Mommy’s Milk or Mommy’s Money
I watch as a young woman sits peacefully in the local park with her newly born infant in her arms. She casually unbuttons her shirt and reveals her breast, while gently urging the baby to nurse. At the same time two women walk by and are seemingly shocked at the “barbaric” display they had just witnessed. Saying such things as ” I would never do that in public” as the other woman replies “Yeah, that’s what bottles are for.” Little do these women know that this young woman is doing the best for her child in choosing to breast feed rather than bottle feed. Breast milk is the most nourishing form of infant food on the market, it allows for stronger bonding between mother and child, and to top it all of it’s free.
It’s amazing to think that the most natural way to feed a baby has become so detested in our modern culture. The public has completely ignored the God given purpose for breasts (nursing) and instead put the emphasis of breasts on their sexual appeal (Pryor 143). Reinforcing this, are all the magazine articles, books, and television shows that are about breast and sex. The sensual view that society has toward the breast, directly influences for what reasons they are used, and if they are used for nursing at all. It is obvious that the majority of woman believe the usage of their breast is for sex, when less than six in ten mothers choose to breast feed in this country (Winthrop 16). Because society has taken this negative view towards the breasts as a mothers tool, more and more women feel ashamed to nurse, especially in public. This leads ultimately to the use of the bottle in order to feed infants. Ironically the bottle becomes a sign of wealth and status and breast feeding a sign of base vulgarity (Berg 10).
Just because people choose to ignore the truth, it does not make the truth any less; breast feeding is still the most nourishing form of infant feeding around (Hinton 3). Breast milk provides the infant with all the food she needs for the first six months of life (Berg 10). It is easier for infants to digest than any other form of milk because a woman?s body makes milk to suit a childs exact needs (Cherry 175) and amazingly the milk composition changes as the baby grows. Also, antibodies are transferred for mother to baby allowing for a much more developed immune system (Winthrop 16). A child?s teeth are also affected by breast milk or the absence of breast milk her early diet. Dentists have found that normal development of the infant’s jaw and palate are determined by whether it was fed by bottle or breast. Children fed by breast usually develop normally, while those fed by bottle frequently require braced to repair the damages (Pryor 42). Also in a study, by Oregon state University y, they discovered that babies who were nursed were found to have forty-five percent fewer cavities than those who were bottle fed (Pryor 63).
Not only is breast milk more nourishing, but it also provides stronger bonds between mother and child and a more emotionally healthy child. Dr. James Clark Moloney has found that physical contact between mother and child is far more important than the child?s contact with the society. He has found that the children who had been breast fed develop more normally and are more secure individuals (Pryor 83). In todays? culture, many women have substituted their physical contact with the use of the bottle. This may cause a child to become more interested in the bottle rather than the mother (Cherry 10). The baby will than rely on the bottle to ease his trouble instead of his mother. A baby?s bond, with his bottle, becomes so strong that he has to sleep with it at night. If you look at this realistically how can bottle feeding even come close to the sacredness of a child nursing at his/her mothers breast.
Last of all, the economical benefits of nursing are tremendous. Taking on the responsibility of a child can be a very expensive ordeal. Families have to pay for the hospital bills, diapers, clothes, an extra room in the house, car seats, cribs, and the list goes on. So why would a family want to pay additional money on bottle feeding their child, if the mother has the resources available to her for free. Bottle feeding requires the buying of nipples, and several bottles. One also has to have good water, a form of refrigeration, and a clean environment (Jelliffe 12).
The benefits of nursing your child are obvious and although bottle feeding can be a perfectly acceptable alternative if used under the right conditions, breast feeding still holds the upper hand. It is nourishing, inexpensive, and it provides a great personal relationship for mother and child. As Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “The breasts were more skillful at compounding a feeding mixture than the hemispheres of the most learned professor’s brain”(Berg 10).
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