Posted by: Admin | December 29, 2011

My wish for the New Year

I am no different than most people: I wish for happiness, peace and health for the New Year! But there is one thing I have wished for since my first child was born: I wish breastfeeding a baby was viewed as the “normal” way to feed a baby: not as the “best” or “most healthy,” but simply as “this is how a baby is fed”.

In the old days, Crees viewed breastfeeding as part of their everyday life. Nobody asked how you wanted to feed your baby. Nobody presented choices to the families. Breastfeeding was not a decision you made. It was simply the way things were done. Elders always talk to me about how they breastfed or how they were witness to breastfeeding babies well into their 5th or 6th year of life. It was not seen as an obligation or the best choice to make. It did not put pressure on the woman to make the right decision. It simply was how a baby was fed. One elder generously shared her story with me about her baby that would not latch on. There was no artificial milk available in the past, so a friend in a nearby camp, who just had a baby herself, offered to help. She breastfed her friend’s baby and those two children became “milk brothers”.* I love hearing stories about a time when breastfeeding was a normal part of life. It did not need to be taught as a technique or a special skill.

The truth is we lost the “art of breastfeeding”. To know how to do something instinctively you need to have been around a role model that showed you the behavior without you knowing you were learning it. We learn a behavior by watching others do it. You can learn good or bad behaviors. If we see our mothers, aunts, cousins, friends, neighbors and people in our community breastfeed, we will never question if we should or should not do it. It will feel like it is part of us. There will also be support from everyone as they will also have been exposed to the same role models, men as well as women!

Our Americanized societies are confronted with this lack of breastfeeding role models. But there is hope as some of us still think breastfeeding is the normal way to feed a baby.  Some of us will even mention breastfeeding spontaneously when referring to feeding a baby. Here is the link to a clip I find quite pleasant to watch. It presents a part of an interview with the very eccentric rock star, Steven Tyler from Aerosmith. He talks about his role in American idol and talks about a mother singing to her baby while breastfeeding…he could have said “when it’s feeding”, but no, there is hope: he very naturally said “when it’s breastfeeding”.

For the New Year, I wish for many more breastfed babies because I want to see a healthier and stronger community!!!!

Happy New Year everyone.

What is your wish for the New Year?

*Because of illnesses such as HIV and Hepatitis B, we need to be careful about this practice nowadays.


  1. May your wish come true!

    • Thank you 🙂

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