get a sense that here in the United States breastfeeding is a little bit more of a back room event. If you are in the public, you need to cover yourself and a baby with a suffocating blanket, at least it looks suffocating to the baby, in my opinion. Preferably, you are supposed to find a mothers room or bathroom and go to a different space all together and still cover up. I am not the most etiquette savvy eater myself, but I wish sometimes that some adults I see eating would cover themselves up while doing it, because it is not pretty.
Breastfeeding provides the mother and her baby the unique opportunity to bond and be together the way no other people can. There are scientific studies about the health benefits that breastfeeding provides to the newborn baby, but I am also certain that loving bond between the mother and the baby formed through breastfeeding has immense emotional benefits as well.
Finally, breast milk comes in such a nice and convenient package, so why would we ever like to make breastfeeding more complicated event than it is?