For years there have been arguments about which is the best way to feed a baby. Many women going through their pregnancy struggling with what decision is right for them because ultimately it is a behavior that is natural to our species and those like us. There are two options to choose from when deciding how to feed an infant after birth. The first is breastfeeding either by bottle or breast and the second is formula feeding a baby. This paper will be a review of the two options and the comparison of the two, the politics involved, and finally with the arguments that are involved on both sides.
Breastfeeding is the natural process of a woman feeding a child from her breast. Other names for this process are Nursing or Suckling. The American Academy of Physicians make the following policy statement on breastfeeding: “Breastfeeding is the physiological norm for both mothers and their children. Breast milk offers medical and psychological benefits not available from human milk substitutes (Breastfeeding (Policy Statement), 2014)” Feeding a child from the breast of a mother is a natural phenomenon that many mammals like humans do to provide for their young. Before the scientific technology of formula came about, the breast was the only way to feed an infant right after birth.
The first liquid that is produced by the breast after birthing the baby is colostrum. This is a yellow substance that is made during the pregnancy and is rich in nutrients and antibodies that is said to protect the baby. This colostrum is how the baby is fed for approximately three to five days and will provide enough nutrients that the baby needs. After this time period, is when the letdown occurs and the actual milk will arrive and the breast will be ready to feed the baby. The mature milk contains the fat, water, sugar and protein that are needed to provide positive growth for the baby. The thinner milk that is produced by a woman’s breast is said to match the nutritional needs of the baby.
From as early as the 1800’s an author Thomas Bull wrote that it is suggested that a mother breastfeed the baby until 12-18 months before weaning off the breast (Wickes, 1953). Today it is suggested by the American Academy of Pediatrics that a mother breast feed the infant until 12 months at least with a combination of other foods such as baby food and fresh fruits and vegetables and then as long as a mother desires after the first 12 months (AAP Reaffirms Breastfeeding Guidelines, 2012).
The alternate form of feeding an infant is a synthetic formula scientifically modified from cow’s milk to mimic the nutrients from human mother’s milk. As far back as 2000 B.C. mothers that could not breastfeed their infant for medical reasons or because the mother had passed at birth, chose to use a wet nurse. A wet nurse is a nurse that would breastfeed the baby human milk from the breast. This became controversial in some areas and eventually disappeared when they began to use cow and goat milk...