For thousands of years, humans survived solely off breastmilk, and, because it is one of the most natural things a human body can do, it is expected from all mothers. But, is this really the full picture? As the public, we have been inundated with information about the benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby, and Baby Friendly initiatives have pushed to the point of formula-shaming. In today’s post, we will take a deeper look at what it takes to raise a healthy, happy baby — whether or not it involves breastfeeding.
Is that the whole story?
Circling back to our opening statement and question, let’s take a closer look at breastfeeding in days yore. Let us not forget that in ages past, villages raised children, not a single mother. Babies were nursed on demand by whoever could feed it, and even as recently as 30 years ago, wet nurses were commonplace. The culture of the American family structure and the fight for equality in the workplace have left many mothers juggling both a career and a family, and the stress of it all weighs in the milk supply. Mothers of years past had no other job than to rear and raise the children, so pumping and storing milk while at work was a foreign concept that we are still working on perfecting.
Understanding baby nutrition.
Remember when you were a baby? Our guess is probably not, but if you ask your mother, chances are you were fed rice milk, formula, or even plain water much earlier than it is recommended today. As research continues to uncover evidence of how nutrition in utero and as an infant plays a role in development and health, recommendations change. Chances are that what we are feeding our babies now will be unheard of in another two or three generations, and our children will wonder how they ever survived our parenting practice. So, this begs the question, is breastmilk the end-all-be-all of infant nutrition?
The health of it all.
Some of the biggest pushes for exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) are saving money, passing on immunity to the vulnerable infant, and creating a healthy bond between mother and child; but, what if breastfeeding isn’t all that healthy. For some babies, ingesting their mother’s milk may cause as many risks as it does benefits. For instance, some medications and diseases can be passed along through breast milk. And, perhaps more importantly, there has been a proven link between the stress and difficulty of breastfeeding and postpartum depression (PPD). In these cases, we would argue that a mentally-healthy, happy mother is much more valuable to the developing infant than her breast milk.
Moms empowering moms.
We are not here to argue the benefits of breastfeeding; we wholeheartedly agree that it is liquid gold, and the producer is a magical being blessed on her children. However, there is no shame in alternatives, including donor milk or formula. Many happy, healthy babies are formula-fed and thriving. Here at Lil’ Labels, we support parents in all forms who do what they need to do to keep their babies fed and healthy. We are a company made by a mom for parents to help make the feeding process simple. Check out our entire product line that includes breastmilk storage labels
, baby bottle labels
, and date labels
. They are perfect for all of your baby feeding needs, and the best part is they are dishwasher, microwave, sanitizer, and warmer safe. Order yours today!