|Over the years, there have been many changes in how, where, and when women give birth. One thing that hasn’t changed is every parent’s hope for a happy, healthy baby. There is nothing else in the world like the feelings a parent experiences as their child smiles, coos, or looks at them for the first time.
While there have been many changes in the way we feed newborns, the natural process of breastfeeding has changed very little. The way the breasts are stimulated by hormones to make milk during pregnancy, and later by the baby after birth, is still the same all of these years later.
Making formula is now big business and the companies that make it do research to try to find the best combination of ingredients. They continue to try to match the “gold standard” of breast milk. However, breastfeeding is still considered the best option for feeding a newborn by almost all health care agencies.
All mothers are encouraged to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of a baby’s life. As this is not always possible, the second best method is feeding the baby pumped breast milk from a bottle and the last resort is to use modified cow breast milk or some other combination of ingredients to make “milk” suitable for human infants.
One of the biggest obstacles to educating society on the benefits of breastfeeding is the ignorance that many have to the process. Many years ago, when breastfeeding was the only option for feeding a baby, society was more familiar with the process. New mothers were helped by their mothers and experienced friends. As new feeding options have come onto the market, breastfeeding has fallen out of favor with many moms; children are no longer exposed to it and don’t know how to practice the womanly art of breastfeeding when they have their own children.
This change has ushered in the profession of lactation consulting. A lactation consultant provides prenatal education, help with establishing breastfeeding after the child is born, and on-going support for mother and baby.
Breastfeeding is much more than just providing food for one’s child as any successful nursing mother can tell you. No one can say that breastfeeding is easy, or without challenges, but, the benefits that come with breastfeeding such as better overall health for the baby, make the process truly worth it.
What have you gained from breastfeeding? Share your thoughts with other moms.
Need to speak to a lactation consultant? Call Phyllis at 215-453-4594.