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To BreastFeed or Not in Public: Are You For or Against the Public Display?

We live in a world where it is socially accepted for woman to dance practically naked on television and media outlets; yet there is a controversial uproar over Sesame Street, showing a mother nursing her infant child. Choosing whether or not you will breastfeed or formula feed your child, is a decision that every mother has to make. The decision to breastfeed or formula feed your child is a personal one.

Before making this decision, I would like to present some important factors that you must take under serious consideration.  Let’s look at the benefits of breastfeeding your child, and how the public display should be honored and not frowned upon. People need to realize the primary purpose of a women’s breast is not be sexually objectified but to be used to nurse her child while providing health benefits that formula alone cannot provide.

Problem: As many as 74 out of 1,000 infants die before reaching the age of one year and 94 of them die before their fifth birthday. Out of 74, 53 infants die before reaching one month of their age due to diarrhea, pneumonia, respiratory infections and malnutrition.

Solution:  Most if not all of these lives can be saved by breastfeeding. Data analyzed by scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences suggest that breastfeeding can cut the risk of death for infants in their first year of life. Looking at infants between 28 days and one year of age, researchers concluded that promoting breastfeeding can potentially prevent up to 720 post neonatal deaths in the U.S. each year.

Demonstrating: Human milk is more than food. It’s a complex living substance, like blood, which has a long list of cells, hormones, antibodies and health-promoting ingredients. These help protect babies against all kinds of infections and diseases such as: type I diabetes, childhood leukemia, Sudden infant death syndrome, and certain cancers. Breastfeeding has also been linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood. And the physical closeness, skin-to-skin touching, and eye contact all help babies bond with their mom and feel secure. Also breastfed infants are more likely to gain the right amount of weight as they grow rather than become overweight children, eventually overweight adults

Feasibility: Breastfeeding is the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. Virtually all mothers’ bodies are capable of breastfeeding and any mother can be taught to breastfeed properly. . Unlike formula milk breast milk is readily available 24/7, during any type of emergency.

Benefits: breastfeeding is widely known to protect babies from illnesses and diseases. However what is not common knowledge is that breastfeeding also protects mothers against type II diabetes, ovarian and breast cancer, and it helps mom get back to post-pregnancy size. The USDA concluded that if breastfeeding rates increased to 75 percent at birth and 50 percent at six months, it would lead to a national government savings of a minimum of $3.6 billion per year.

Objections: Some of society criticize breastfeeding mothers for feeding their child privately and/or publicly. However, there are laws put into place to allow mothers to breastfeed their child anywhere at anytime. There is also clothing specifically designed to allow mothers to breastfeed their child discreetly.

breastfeed photo
Photo by dailycloudt

The convenience of not having to stumble in the middle of the night to find a bottle and mix formula to feed a hungry baby might be great; the awkwardness of offending people, for feeding that same hungry child in public might not be as rewarding. I suppose this is where getting a breast pump and bottle comes in at. Oh the greatness of technology. For a few hundred dollars you can buy an electric breast pump, with bottles to store and reserve your milk. And you too can have the convenience of feeding your child in public anywhere, anytime just like formula fed babies. You may also have the comfort of knowing how much milk your child is actually drinking doing feedings.

Feeding your baby formula might not be extremely rewarding for the baby, but for moms and caretakers of babies that can be a different story.  Once the bottles are made, mommy can leave baby with her partner or caretakers, and know that her little one is being fed; all without the hassle of pumping milk and rescheduling activities around baby feedings. This also allows mommy to share feeding duties with her partner or caretakers, and allows that partner to feel involved to. Unlike breastfeeding mothers, women who opt to formula feed do not have to worry about what the consume that could be harmful to their baby. So here is your getaway pass, if you know that you cannot keep your body free of drugs and alcohol and food containing high volumes of mercury, all of which can be extremely harmful to the child being nursed.

breastfeed photo
Photo by shingleback

In the end,  it doesn’t matter whether you breastfeed or formula feed your child as long as your child is fed. However, through my research I have found that it is more beneficial for the baby if they are breastfed.  The convenience of formula feeding, for mothers and caretakers, does not outweigh the benefits of the natural nutrients that breastfeeding provides. As a current breastfeeding mother myself, I agree with the findings and supporting facts of and encourage women to breastfeed if possible when and wherever they need to.

Photo by dailycloudt

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