onsdag 29 juli 2009

The narrow norm of swedish breastfeeding (and some about my mom)

Many parts of this post i built upon this post by the swedish "Amningshjälpen" The swedish nursing mother support group.


It`s about how narrow our norm is.
They give this rundown:

You SHOULD breastfeed. When the baby is between four and five months old you should start solids. By the six months mark you should only breastfeed morgnings and evenings, but not during the night. A few month later you should stop breastfeeding.

Now, after writing this I feel like calling my mother. After all, she's had six kids.
Ok, talked to mom.
She said that when she had kids in the 70:ies and 80:ies there was a was no such thing as not breastfeeding. You HAD to breastfeed. No choice. At three months you could start solids.
My older brother gained until 3 months...and stopped for a whole month. He then had formula and "Välling" A bit like gruel). The whole process of breastfeeding and supplementing was stressfull and she came to the decision not to do it again.
But she still breastfed him for a year.
When I came I breastfed exclusivly for a month, and she supplemented until 3 months. Then I was weaned and had Milkotal and "Välling". In the eigthies there was a trend with whole meal "välling" but none of her children tolerated it. She said over the phone that we all breastfeed for about 3 months, with the exception of my older brother. She didn't have the possibility to increase her supply by marathon nursings since there was more and more kids around the house. My mother felt like a "bad mom" and that she felt like the propaganda expected her to breastfeed for "years and years".
I never knew this, I learnt it tonight, because I called my mother to ask. I never asked before.

So she felt supressed by the norm.
On the other end, thos people who breastfed for "years and years" feel equally supressed. I rarely see other women breastfeed in public and I move with a rather liberal crowd, larpers. But then again we, Swedish larpers, have reached the first generation to not stop larping when we have kids so it will probably be a more common sight in the years to come.

The majority of mothers in my motherhood support group that I met online breastfeed. We've sat outdoors breastfeeding without a care in the world. I don't know how we would have reacted if someone had chosen formula without a "good" reason.
We are talking about solids now that they are 3-7 months old. I've made a statement that I'm gonna wait for my daughter to become 6 months, but since I have supply problems we will see how that goes.

I've unwittingly hurt someone who was forced to resort to formula. She knows she had to, and I was extremely inconsiderate in those early days before I knew her well in my pro-BF rants. In that case, I was the insensitive propaganda.

I never see anyone breastfeeding a toddler in public. I don't think I've ever seen it on TV. The midwife at my parenthood lectures talked about WHO:s recommendation of breastfeeding until 2 years of age. Talked neutrally. She didn't call it extended breastfeeding, or full term breastfeeding. Those who breastfeed beyond the first year I think do it in their homes, discreetly. Sometimes I think it's seen as a problem. And I am sorry to say that I've been a part of propagating that norm until I learnt more about attachment theory and the natural human breastfeeding age.

What do you think? Do you want to know more on the subject or should I write about birth in Sweden or infant and toddlers sleep in Sweden next?

3 kommentarer:

  1. Why do they recommend not breastfeeding in the middle of the night? And I noticed on twitter that you said you were night weaning? What are the reasons for this? I'm just curious because my daughter is a big night time nurser. I try to feed her more during the day to cut out some of the night time activity, but no such luck!

    [Also, thought I should tell you that one reason I am so interested in the Swedish way of breastfeeding, maternity leave, etc. is because I lived in Sweden for one year 2002-2003. I studied at Stockholm University.]

  2. I heart your country :)

  3. Oh, I'm not night weaning. I'm night feeding! 2-3-4 times a night at the very least. Must been a very tired tweet as I breastweeted....

    I write about the norm, not the actual recommendations the midwives at children care central give you.

    But healthy recommendations don't help when there is a whole society with a baggage of old recommendations giving their "advice"

    But the message is that mothers sleep is important and that a uninterrupted nights sleep is a good nights sleep. I don't agree as I sleep fine, I just wake up a lot. :D
    I mean, I still get 8 hours of sleep in a 24 h period, they're just not consecutive