I'm going to say words like breasts and nipples a lot here, so if you are uncomfortable with words like that you should move along, perhaps after asking yourself if you are also uncomfortable with words like Feet and Knees. No Judgement, just something to think about.
I said it... Breast Feeding, not Baby Feeding. We're a little bit afraid of the word, here and everywhere. I applaud Muscat private hospital for providing a quiet room next to the paediatric area for "baby feeding" But I think in a hospital of all places we might be able to use the word breast publicly and in a non-sexual way. It's like there is something a little dirty or impure about using the word breast to describe the way we should feed our babies. I also applaud City plaza / Centerpoint for providing a fantastic room complete with comfortable chairs where I can nurse my daughter in comfort and quiet. Centerpoint gets a huge portion of my husband's paycheck because of this.
I'll come back to lactation location stuff in a minute. First though, according to an article featured on http://www.islamonline.net/ :
Given the importance of breastfeeding in the Islamic religion, the low rates of compliance among Muslim women in North America are puzzling. Although a formal research study has not been conducted, it seems upon observation that the breastfeeding rate among Muslim women is actually lower than among the population at large. There are small pockets of "fundamentalist" Muslim women who are well educated and adamant about nursing their children under their chadors, and who often practice natural childbirth and home schooling. However, those mothers who nurse their babies past the age of one year are the exception rather than the rule. There seems to be a lighthearted attitude among the general Muslim populace towards the bottle-feeding of infants. It is not frowned upon, and it is rarely something people even question.
And wow, is the author right about that or what? We were deluged with visitors after the birth of our daughter and one of the most noticeable thing that set the Arab, American and Indian visitors apart from the European visitors was their queries regarding weather I was supplementing with formula bottles or porridge yet.
- The Euros were totally Rah-rah about breast feeding, arriving en masse with children, teens and husbands in tow, many taking pictures of me nursing the baby! Euros are buoyed by years of militant La leche league rhetoric, strict laws in place for the marketing of baby formula, and a culture that brought us topless sunbathing.
- The Arabs, Americans and Indians by comparison, were usually groups of women (my best friend Tariq sent his sisters, whom I hardly know. bless.) who began to advise, from the second week on, that perhaps I should consider supplementing with formula or wheat porridge.
- I should add that I didn't breastfeed in front of most of my male Arab/ American friends, because they thought it was pretty weird. I was like, Ahmed * you've been trying to see my breasts since the day I met you. This is your chance bud. Don't let the baby attached to them put you off... *not his real name
I don't know what that means, or what the socio-political drivers behind the divergent opinions are. Just my observation.Despite the fact that Islam tells us to breast feed for two years if possible there seems to be little support for it in the larger community. Shopping centers, workplaces, and even the airport usually lack a place that's appealing or even suitable for breastfeeding. I don't think we will ever be the sort of place where a lady can just whip out a boob wherever she is and feed her child, so private, hygienic, and quiet areas should be more widely available and labeled appropriately.
I would be interested to know how and where other mothers feed their children when you are out and about, and after you have returned to work from maternity leave. Ladies, Husbands, and trolls, speak up and let me know where you go to nurse your child when you are away from the home.
A few other facts that I came across while researching this entry. The statistics are really, really, super interesting.
- Some statistics from the La Leche League
- And from UNICEF
- At a speech in Manila last week, WHO Reigonal director Shigeru Omi stated that there are "roughly 160,000 children dying anually in Eastern and Southeastern Asia whose deaths are attributed to something as preventable and immanently correctable as sub optimal breastfeeding".
- If you are not a religious sort, Science, economic data, the WHO, UNICEF and medical experts tell us that breastfeeding for at least a year, and preferably more is the best possible way to nourish your child.
- Oman is doing pretty well according to this index that compared breastfeeding trends worldwide.
- Although the following quote from an unnamed source is rather disturbing. the question was :Should a woman be entitled to daily break(s) to nurse her child? If so, should such breaks be counted as working time and remunerated accordingly? And the answer? The national economy should not have to assume the burden of nursing breaks, as long as bottle-feeding is available. Not as enlightened as one would hope.