Breastfeeding: Making Us Better Mothers

There has been a lot of discussion in the media recently about the mother who left her baby in the carseat all day while she was at work. Sadly, the baby died. The mother reported that she simply forgot about him. Stories like this are always shocking, and, as mothers, we like to think we could never do any such thing. Deep down, though, we know that we often get overwhelmed, overtired, and distracted. At that point, we have to admit that anything is possible.

As a lactation consultant I can’t help thinking that a breastfeeding mother simply cannot forget her baby for 8+ hours. Her full breasts will remind her long before that. Even a mother away at work is reminded of her baby every time she pumps.

This is just one of the many ways that breastfeeding helps us to be the best mothers we can be. We all wish we could be perfect mothers, but, face it: That is never going to happen. We are going to make mistakes, some minor, some big. We are going to sometimes ignore what we know to be the better choice. We will lose our tempers and our composure. We will all disappoint ourselves from time to time.

As breastfeeding mothers, though, we won’t forget about our babies for very long. We won’t fail to give them a lot of physical contact. We won’t forget to take a little time to sit and hold our little ones—biology simply won’t allow it.

Nature has ways of making sure to protect our offspring. Human babies need to be kept close to their mothers and they need to eat frequently. Mothers need to be reminded to take a break and focus on their babies when their lives become harried. This was not only true for “cave” mothers and babies. It is equally true today, as the reports of numerous babies left in carseats reminds us. Breastfeeding is nature’s way of protecting our children from some of our inevitable failures as mothers.