Solid Backing

There has been a lot of talk online and in the news lately about the slogan “Breast is Best.” In my opinion it is not what is “best” rather what is “natural” or “normal” for the baby. For many mothers formula feeding is what is best for them. Putting a good/bad label on breastfeeding or formula feeding is not helpful in portraying a positive message about what is natural or normal for babies. There are many professionals and organizations that promote exclusive breastfeeding. Here are some quotes supporting human milk for human babies. I have yet to find positive formula feeding quotes other than what formula companies have come up with to promote their products.

I know that there are millions of very health infants receiving formula throughout the world. If a mother cannot or chooses not to breastfeed her children it does not always mean that they will have unhealthy or unattached children. One cannot judge the bond between a mother and child based only on the method of feeding that she chooses.   

  • The newborn baby has only three demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three. – Dr. Grantly Dick-Read
  • What is established in the breastfeeding relationship constitutes the foundation for the development of all human social relationships, and the communications the infant receives through the warmth of the mother’s skin constitute the first of the socializing experiences of life – Dr. Ashley Montagu, anthropologist and social biologist.
  • The benefits of breastfeeding are so numerous that the American Academy of Pediatrics (1997) strongly encourages the practice during the first six to twelve months of life. Human milk is nutritionally superior to formulas for the content of fats, cholesterol, protein, and iron. In addition, there is evidence that human milk confers protection against infections and other diseases. Exclusive breastfeeding is ideal nutrition and sufficient to support growth and development for approximately the first six months after birth. It is recommended that breastfeeding continue for at least twelve months, and thereafter for as long as mutually desired.
  • Breastfeeding is the physiological norm for both mothers and their children. The AAFP recommends that all babies, with rare exceptions, be breastfed and/or receive expressed human milk exclusively for about the first six months of life. Breastfeeding should continue with the addition of complementary foods throughout the second half of the first year. Breastfeeding beyond the first year offers considerable benefits to both mother and child, and should continue as long as mutually desired.  – American Academy of Family Physicians (2001)
  • Breastfeeding is one of the most important contributors to infant health. Breastfeeding provides a range of benefits for the infant’s growth, immunity, and development. In addition, breastfeeding improves maternal health and contributes economic benefits to the family, health care system, and workplace. – US Surgeon General David Satcher, MD (2001)
  • Breastfeeding confers significant short and long-term health benefits for both the mother and her infant, which go way beyond the period of breastfeeding itself. – National Health Service of Great Britain
  • The more intimate bodily communication inherent to the breastfeeding situation leads to a feeling of psychological oneness with the child, which allows the mother to satisfy her own dependency needs (needs to be cared for and loved) at the same time she meets the baby’s dependency needs. A mother’s dependency needs may be accentuated postpartum by pain, fatigue and the other psychological stress of adjusting to new motherhood. When her dependency needs are thus met, her resentment of the child’s dependency (often a very difficult problem) is alleviated, and the positive maternal feelings can flourish unencumbered. – Lucy Waletzky, MD
  • Breastfeeding mothers respond to their babies more intuitively and with less restraint. The baby’s signals of hunger or distress trigger a biological response within the mother (a milk let-down) and she feels the urge to pick up the baby and nurse him. This responsiveness rewards both mother and baby with good feelings. If a mother is not breastfeeding, her response to her baby’s hunger or distress cues is quite different. She must initially divert her attention away from the baby to an object, the bottle, and take time to find and prepare it. Breastfeeding mothers tend to show a high degree of sensitivity to their babies, and I believe this is a result of the biological changes that occur in a mother in response to the signals of her baby. – Dr. William Sears
  • Breastfeeding is not a reflex; it is a learned process. In our present culture, many women have never witnessed an infant at the breast. When a woman is called upon to nurse her own infant, much of her success depends on a learning process. Successful lactation depends on proper information – Ruth A. Lawrence, MD
  • The needs of the infant are urgent. They are necessary for survival. When adults meet these needs day after day and week after week with reasonable consistency and promptness, the infant gradually develops a sense of trust. – James Kenny, Clinical Psychologist

From the book “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” 

© Drew Starr, 2011


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