Is breast best?
We have touched upon the highly controversial debate of breast milk versus formula, but we have not discussed the matter in detail. Thus, I want to provide the forum to share thoughts and opinions about breastfeeding a baby or formula feeding a baby.
Many argue that mothers should breastfeed their baby. To begin with, breast milk can improve the child’s health, for the mother passes antibodies from herself to the child through the breast milk. As a result, the child builds his or her immune system to help fight off infections. In addition, due to the nature of the breast milk, the baby digests the milk more easily than formula. Moreover, the act of breastfeeding benefits not only the child but the mother as well. For example, through breastfeeding, the mother can bond with the child, which can improve the mother’s emotional health. Although breastfeeding appears as an ideal option for feeding an infant, various problems exist. For instance, as we discussed on Monday, the mother can pass harmful chemicals or viruses through the breast milk as well. Thus, the breast milk could actually cause the child more harm than good.
Individuals argue the aforementioned point about transmitting substances to the child to promote the use of formula for feeding the child. For example, the formula would provide the child with the necessary nutrients without the risk of transmitting fatal viruses. In addition, the mother can consume anything that she wants or needs, such as alcohol or medication, without the fear of passing it along to her infant. Furthermore, formula-feeding would enable both parents to develop a bond with the baby, for both partners can feed with a bottle. On the other hand, however, formula-feeding presents obstacles. For instance, parents must pay for the formula, which may cause financial stress. In addition, a mother can access breastmilk at any time, limited by the debate over breastfeeding in public, but she must travel to the store to purchase formula.
Thus, with all of the aforementioned information in mind, what would you all recommend: breastfeeding or formula-feeding? I would argue that a simple answer does not exist. Personally, I would follow the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation of feeding a baby breastmilk until the age of one year old. However, this recommendation alludes to the debate about the age at which a child should stop breastfeeding. Moreover, mothers who abuse drugs or alcohol should use formula instead of breastmilk to eliminate the risk of transmitting the chemicals in the substances to the baby.
I am a proponent of natural processes. I think we over medicalize, commercialize and industrialize everything. If it is safe for both mother and baby to breast feed then I definitely think that is the way to go. As you said, it relieves financial burden and has a lot of health benefits assuming there is nothing wrong with the milk.
To touch on the issue of public breast feeding I thin this is another thing that our society has made seem barbaric and out of date. I think as more women choose to breast feed rather then use formula this will also become normalized. This also goes with the whole overshooting the use of medicine and industrialization and how Americans are realizing this issue and going back to more natural ways of doing things. I worked in the Emory College Human Resources office and they had pamphlets saying that Emory supports women breastfeeding. I never looked inside to see if that meant that women could say breastfeed while at work or sitting on a bench outside of Cox, but I also don’t see many women bringing their infants with them to campus.
In public settings I would have said that it wouldn’t bother me to see a woman breast feed, but my family and I went to dinner with my sister and her newborn and she breastfed at the table. My dad left to get more food when she did this. I wasn’t so much uncomfortable by the act itself but whether other people would say something. I think worry about other people’s reactions is another issue in this. Many women breast feed at home and either pump when they are in a public place or use formula for fear or embarrassment of breastfeeding in public.