October 30, 2014
Baby Gets a Snack, You Get a Rack
The initial plan is to remain pregnant for nine months. Within this period of time, there are numerous conversations that new parents should have with one another: possible names, responsibilities, and delivery methods. However, the conversation of how the newborn will be fed should be assumed as a top priority. There are many concerns that should be considered by a mother, such as the importance of nutrition of a newborn for the healthy date of conception, the method of feeding in order to obtain these proper nutrients, and the many societal burdens that often alter a mother’s opinion of naturally breastfeeding. Although many women believe they are pregnant for what it seems like an eternity, these months can be cut short before the baby is ready to be born. This was the case of baby Linus; whom was born at twenty-four weeks, weighing one pound, eight ounces, and measuring twelve and a half inches. Still drugged up Jennifer, mother of Linus, expressed after finding herself awakened to the lactation consultant fondling with her breast “all of a sudden I was faced with the reality that I was nowhere near ready. I had no idea of what to expect” (Swartvagher). Unexpected delivery of a premature baby, Jennifer was unfamiliar with the nutrition that her breast milk would supply for her twenty-four week old premature newborn (Swartvagher). Every journey to motherhood is unique, but one of the first decisions a mother undertakes is how to feed her newborn. As a new parent, it is your duty to be sure that your infant begins their life with proper nourishment. The United Nations Children’s Funds states that “breastfeeding is the foundation of good nutrition and protects the infant against disease” (“Breastfeeding”). When parents elect to breastfeed, they are ultimately making an investment in the life of their adolescent (“Breastfedding”). In agreement with United Nations Children’s Funds, the World Health Organization (“10 Facts About Breastfeeding”) emphasizes that “if every child was breastfed within an hour of birth, given only breast milk for the first six months of life and continued breastfeeding up to the age of two years, about 800,000 infant lives would be saved each year” (“10 Facts About Breastfeeding”). Breastfed children have, at least, a six time greater chance of survival in the earlier months of life than a non-breastfed babies, reducing the likelihood of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Breastfeeding also drastically reduces the amount of deaths from pneumonia and diarrhea, the two leading causes of mortality in infants (“10 Facts About Breastfeeding”). Newborns reap an abundance of aid from breastfeeding. Breast milk helps infants grow healthy and strong from day one. When a mother first gives birth, what is released tends to be different from the milk released as the baby matures. Colostrum is the first type of nutrient that is made during the duration of the pregnancy and just after birth (“Breastfeeding”). The reason that colostrum is the first thing the baby digests is because this milk is very rich in nutrients. It includes disease-antibodies that are being transferred from the mother to protect the newborn from infections, which is one of the many benefits babies reap from breastfeeding. Other benefits would include an impact on the youth’s survival and development as well as improved nutritional and immunological needs. All nutrients and vitamins provided by the milk is all a baby would need for proper growth the first six months of life (Martin and Zaichkin). Unfortunately, these significant benefits are not enough to raise the breastfeeding rates in the United States above twenty-nine percent (Chezem, Friesen, and Boettcher. 40).
A major problem that new mothers deal with facing are the societal burden to end breastfeeding. As the mother and newborn begin to develop a routine, breastfeeding mothers soon realize