In many cultures, breastfeeding is a mysterious force that brings into play the powers of milk and gives some children a unique destiny. It is the case of certain gods or heroes of ancient mythology who have been suckled in an extraordinary way: thus Jupiter, fed by the goat Amalthea, or Romulus and Remus, suckled by a wolf. Through the milk pass the physical and moral qualities of the mother, the nurse or the nurturing animal. It is a whole inheritance that is transmitted through milk. In many kinship systems, the links created by milk are as strong as those created by blood. Thus, in the Niger valley, the close kinship between brothers of milk, nicely called "breast milk between us" is as strong as if they were uterine brothers.
Psychoanalysts say that breastfeeding is important for both mother and child. It helps:
- to develop a very strong feeling of security and protection in the child facing the world around him, indispensable to grow and to become independent.
- to promote a specific emotional connection between the mother and her child: breastfeeding mothers would be less stressed, more likely to touch their child and would be better prepared to meet their baby's needs.
- to offer a warm, safe, loving and comforting presence to the infant. The multiple contacts "skin to skin" giving a feeling of tenderness, would allow the baby to fall asleep serenely.
- to protect the child from the negative physiological and emotional effects of his mother suffering from a baby blues or a maternal depression.
The mother does not only give milk, she offers much more: relationship, contact, sensory ... And the essential thing is that all this is harmonious. But be careful that a child who is doing well and who is bottle-fed will always be better than a baby breast-fed and that is not doing well ... Breast-feeding does not make the woman a "good mother", the most important is that the woman feels good.
Indeed, there are elements that are often overlooked in the success or failure of breastfeeding: the psychological factor. Breastfeeding is not just a mechanical history of breast, milk and suckling. There is also the head. I would almost say the head. A little extract that I like very much written by Bé, author of the blog Monstre & Co, also known as "Petit Bidon", mother of a little boy of soon 6 months:
« To operate with bottles of artificial milk was not death, it was first necessary to admit, to be guilty. Make fall a first barrier ... let go.
To take the time to find his place in society, to accept that absence has altered everything, to absolve himself.
Dropping a second barrier ... let go.
Trusting her child, letting her stretch on a not obvious rhythm between feedings and feeding bottles, get off guard.
Dropping a third barrier ... let go.
To admit that fatigue makes us sad, fragile, irritable, to drop what is not urgent and to rest, to be guilty.
Dropping a fourth barrier ... letting go. »