Hello, I am Mother Nature calling.
My dear Homo sapiens moms, Best wishes to you. How are you?
I understand that you are observing Breastfeeding Week from August 1. I wish to share certain emotions with you on this occasion.
I really don't know why — you human beings have become peculiarly special.
Do you know that I have created 4,326 mammals apart from you? These are your own statistics. They are not observing any such week and I am not greeting them.
You are celebrating Breastfeeding Week thinking that you have discovered breast milk. Thank God, you have not given the Nobel Prize to anybody for the discovery. The patent rights of breast milk are mine. You were sensible and feeding your children with your milk like other mammals.
Alas! You have become selfish. You have learnt to top-feed your children thinking that you are wasting time feeding them with your milk. You are responsible for the deaths of about 10 lakhs of my grand grandchildren and for several diseases to crores of them.
I often hear you discussing ‘what milk is good for my baby?' Are you not wasting time on these futile discussions? I have designed milk suitable to the needs of various mammals — intelligence to your offspring, and physical growth to the offspring of cows and buffaloes. Milk is species-specific. If protein is more in buffalo milk, you are tempted to use them for your children. You are bloody selfish and idiotic. Your babies don't need more proteins at that tender age and they are harmful to them. The milk proteins of other mammals are foreign to them.
You have manufactured milk powder as an alternative to your milk. You subject milk to various processes. You kill the milk, make it lifeless, mix it with water and feed your children. But the milk designed by me is a living fluid. When you kill it, how can your children get milk in living form?
For manufacturing milk powder, you use energy; you cut trees and hurt me. For production and transport of milk, you use tin, plastic, etc., and dump them on me. I cannot bear this burden.
You think that your milk is not sufficient for your baby. For continuation of milk production, I have created a hormone, viz., prolactin. If you feed your babies frequently, you produce more prolactin and thereby more milk. Soon after birth, you fill the baby's stomach with dirty, glucose water. So your children do not suck. So you don't produce prolactin and thereby milk. That is why you fail. Prolactin prevents ovulation and immediate future pregnancy. I gave this facility to you. You are losing this facility also. What a pity!
For the easy flow of your milk to the baby, I have created a hormone — oxytocin. You should be happy about it. You suffer from all negative thoughts viz., selfishness, jealousy and stress. So you cannot produce oxytocin. Human relations are getting eroded. Other mammals are leading a lovely, harmonious life.
Oxytocin contracts the uterus and prevents haemorrhage after delivery. It saves you from death. You talk of maternal mortality but you don't use this protection given by me.
While the baby suckles, it is not just breastfeeding alone. You look into the eyes of the baby, you caress it, kiss it, you provide warmth, you muse, you talk — it is complete love. Lots of language flows in between. Is there love in the feeding bottle?
Recently, I heard some strange news about you. It appears that you follow a lot of discipline in child rearing and you also follow timings to feed; I feel like laughing, what an ignorant lot you are! You follow scheduling in breastfeeding? Nonsense. When the child cries, you don't feed. No prolactin production, no milk production. You feel tense. No oxytocin production. Breastfeeding fails once for all in your species. But your ancestors were not like you.
You give birth in America with an eye on U.S. citizenship. Ship your baby back to your country to stay with your moms. You provide the best, imported milk powder. How can they get your love? Even then you cannot provide milk equal to that designed by me.
I also come to know that there are doctors who prescribe milk powder. Most of the mammals don't have doctors. They are immune to such advice. They are so lucky.
If your kids are passing urine more than six times a day and growing well, your milk is sufficient for them. You don't seek any advice. Feed your children for six months with your milk only. Start home foods at six months and feed with your milk as long as possible, but for minimum of at least two years.
It appears that millions of your under five children are dying of diarrhoea and pneumonia. Feed your milk and save them. Then you too don't suffer from breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.
I also learn that manufacturers of milk powders boast of maternalising and humanising milk powders. What? You humanise milk powder? First you humanise yourself.
It appears that you have got organisations, viz., World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) to save you from going astray. Somewhat good.
My lap is excellent and a heavenly abode for you. Please listen to this mother at least now on this issue. Let bygones be bygones. You also emulate other mammals.
No need of any Breastfeeding Week celebrations. Bid goodbye to them.
(The writer is Founder, Organisation for the Promotion of Social Dimensions of Health (OPSDH), Additional Director of Health, Andhra Pradesh (Retd.), Former State Coordinator, Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI))