I love my rocking chair. It was a gift from my parents for my 18th Birthday. It is one that my mum found in a second hand shop and had it polished up. I always imagined that the purpose of it was to sit in a baby’s nursery as a place of comfort.
Since we have moved into our house that is just where it has been and we do enjoy this place of rest. The rocking chair is where most of Eva’s feeds happen. Eva is still enjoying anywhere up to 4 breast feeds a day so I spend some gorgeous time in this chair. I have my back to the window so Eva loves to sit on my lap and look out the window at the street, the garden and to check for birds.
I have lots of thinking moments in the rocking chair as Eva merrily sucks away. Sometimes my thinking is interrupted by wandering fingers poking up my nose or finding my ears! Time here is for me to daydream and Eva to restore her energy and sometimes composure. This is when I focus on how I am most thankful to God for the gift of Eva and even more specifically the gift of breast feeding. There were days when I thought that I would just give up in order to get us out of the hospital but now I am feeding an (almost) toddler. What a joy!
This week is World Breastfeeding Week 2010. This year the theme is ‘Breastfeeding: Just 10 steps – the Baby-Friendly Way‘. Breastfeeding has an amazing amount of benefits for baby, mother and the family. For the baby breastmillk provide nutrition, antibodies, helps to develop eyesight, speech and intelligence and a bond with the mother. For the mother there is lower risk of anaemia, reduced risk of osteoporosis and breast cancer, promotion of postpartum weight loss and sense of personal achievement. Breastfeeding is usually easy and convenient. Breastfed babies are very portable and you have instant, pre-warmed, ready-to-serve food wherever you go. Also it’s great for the environment. The production and feeding of breastmilk have a far lower impact on our environment and world resources than ANY alternative feeding method. Babies breastfeed for comfort and closeness as well as to satisfy their hunger and thirst. One of the most amazing things about breastmilk is that as your baby grows, your breastmilk changes to meet his developing needs – your breastmilk is always the right food for your baby.
As for breastfeeding a toddler the truth is that it’s entirely normal and natural to breastfeed an older child. According to the Australian Breastfeeding Association in Australia only 21.2% of children are still breastfeeding at 12 months. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that the world average for breastfeeding is 4.2 years. WHO recommends that children be breastfed for at least two years. Anthropologist, Katherine Dettwyler estimated the natural age of weaning to be between two and a half and seven years, based on developmental factors and comparisons with other mammals. Breastfeeding your toddler can provide: 31% of her daily energy needs, 38% of protein requirements, 45% of Vitamin A requirements, and 95% of Vitamin C needs. Some inspiring statistics. I hope to continue to feed Eva for as long as we are both happy.