There is one line that I see pop up from time to time, usually in the comments sections of breastfeeding articles that have made their way over to my second home at The Huffington Post...where the naysayers aren't exactly...shall we say, open minded...
You've probably seen the line..."She's breastfeeding for herself, not for the child!"
Yes, that one.
This statement is one I've not touched upon yet and so I feel the time has now come to call bullshit on the theory of Selfish Breastfeeding.
Dearest internet commentators, I apologise for not getting back to you sooner. I would have, truly, but I've been sort of busy being Eternally Awake and Forever Lactating to give two shits about your misplaced opinions.
Never mind, I've got some time now...so I'll get right to the point.
There is no such thing as Selfish Breastfeeding.
There is such a thing as smooth breastfeeding, but even for those moms who have walked a linear path through the maze of lactation...selfishness does not play one single role in their journeys. And just try whispering the 'S' word to a mom who has jumped hurdle after hurdle in order to maintain her nursing relationship - go on, I dare you...
Because selfish isn't waking up at every hour of the night to nurse an ever-wakeful child.
Selfish isn't meeting the needs of another human being, at the expense of your own bodily autonomy and at the hands of some pretty severe nursing aversions.
Selfish isn't braving cracks (and for me personally, four - I kid you not - bouts of mastitis) so that your child can continue to thrive on the source that she relies upon so heavily.
Selfish isn't being 'tutted' at for daring to show a square inch of flesh in public as your baby latches on. (Seriously, blink and you'll miss it.)
Selfish isn't foregoing every single piece of clothing you once loved, because your boobs are too engorged to successfully make it through The Big Squeeze.
Selfish isn't scheduling pumping sessions into a busy working day, to ensure that your child's primary source of nutrition doesn't alter while you're out providing for the family.
Selfish simply doesn't come into play here.
Because breastfeeding is nourishment and connection for our babies. This role of Mother is eternally linked to that of Provider. Often with joy and occasionally with resentment...we provide. We provide all day long. And all night too.
We provide nutrition.
We provide strength.
We provide love.
So let's be very clear about one thing: I nurse my daughter for my daughter's sake. Selfishness plays no role.