Breastfeeding is the Bomb: Here’s Why

I get a kick out of that title, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. This is the name of the book published by La Leche League, and it’s the Bible of Breastfeeding. The Maxim for Mammilla. The Tome for Teats.

What can I say? The title of the book makes me giggle.

Whenever I tell Gwen that the title amuses me, she looks at me as if I’ve just called Canada the 51st state or let out a very large, wet belch.

I just think there’s something funny and awkward about the title. Not about breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is the bomb. It’s dope.

Breast milk is beyond science. We have yet to fully understand it, and we will certainly never reproduce its equal in a laboratory. It is a mystery, like quantum physics and black holes and the appeal of Bikram yoga. It is God manifest in the material world. I get a bit fired up about breast milk.

Here are some of the wondrous perks of breasts. I mean breast milk.

The first milk that comes out after baby is born is called colostrum. Colostrum contains gentle laxatives that help baby poop out the meconium. It contains probiotics that set up the proper flora in the baby’s gastrointestinal tract and is higher in protein than ordinary milk. Colostrum also contains antibodies to protect the newborn against disease. These antibodies set up the infant early on with a healthy immune system. They contain the combined disease prevention protocol of mama. And when mama gets a fresh cold, she passes her newly-created antibodiesto fight that cold right to her baby. When my wife was nursing, she’d be thrilled to get colds so she could give this gift to our son. She’d be in tears of joy.

Every mammal produces colostrum for their babies. It seems so sacred to me, a special bond between mom and newborn baby. In Southern India they sell a special sweet cheese made from cow colostrum. When I first read this I literally choked back a vomit, and then I realized that it was no different from cheese made from regular cow milk. New things can seem so scary.

Breastfeeding bonds mama and baby. There is no better soother or TLC than a nice, warm nipple. Visualize this. You’ve had a tough day of learning to use your fingers. You’re frustrated after the fifteenth time you dropped the ring that dangles above your head. You’re craving some touch. Well, now, there’s that warm soft fleshy mama who smells so good. The warm nipple that fits just perfectly in your mouth. And the milk, oh, the milk, let me tell you! Delicious. And you always fall asleep after drinking it. Ah, sweet ambrosia.

Breast milk is a panacea. It generates hormones in mama that battle baby blues. A few drops heals pink eye. I’ve seen this firsthand, and it’s amazing. Noah had pink eye. Gwen posted this to Facebook and asked for advice (yes, we get our medical advice from Facebook). A friend told her to express a few drops of breast milk right into Noah’s eye. And that cleared it up. You could see the redness disappearing as in time-lapse photography.

Studies demonstrate that breast-fed children are less likely to develop juvenile diabetes, multiple sclerosis and heart disease, and mothers who breastfeed are less apt to have osteoporosis later in life, are able to lose weight gained during pregnancy more easily and have a lower risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.

I bet when you read that list just now, you were like, “less likely to develop multiple sclerosis, yup, heart disease, (yawn) yup, osteoporosis, yup, lose weight more easily… wait, what? I’m in!” We live in a strange culture.

Breastfeeding generates hormones in mama that battle baby blues and is far cheaper than buying formula. Breast milk also cures chapped nipples and lips and fights baby acne, and the list goes on. I suspect that it could loosen tight lids and finally get my car door to stop squeaking. But Gwen is always so hesitant to try these things.

There are hard times. Pain, clogged ducts, infection. For these, our midwife taught Gwen to use cabbage leaves. And they worked. More than once, Gwen sent me out to the market for a head of cabbage. She’d take a large leaf and cup it over the affected area. Have you ever heard of the doctrine of signatures? It’s the idea that herbs and plants in nature give us clues by looking like what they help. Well, all I can say is that a cabbage leaf looks an awful lot like a breast. It even has veins and a nipple bump.

If supply seems low, get help. Whatever the problem, be it pain, infection, or simply fear, ask for help. Midwives, doulas, breastfeeding support groups and La Leche League educators can help. You are not alone. I promise they have seen the problem before, and I promise they will help. They are true experts in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.

11 thoughts on “Breastfeeding is the Bomb: Here’s Why”

  1. I love this article!!! As I sit here breastfeeding my 7 month old , it made me laugh, cry, smile, and feel like a Rockstar- thanks for all that 🙂 breastfeeding is my most favorite thing I’ve ever done with my life- I’m serious- I’m obsessed with it . 🙂

  2. This is by FAR my absolute favorite article on breastfeeding!! I’ve nursed 3 babies for varying lengths of time – my 2nd was 27 months. Currently nursing my 3rd child (3 months old) who we almost lost due to sepsis. I was told numerous times (and I knew it anyway!) that breast feeding was the best possible thing I could be doing for my baby while she was sick. I pumped religiously and was determined through everything to continue nursing my baby. Now she is an extremely strong, healthy, alert, and incredibly HAPPY baby! Breast feeding IS the bomb!!

  3. Awesome. Well written, lacks references but ok. All of it is so true – and there’s so much more. I love breastfeeding (15+ months and don’t want to stop!) and it makes me sad for moms and babies that aren’t given the support they need to do it. Let’s keep this conversation going until ever last mom knows she can, and how wonderful it is!

  4. Awesome article, we need more men like you Brian! Research shows that the strongest predictor of if a woman will breastfeed or not is her partner’s attitude about breastfeeding. If her husband thinks breastmilk is “gross” or whatever other nonsense some men mistakenly think out of ignorance or objectification, then she will likely not want to breastfeed because she doesn’t want to be viewed as “gross” during a time when her body-image is already hanging on a thread. Thanks for being a leader Brian in changing the way men think about breastfeeding. I love all of your articles!

  5. I LOVE this article. It made me laugh out loud a few good times. Breastfeeding is the bomb for sure! I nursed both of my babies; am pregnant with my third and can’t wait to start nursing! My husband also loves breastfeeding and it certainly made me feel comfortable and awesome about it, but I too, like your wife am hesitant to some of the ideas he comes up with… 😉

  6. Love the article still nursing my 20 month old together with my 7 month okd. Tandem nursing goes great hard in the beginning and the bond between the boys is strong!

    No end in sight 😉

  7. I read this as I was Breastfeeding! Lol. I love it! Thanks for this story I enjoy it. I will always remember that Breastfeeding is the bomb. It’s dope!

  8. Is this the same “Mothering” that was a great magazine in the 1980s published in New Mexico? Yes, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is a somewhat funny, but accurate, title. I remember the first one I had in 1980 as a small, navy blue book about the size of a Kindle today. I’ve had several of my photographs of nursing mothers published in versions of The Womanly Art in years past.

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