For our WBW blog carnival on “Perspectives: Breastfeeding From Every Angle” we are pleased to host guest posts from various contributors. Today we hear the Taoists perspective on breastfeeding from Jessi, originally one of The Leaky B@@b regular contributors and partner.
Everyone’s motivations for breastfeeding are unique to themselves, but there are certain commonalities for most. Health benefits, frugality, and convenience generally top this list and for good reason. All three are incorporated in my personal reasons for breastfeeding, but unlike most, none of them are the most important reason to me. Unlike most, the biggest motivating factor for me is philosophical, or a more relatable term, religious.
Our family is Taoist. Over the years, I’ve learned that Taoism is not very widely known or understood. Unlike it’s more commonly acknowledged “brother” Buddhism, Taoism isn’t even a household word. Before I met my husband, even I admittedly was ignorant to this ancient philisophical system.
In short, Taoism is named after Tao (道), which literally translates as “the way”. The main texts of Taoism are the Tao Te Ching (道德经) by Lao Zi and the works of Zhuang Zi. I always find it difficult to give a succint explanation of Taoism because outside of the basic principles, it gets very complex and VERY open to personal interpretation, but the fundamental is this:
Nature is the ideal example of the Tao. If you bring your life into harmony with the ways of the natural universe you will be enlightened and at peace.
Obviously, under this main belief there is a lot of sub-declarations that are more specific but the basic idea is pretty much just that.
What this means in reference to my choices as a mother become a bit more obvious once you are aware that Taoism dictates that you pursue the path of the most natural choices and it really does not get much more organic and natural than nourishing my children from the very body that nutured and grew them from the moment they were created. Being Taoist effects and enriches and influences so many aspects of my parenting life, but breastfeeding is one of the most effected. It adds another facet to an already beautiful bonding experience. Of course, any experience in our life is made that much more meaningful when it had a relation to our faith, whatever path you walk.
I could not imagine my life without my breastfeeding experiences. My oldest son nursed until 21 months and probably would have gone longer, but I was 4 months pregnant with twins and my supply suffered and he lost interest when the well ran dry. And now, nursing twins, which is a whole other journey, just seems natural and comfortable. No measuring formula, mixing and warming bottles, no climbing out of bed in the middle of the night to prepare night feedings. I just roll over to whichever side of me is making the noise and drift back to sleep while the hungry baby fills their tummy and then does the same.
Convenient, easy and lets me sleep as much as possible. Damn, Mother Nature knows what she’s doing!