Breastfeeding is a natural God given gift specifically for a mother to provide their child with the nutrients they need. Breastfeeding should not be looked down upon because it is simply a natural resource and strengthens the bond between mother and child. Yet, there is so much ignorance and judgement towards it. Breastfeeding is the subject of many controversial decisions draws out many polarizing opinions ranging from the positives of transferring antibodies to a baby to “have some decency Joanne, feed your baby elsewhere.” Of course, why wouldn’t a mother attend to their hungry newborn just to not upset any of those around her.
After birth, women go through a rollercoaster of hormones causing them to feel detached from the outside world; breastfeeding can make the roller coaster into a smooth, comfortable stroll for mother and baby. In the article from Africa News Service, Exclusive Breastfeeding It Is, they speak of the pressure that is put on a mother of a newborn child and all the expectations that they are to reach. It states, “pressure from family members and friends to give water, other liquids, herbal concoctions, and other forms of milk in addition to breast milk prevents them from exclusively breastfeeding their babies.” Isn’t it crazy to believe that you are to follow the rules and standards that are set FOR you to raise YOUR child? A few tips here and there are understandable from immediate family, but it is fairly hard for new mothers to really find their place with their newborn child as is. Having to listen to everyone’s input only makes it harder. A bond must be created between mother and child.
It is completely necessary to feel that sense of attachment to their child. David Derbyshire in his newspaper article, Breastfeeding DOES Help Mothers Bond with Babies because it released the ‘love hormone, explains how the act of a baby actually “suckling” affects the way in how a mother’s brain behaves. He represents oxytocin to us as the “love” hormone by saying, “the ‘love’ hormone oxytocin…release of the chemical in massive surges enhances a mother’s feelings of trust, love and affection.” These feelings of trust, love and affection are given to a mother through breastfeeding. Most women after birth struggle to be able to find that hormonal balance again, which is normal. However, if there is this cure for a mother to be able to have that feeling of love and security again, why prevent it? Women need that strong support system in order to get rid of whatever hormonal imbalance that they are struggling with and must have that one on one bond with their newborn in order to raise a strong, healthy and happy baby.
Again, strong and healthy baby. There have been a great amount of studies to prove that there are several benefits through breastfeeding. The article, The Biology of Breast Milk described the process of how breastmilk is produced. “The first milk released is known as colostrum…a thick substance, deep yellow in color, that is rich in nutrients and antibodies. It helps a newborn’s digestive system to grow and begin to function properly.” From a very beginning it is very important for a mother to immediately attempt to breastfeed after birth. The nutrients received through breastfeeding are vital to a baby’s growing process.
Through the first stages of a baby’s life, breastmilk begins to help and provide different nutrients for the baby. “As the baby grows and continues to nurse, the milk’s consistency and content changes. By the fifth day of nursing, breast milk will change from colostrum to mature breast milk, which has the mix of water, sugar, and protein necessary for the infant to continue to grow.” It is helping the process of a child growing strong and healthy by providing the most natural nutrients possible. There have also been studies that show how breastfeeding prevents babies from getting the common illnesses that are known to be spread amongst infants. Professor Howard argues in his article, Breastfeeding that babies can be saved from being victims of some diseases. He argues, “ the antibodies in breast milk can help protect babies from allergies, ear infections, eczema and stomach problems.” From personal experience, stomach problems create this chaos tornado like event where it is endless pain and it feels as if there is no end to it. Now imagine a baby who can’t even speak for themselves and all they know how to do is cry, then you’re bound to have a nonstop crying baby which leads to sleepless nights. Then from sleepless nights leads to grumpy moods and from grumpy moods, your boss could fire you and now you’re jobless. Simply breastfeed to prevent these struggles. Professor Howard also talk about how breastfeeding does not only help with prevention of the common illnesses spread as a child, but rather also benefit the child long term. He talks about a 2016 study from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley pointing out how “breastfed babies are less likely to become obese or develop type 2 diabetes later in life…the antibodies in breast milk are crucial to the formation of a newborn’s immune system…they are less likely to develop chronic conditions such as Crohn’s disease.” Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory disease which affects the intestines. In reality breastfeeding leaves long term positive effects on babies that go with them up until adulthood.
With all of the benefits to breastfeeding, why is it still looked down upon? It is a necessity for mothers to have that attachment to their baby, it protects babies from several diseases and it is a huge factor in the development of their immune system. Yet, to actually nurse in public places it is such an offense, issue, a lack in manners as some say. In the article Societal Pressure and Response of breastfeeding, it explains how it is so difficult for a mother to breastfeed in public without someone making a remark or a face of disgust. “Women who breastfeed may face harassment or stigma when nursing in public…mothers in public spaces or private businesses who have to retreat to retrooms or to cover themselves so as not to offend outlookers.” In other words, if your infant is hungry, you are to hide if you absolutely need to feed them in public and can not wait until you get home to feed them. In the newspaper article, Why I’m Glad Someone Told Me to Stop Breastfeeding, a mother speaks of her personal experience from when she was once told to stop breastfeeding in public. She talks about how breastfeeding in public was very normal to her and she often did it with her two daughters. She was once by a pool deck and her baby was very hungry so she began to breastfeed on one of the chairs when she was approached by a lifeguard and told that breastfeeding was not allowed on the pool deck. She proceeded to say, “State laws says I can breastfeed wherever I am legally allowed to be.” The lifeguard walked away in shame and blushed. This is one of the rare occasions where a mother actually speaks up for herself and her baby’s rights because often times, women are looked upon and they get intimidated even though it is not right. My mother once tried breastfeeding my baby sister in a small diner that was not that busy. She preferred to cover herself with a blanket to not be so exposed. Suddenly the owner told us to go to the restroom or leave the diner because it was not allowed in there because she was receiving complaints from other customers. I felt embarrassed at first, but suddenly angry. How is it fair for everyone else to eat whenever and wherever they want, but there is a restriction on when and where you can feed your baby. Have people really forgotten the actual purpose for breast?
Although it is more accepted now in society, there is still a lot of ignorance towards the subject of breastfeeding. Even to this day I see women embarrassed to breastfeed in a mall. There are even restrooms that have a rocking chair in them specifically for women to nurse in there. It is nice to have that option, but it should never be a restriction for women to breastfeed regardless of the location.