Monday, March 22, 2010

Breastfeeding is "normal"

I was going to start by saying lets take breastfeeding as our normal view point, the start. But this saying and thinking is wrong. Breastfeeding is the "normal" start and view point. It is breast milk substitutes that are out of the norm.

I have yet to see an elephant make a decision not to feed her young, but instead give it processed milk from a giraffe. We don't expect to find it in nature so why should we expect to find it amongst ourselves. When a mother decides to give breastfeeding a try she is in effect doing the "normal", not the right or better or perfect but the normal. We are the only mammals that can make a "choice" on which food type we would like to give our babies. But we think too much in the box.

We think that breastfeeding is all or nothing. When in fact every drop counts. That's because it is made precisely and perfectly (using this with caution, nothing in life is perfect but breast milk in effect is) for each individual baby, it is not hard or a hassle. We forget that the next best thing to directly receiving breast milk from the breast of the mother is pumped breast milk. So second best is pumped breast milk from the mother. Third best is breast milk from another mother either pumped or direct from the breast. And then we have in forth place breast milk substitutes. Saying this I have no intention on bashing those mothers who choose not to breast feed. Those mothers who should in effect make the educated decision on whether to give their precious baby breast milk substitutes. If only we had the resources to have a milk bank so these mothers would be making the educated decision on whether to use a milk bank instead of breast milk substitutes.

We hear always how breastfed babies have higher IQ's, are less sick, have a reduced chance for cancer and different diseases and the list goes on. But in effect as breastfeeding is the normal start point or reference this should be stated that babies fed with breast milk substitutes have lower IQ's, are sick more often and have a heightened chance of developing cancer's and other diseases. Even in the medical field this comparison is in wrong context. For some reason we "assume" that processed milk should be and is the nutrition for babies. But in fact it is breast milk that will always be the nutrition for babies.    

In fact if we look at breastfeeding from another angle you would be able to see how much you "save" because of breastfeeding. Take note how much CO2 (carbon dioxide, a green house gas) is produced by cow's and their manure. Then the electricity, that is processed, and is needed to express their milk. The gasoline, again processed, needed for the truck to transport the milk to the processing plant. The CO2 released from the truck. The electricity and coal needed to process the milk and refine it to make it "safe" for human infants to ingest. The foil and tin that is processed into containers at separate factories. The transportation needed to get the containers. The trees that are used to make the paper that is processed into the label, all using gasoline and electricity and all releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. And we still haven't packaged the milk yet, this is just the prep. Now we need electricity for the machines to work to fill the containers. Plastic for the lid. More trucks and planes and boats to transport the containers to the receiving dock. Here all more CO2 admitted into the ozone layer. Now we are finally getting close. The trucks to transport the milk to the supermarkets. You to drive your car, or take the train, or the metro (all of which use gasoline, coal or electricity) to the supermarket to buy the milk. Then to return back home to prepare it to give to your baby using a gas or electric stove.

Now I don't know about you but I am tired already. But that is just the container of milk. I did not go into detail on the bottles and rubber nipples needed and their own carbon foot print. Not to mention the waste after the milk is finished.

We have adjusted our thinking to accept breast milk substitutes as the "norm" and ignore all the ill effects it is doing to our world. Breastfeeding is the only nutrition for our babies that has no carbon foot print. If this would be the only reason you choose to do what nature intended for us it would be a great motivation.

Do what you were designed to do, it is what nature intended.

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