On Breast Milk

Yesterday, in my “Sexuality and Parenthood” class, the following issue came up: what kind of support should the system give teenage mothers? People said things like:

“Welfare!”

“Education!”

“Sneakers!” (<--that was mine) Then a young lady by the name of Alysia said something unexpected. She said: "Breast milk education." Heads turned. Alysia went on to explain how many Americans--both poor and wealthy--are unaware about how important it is to breastfeed your children. To evidence this point, I offer the following example: My mother developed an infection when she tried to breastfeed me. Therefore, she couldn't breastfeed me. I am the result of what happens when you don't breastfeed. I e-mailed Alysia this morning and she kindly responded with a detailed paragraph focusing on the merits of breastfeeding. I think it is relevant here because: (a) this site is about food; (b) breastmilk is food (for babies); and (c) I'm pregnant. And so, without further ado: There are many benefits to choosing breastfeeding instead of formula-feeding for an infant. Even if it is only for a short amount of time, the baby’s immune system will benefit from breast milk because it is the most complete form of nutrition for infants (often referred to as the “Gold Standard” for infant nutrition). Breast milk contains antibodies that protect infants from bacteria and viruses, decreasing risks of infection and disease including diarrhea, ear infections, allergies, and asthma. Most babies additionally have an easier time digesting breast milk than formula. Some studies also¬†indicate that breastfed children have greater brain development than non-breastfed children. And for the new mom, nursing uses up extra calories,¬†making it easier to lose weight gained in pregnancy. Breastfeeding has also been linked to a lower risk of breast cancer, and may lower the risk of ovarian cancer. Finally, breastfeeding can save a considerable amount of money (formula is expensive!), and help the mother bond with her baby.

I’m also including a couple of links about stuff that the Athens Community Breastfeeding Coalition and breastfeeding in general:

Link.

This one is particularly interesting because it talks about how some businesses will allow smoking breaks, but not pumping breaks for moms trying to work and breastfeed at the same time.

Link.

These are resources from 2000, so you may want to check some of the links before you used them.

Hope that’s helpful!

Alysia

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