Image from www.Breastfeeding.com with permission
ebster tells us: "MAMMAL: any of a class (Mammalia) of higher vertebrates comprising man and all other animals that nourish their young with milk secreted by mammary glands…". By definition then, humans are designed to breastfeed their children. To quote the title of one of our favorite books (by Janet Tamaro): "So That's What They're For!"
Baby bottles are less than 80 years old. Before they existed, ALL infants were suckled at their mother's breast (or at the breast of a wet nurse if mother was too "modern" to breastfeed, and could afford to hire a wet nurse). Some time before our lives all changed during the Second World War, women were sold on the idea that modern living meant that they no longer had to be an indentured person, relegated to the nursery. Their breasts were now theirs to do with as they so wished. Modern science will now take over the task of feeding their offspring while they may go back to society or to the workplace. "Better living through modern chemistry" I believe someone called it.
Sadly, even today, some of our larger suppliers of food for infants are being chastised for their heavy handedness in getting families in the third world countries to switch from breastfeeding to formula. Being told that it is the modern way, those families that are barely maintaining a living on their near non-existent wages are paying unnecessary funds for formula, bottles, sterilizing equipment, etc. They are spending time and using scarce fuels to sterilize (sort of) the equipment, when they already posses everything that they need to feed their child, from its birth to the age of 2, 3 and even 5 years in some cases.
Regardless of what advertisements in the magazines and on the television may tell us, most of us know that the formula is only second best. One company even tells us that "The breast is the best, but…". So, knowing that, why do we continue to make the decision to feed formula instead of our own breast milk?
Peri Escarda tells us about some of the reasons that we make the choice
of the bottle over the breast. She describes how that decision may very
well affect the infant's future inclination toward obesity. Read about
Breastfeeding & Obesity.
While you are enjoying the changes that your body is making during this very special time, or if you are inducing lactation without the advantage of a pregnancy, you may be curious about how much your breasts are changing, or looking for signs that they are getting ready to produce milk. You will find a gallery of images on Breast Visual Signs for Re-Lactation that will help you to monitor the changes of the pigment of your nipples and areolae, and changes in the blood vessels in your breasts.
Sometimes your breasts are engorged and you need to reduce the pressure, or your baby is ill and you are separated from him or her. You can relieve your discomfort or you can produce your milk and place it in a bottle to be taken to your infant by using Manual Expression of Your Breasts.
Many women (and some men) undertake the induction of lactation without the benefit of a recent pregnancy to prepare their breasts for producing milk. This is done for several reasons, including so they can breastfeed an adopted infant. It can be done, and it is often done. By looking under our Re-Lactation section, you can learn how you can do it.
We recommend a website that will answer all of your questions. They are current, accurate, and complete. Please let us know if you find the site to be different from that. It is www.breastfeeding.com. Check them out.
You and your baby should ultimately make the decision to breastfeed or to bottle-feed. Make sure you are knowledgeable enough to make the correct decision, and that the final decision is yours, and not that of someone else. We wish you every success with your new family.
We want to encourage families to contribute stories about their breastfeeding experiences. Let us hear about both the good and the bad experiences. Experience is the best teacher 'they' tell us, so please feel free to teach others through your writings. Contact Ken by opening your email program and typing in: BreastCare@comcast.net.