Will you Breastfeed?

by Sara Bustos on March 26, 2014



[Found at: http://www.clintonhealth.org/breastfeeding1.jpg]

Schools, mentors, and people who have kids have taught us that even though pregnancy is beautiful, it is also very difficult. It includes nine months of cravings, nausea, and moodiness – not to mention the couple hours of pain in the delivery room. However, the worries do not end there. Then, the worry becomes the very problematic and difficult decision every mother has to make: should she breastfeed?
Doctors encourage breastfeeding to new mothers for at least the first six months of their babies’ lives. They state that breast milk helps protect babies because it has many nutrients and antibodies that help make the baby stronger as he or she grows. They argue that babies don’t receive the necessary amount of antibodies from formula to fight diseases, so they have higher risks of asthma, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Besides the babies, the mother also benefits from breast-feeding her children. All the baby weight that women are desperate to get rid of after pregnancy is usually easier to lose when mothers engage in breastfeeding. Thus, breastfeeding leads to more confidence and self-acceptance. Chemically, mothers also release oxytocin, a hormone that can calm the mother and make her feel good, when lactating.

So if breastfeeding has all these benefits, why are women choosing not to breastfeed their children, and instead raising them with formula? Monika Bielank, a mother herself, blogs about her own opinions on the subject. Bielank knows all the different benefits about lactating, however, she chooses not to breastfeed. She explains that breastfeeding is not as easy as it sounds. Problems such as the baby refusing the milk, pain in the nipple, and child’s loss of weight concern women. She also considers more reasons why women do not want to lactate. Perhaps a mother feels weird or uncomfortable. She may also simply be tired from all the duties of being a new mom. Monika asks, does that mean she doesn’t love her baby as much as other moms? Does she not care about him or her significantly enough? To believe these claims would be absurd. It is easy to understand that a mother can be tired and might choose formula because she knows her child will be fed properly and grow normally without major complications.
Lauran Neergaard, a writer for the Associated Press, wrote an article explaining recent findings of animal moms customizing milk depending on their baby’s sex. The research finds that monkey mothers produce milk that contain more calcium for their daughters compared to the sons, perhaps because girls’ skeletons develop faster than males. It might be important to relate such findings to human babies. Currently, it is stated that breast milk is pretty standard for both boys and girls; however, biology evolves in order to increase the fitness of organisms and it’s possible that biology is trying to improve the health of babies by making changes in their mothers’ breast milk.
Where does this leave the formula that mothers are giving their babies? Should mothers reconsider breastfeeding more than they do now? I believe that though doctors have many reasons why a woman should breast-feed, the formulas offered in the market are very reliable. However, in order for the formulas to continue being as efficient as they are, their producers need to invest in research to determine if the changes in a monkey’s breast milk, based on a baby’s gender, are important to human babies. Mothers should then balance the benefits of breastfeeding and formula feeding to make their own decisions according to their individual situation.









http://www.clintonhealth.org/breastfeeding1.jpg (image)



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