Want a Smart Baby? Give The Breast.
I recently flew for the first time with my 4 month old daughter and even though I knew I had every right to feed her, I couldn’t help but feel awkward with the situation of nursing on a plane. As moms, we always want the best for our children, but I’m shocked that the rate of breastfeeding is so low in America. More moms choose NOT to breastfeed – But why?
Is there a lack of education? There is a lower risk of ear infections, lower respiratory infections, asthma, and sudden infant death in breastfed babies. Reports have also shown that formula feeding is associated with several long-term effects, too, like type 2 diabetes and childhood obesity. Further studies have even shown that breast-fed babies score higher on cognitive tests, and they tend to do better in reading and writing, too. The health benefits don’t just stop at baby either, since studies have also found a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer in women who breastfed their babies.
Is it laziness? Breastfeeding is not an easy choice. It can be demanding on mom, at times painful, and less convenient than a bottle. Many times, especially early on with engorged breasts, leaking milk, and sore nipples, it would be EASIER to just get a bottle ready, but when did being a mom mean that we chose “easy” over the welfare of our children.
Way too often I hear moms say that they gave up because it hurt too much, or they didn’t want to keep getting up in the middle of the night (formula fed babies may stay full longer), or because they wanted to have more freedom away from baby. Yet all these things can be overcome and are such short-term effects. The physical and mental health of a child is impacted by this decision, why would any mother not choose the best option?
Is it embarrassment? The sad truth is that bottle feeding is considered the “norm” in America, and women who breastfeed repeatedly must face discrimination. Breastfeeding in public is seen as a taboo and many mothers have been told to leave or stop feeding their child in restaurants, stores, or other public areas. This makes absolutely no sense to me because every person, baby or adult, has the right to eat. I understand that the sight of a bare breast might make some individuals squeamish; however, as long as the nursing mom covers herself, there should never be an issue.
Nursing in public does not need to be awkward for mom or others. When I was on the plane, I let the person next to me know that I would be nursing so that she could move if she was uncomfortable and I used a cover to feed my baby without exposing myself. These simple steps allowed me to feed my child, while respecting those around me.
If you are a breastfeeding mom, be proud of your accomplishment, be strong in your commitment, and be sure that you are giving your child the best possible start in life.
Why do you think more moms choose not to breastfeed?