It’s amazing how all creation have been endowed with built-in capabilities to procreate and sustain its progenies. It is said that “there are 4,000 species of mammals” and each kind produces a distinctive sort of milk for their young (Ruth Lawrence, M. D. , professor of pediatrics and obstetrics, in Williams, accessed in the Internet last February 27, 2007, http://www. fda. gov/Fdac/features/895_brstfeed. html ). Given that, the natural food for an infant is its mother’s milk.
Human milk is custom-built for human babies and enough to meet all the dietary needs of a suckling babe.
It is an established fact that years of research on the efficacy of breast milk making it perfectly suitable to provide nourishment to infants and basically protect them from illness. In comparison to bottle-fed babies, the former have decreased rates of admissions or hospitalizations, infections related to the ear, rashes and allergies, diarrhea, and a host of other medical concerns (Williams, accessed in the Internet last February 27, 2007,http://www.
fda. gov/Fdac/features/895_brstfeed. html) . This paper examines and proposes the manifold benefits of breastfeeding both for the infant and its mother, its historicity, and society’s role in its practice as well the risks when mother is exposed to questionable lifestyle or substance use-whether legal or illegal.
Despite its popularity and very common occurrence in various parts of the globe, breastfeeding is a subject frequently being researched. In a compendium on this matter, Cadwell and others brought together information on the incidence, and other studies to present a realistic picture of the importance and condition of the breastfeeding in America (Calandro & Marcus in Cadwell et al article, 2003).
Historically, this maternal activity is unquestionably a norm or an everyday occurrence of early Americans. According to Cadwell and other writers however, this is no longer the situation. Breastfeeding moms are fast becoming an “endangered species” so to speak.
This team among others, are convinced that a resurgence of the breast feeding practice is most needful, and education’s place in promoting breastfeeding. In addition to the many positive effects of breastfeeding, recent study published by the La Leche League International focuses on the OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) occurrence (Palmer, 1999). Findings revealed that breastfeeding and the longer a baby is breastfed lowers the incidence of this disorder.
Culture and society shape people’s values to a large extent. They shape attitude early on those developmental stages. Family, teachers and friends greatly have their effects on other people’s beliefs about what are those ways that are acceptable and are not (Canahuati et al, 1999. http://www. waba. org. my/wbw/wbw99/foldereng99. htm). Many in the research field say that ninety-nine (99%) percent of human history has been known to have breast milk as the primary or sole food until two years of age.
There is common knowledge also that this practice of infant nursing even continues for more than those two years (in Small, last accessed in the Internet, February 27, 2007). However, culture and society slowly evolved until the norm became non-existent almost. Today, in first world countries mainly, the women now choose the option to nurse or breastfeed – the ready solution to feeding a baby has become to bottle-feed them.
And this beside the avalanche of information that reach mothers, many women still choose to introduce formula which all agree as an artificial substitute (Matusiak, 2005). This was actually introduced around the 1860s in the U. S. and in Europe with advertisements persuading women to purchase what might well be the scientific discovery of the day at the same time convincing its customers they are paying for the most perfect substitute for mother’s milk (Matusiak, 2005). It is true that culture is most influential when the choice to breastfeed is taken or not.
To date, there are various intricacies where culture and the choice to breastfeed are involved. Matusiak in his study on A Cultural Perspective of the Feeding Habits said that “In all cultures there exist a number of factors and beliefs not directly related to breastfeeding that nevertheless affect women’s decisions on how to feed their children” (Matusiak, 2005). They include feeding habits – when to feed and when not to feed – and also the duration (one year or less for instance) of nursing the child.
This even includes the feeding position – the cultural differences that influence the mother to decide what she has been taught to do. This goes to mean that mothers hand over to their children what they usually practice. In addition, it undeniably true also that whenever one mother decides to breastfeed, society almost always dictate to a large degree this decision made by women. In Pakistani society for example, male children are more preferred at than the female children.
So much so that when a mother gave birth to twins, the male child was breastfed while the infant daughter was given the formula (Matusiak, 2005). Again to quote Matusiak “The cultural aspects of what roles the male and female play complicates the issue. As seen, societies that favor a male over a female, as in some developing countries, tend to have the male breastfed, while the female gets the artificial breast-milk. While more developed countries are struggling with the emergence of a strong, self-willed female population” (Matusiak, 2005).