Breastfeeding and Natural Mothering

Natural mothering is essentially taking care of your baby with the equipment God gave you—your breasts, your arms, your back, and your time.  A mother involved in natural mothering tends to rely on her own natural abilities and body to meet her baby’s needs.  Due to the frequent nursing involved with natural mothering, she is likely to remain close to her baby.

The absence of bottles and pacifiers alone tends to help mothers and fathers learn to do the parenting themselves and to be there for their babies.

The breast becomes a source of emotional “nourishment” as well as total nutritional  nourishment in the early months.  The mother involved with natural mothering soon learns to offer comfort nursing to her baby.  This emotional aspect of nursing is very important to the baby.  The person who says to a nursing mother, “You don’t want to be a pacifier to your baby, do you?” doesn’t understand the importance of comfort nursing.

When I first attended La Leche League meetings in 1964, pregnant with our first baby, I couldn’t understand why mothers nursed their babies so much at the breast.  I was obviously observing some comfort nursing.

The breastfeeding mother who does not use bottles and pacifiers  soon realizes how much her baby needs her, and she dreads leaving her baby.  Separations are painful, and she does everything possible to avoid them.  The understanding father picks up on this and supports his wife.

Nursing at night while sitting up is very fatiguing so the nursing mother soon learns that the family bed is a necessity and a “luxury” as the baby nurses on and off during the night while mother sleeps.  The family bed is truly for family.  Dads enjoy the contact with their baby, and moms wake up rested.  During sleep, mom and dad are nurturing their baby emotionally.  They are giving their baby a sense of security in the darkness.  They are providing their baby with a closeness to his parents, the two most important people in his life at this time.  The baby has the closeness of his mother and her breasts as needed and his feet are often stretching out seeking physical contact with dad.  All is well with this baby who receives this kind of care from his parents.  This baby is very lucky indeed!
(Sheila Kippley, part of keynote address, LLL So. Calif. State Conference, May 1998)

Comments are closed.