De Wereldgezondheidsorganisatie (WHO) adviseert om alle kinderen minstens twee jaar borstvoeding te geven, waarvan zes maanden uitsluitend moedermelk zonder bijvoeding.
Ik heb ons oudste zoontje 14 maanden borstvoeding gegeven, toen werd ik zwanger van ons dochtertje en liep mijn melkproductie heel hard terug. Ons dochtertje en jongste zoontje heb ik beide 19 maanden de borst gegeven.
Vaak kreeg ik de reactie dat ik mijn kindjes wel heel lang gevoed heb, maar de natuurlijke speenleeftijd van een kind is twee tot zeven jaar.
En voor Westerse normen is twee jaar borstvoeding misschien lang, maar het wereldwijde gemiddelde in de niet-westerse wereld ligt rond de vier jaar borstvoeding geven.
Imagine, if you will . . . . a man and a woman. Soul-mates, best friends, true partners in all the myriad experiences of life. Lovers. Participants in a physically intimate, loving relationship between each of them and their favorite person in the entire world. They hold hands on walks. They hug and kiss upon leaving each other’s company, and on rejoining later. She massages the tense muscles of his shoulders after a long, stressful day at work. He rubs her feet as they watch TV. As she cooks dinner, he passes by and gives her shoulder a squeeze. She comes up behind him in the bedroom as he dresses for work and gives his naked bottom a gentle pinch. They both laugh. They make love. Not as often as when they were first together, some 35 years before. Not with as much energy or passion as was typical of those early days, weeks, and months together. But they know each other’s bodies as well as they know their own. What feels good, what feels great, what can bring matters to a quick conclusion, and what can prolong the sweet enjoyment. He knows many ways to give her pleasure, and is generous and patient, making sure they both experience the height of sexual release. Sometimes sex is quick and efficient, sometimes it is long and lazy, sometimes it is surprising and inventive. Sometimes they start laughing so hard they lose their concentration and momentum. Sometimes she doesn’t have an orgasm. Sometimes he doesn’t. But that’s OK. Sometimes one or both of them fall asleep in the middle. They understand that “having sex”/”making love” is only one small aspect of their physical relationship. He could identify any part of her by touch alone, and distinguish her from a thousand others. She knows the smells and textures of every region of his body, and sleeps on his pillow when he is away overnight. He lets her put her cold feet on his warm legs in the winter. She understands that even during the hottest summer nights, some part of his body must be in physical contact with hers.
The sound of his voice calling out “Honey, I’m home” makes her heart leap. Just to hear her voice over the phone saying “Don’t worry, everything will be OK” helps him deal with any crisis. There is love, affection, friendship, comfort, joy, familiarity, sexual desire and satisfaction. There is a complicated, sustaining, relationship between two people who love and respect each other. Someday, they assume that sexual relations will no longer be part of their lives, due to illness or injury or simply old age. They both hope that day is far in the future. But if and when that day arrives, they still plan to hug and kiss and sit together and go for walks in the woods holding hands, and talk late into the night.
Then, along comes someone who thinks that – to paraphrase a catchy ad campaign – “It’s all about the orgasm.” They tell women that a relationship like the one described above takes too much time, too much effort, is not worth the hassle, and is unrealistic for many women in this busy world of the 21st century. Sure it’s ideal, it would be nice, if you can . . . maybe for a brief period. But who has the time? Between productive work, housework, laundry, the gym, TV, travel, books, and shopping for shoes, who has time for a relationship with a romantic/sexual partner? But the solution is easy: Just call the number on the screen, and buy our super-duper, multi-speed, solar powered, day-glow purple . . . dildo. Yes, a dildo. A vibrating massager, customizable to ensure maximum physical pleasure. Guaranteed orgasms every time or your money back. Call now and they’ll add in – FREE – the tiny, discreet travel model that you can tuck in your purse and take with you anywhere. Imagine the time you’ll save, the energy, the effort!! Why would anyone want all the hassle and bother of interacting with another human being, when you can have sexual pleasure “at your fingertips”? No mess, no bother, no need for anyone else. Nothing else is going on in an intimate physical relationship between two people who love, trust, and respect each other, right? There are no other benefits than reliable orgasms, right? Because, really, the point of all of this fuss and bother is the orgasm, right?
Wrong. Orgasms are lovely, but they only represent the tip of the iceberg of the loving relationship between two partners.
Ahhhh, but your question was about breastfeeding, wasn’t it? You asked: “If there were a formula that could compete with the benefits of breast-feeding, would you still be a passionate proponent of breastfeeding and why?”
So here’s my answer: The “benefits” of breastfeeding go way WAY WAY beyond the consequences of consuming breast milk. Even if there was a formula that could compete with the benefits of breast milk (which there isn’t now, and never will be) I would still be a passionate proponent of breastfeeding. Because breastfeeding is a complex, physically intimate, loving relationship between two people who love, trust, and respect each other. It’s about the warmth of a mother’s arms, the adoration in a child’s eyes, the smell of the top of the baby’s head, the comfort of your mother’s voice. There is no substitute for breastfeeding.
*This is written from a heterosexual, perspective, but of course it works exactly the same way for committed couples of the same sex.
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