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Breastfeeding: Put yourself in the babies’ shoes

Readers Lounge By Christine Koech

ALSO READ: Men have a critical role to play in breastfeeding during COVID-19 pandemic

There’s one thing I miss about raising a baby; breastfeeding. Now I know some women are reading this and are either horrified or are really doubting my words. Not every mother enjoys or enjoyed breastfeeding and even those who do or did can say that it isn’t or wasn’t that way every single day. I can’t judge anyone for feeling like that. I had those moments too. The hunger pangs, the embarassing leaks, the cracked nipples and being caught in awkward situations while breastfeeding in public.

The part of breastfeeding that I’m talking about is that precious moment when you are feeding your baby and she looks into your eyes, searching for reassurance, and comfort (I imagine that’s what they’re looking for). That makes it all worth it.

With so many distractions around us and huge to-do lists waiting for attention, it’s easy for a mother to overlook these special gazes from the baby. It’s easy to catch yourself scrolling through your phone, watching TV or talking to someone else and giving them eye contact instead.

These distractions are part of life and babies have a way of bringing their mother’s attention back to them. They will coo, wiggle or even turn her face towards them with their palm. I even know a baby who would slap his mother when she turned her attention from him.

It’s no wonder that babies hate being covered when they’re breastfeeding. When a baby is trying to make eye contact with her mother, the last thing she needs is a blanket, shawl or cotton cloth that gets in the way. Besides, a baby is already breathing only through her nose when breastfeeding so imagine how suffocating it can be to be covered.

Sometimes it’s easy to judge and place demands on the people who are in the minority and who cannot speak up for themselves. We want them to compromise for the comfort of those who are the majority. But what if what we think is ‘abnormal’ in our world is ‘normal’ in theirs? Shouldn’t we try to find a common ground instead?

ALSO READ: Mac Otani’s heartbreaking breastfeeding challenge with ailing wife

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