Human infants, at the time which they are born, are incredibly dependent creatures. Extensive measures must be taken to ensure that they are given the adequate nutrients they need in order to grow into a health, fully-functioning adult. The means in which infants receive these nutrients is most commonly through breastfeeding. The intimate relationship between mother and child that exists in the womb is maintained after birth through the act of breastfeeding. The choice of a mother to breastfeed her child has numerous, serious implications – for both herself and her offspring. The physiological consequences that breastfeeding has on mother and child are undeniable. Breastfeeding directly affects the physical development of an infant positively, as well as improving the development of cognitive abilities.
These implications not only extend to the health of mother and child, but also to cultural and societal norms and values. Whether a mother decides to breastfeed or not can affect the culture she comes from, as well as that culture having a profound effect on her breastfeeding habits. A mother’s choice to breastfeed is affected by the relationships she has with the people around her, as well as the relationship she has with society as a whole. A given culture may have distinct ways in which it interprets the amount of time a mother should breastfeed, as well as which times and places are acceptable for her to do so. Conversely, a mother’s decision to breastfeed has an effect on the culture she is a part of. By impacting the relationship between mother and child directly, it may change the perceptions that infant has on the world, thus effectively shaping an entire culture.
Benefits for Mothers
Scientific evidence shows that the physiological consequences of breastfeeding are beneficial for both a mother and her child. Upon giving birth, a woman must also deliver the placenta that was created to feed and nourish the infant during pregnancy. This process can be potentially problematic. During this time, the uterus is in a fragile state, increasing the risk for post-partum hemorrhaging when the placenta is delivered. If a mother immediately suckles her...