Nature’s way is the best way

Published 9:31 pm Saturday, February 20, 2016

A bill that will hopefully make it to the governor’s desk seeks to provide protections to breastfeeding moms.  If passed, any company, agency or person that doesn’t allow a mother to breastfeed a child can be fined up to $250.

It’s a bill that’s long overdue, since many women are forced to quit breastfeeding or pumping milk in order to go back to work after having a baby.

In Mississippi, breastfeeding in public was a misdemeanor until 2006, when a bill was passed to decriminalize it. As the law stands now, there is no course of action if a mother’s right to breastfeed in any location is infringed upon.

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The research on breastfeeding is clear.

“It lowers the baby’s risk of leukemia and other cancers, diabetes and obesity. It boosts their immune system, and it’s more easily digested, so they spit up less, protects them from stomach problems,” Lactation Counselor at King’s Daughters Medical Center, Lou Ann Wall, said. “The benefits are great for the mom, too. It lowers the risk of postpartum depression; you burn an extra 500 calories a day; it decreases ovarian and breast cancer risk. If a mother has high blood pressure during pregnancy it helps lower that, too.”

So why has breastfeeding become unpopular? Largely, it’s due to a lack of education. The public has been led to believe that only poor people breastfeed. Formula companies have also done a good job of convincing parents that formula is just as good as breastmilk. But it’s not.

“Used to, that’s what everybody did, and then the formula companies when they started to pick up, they made people feel that it was better and that you were poor if you didn’t feed your baby formula. It turned into a social status thing, and it’s still kind of like that — they advertise it’s the most like breast milk, and it’s really not. There’s really no substitute for it,” Wall said.

Breastfeeding can also save parents quite a bit of money — up to $2,000 a year.

It’s clearly best for mother and baby, and those of us who are a little uncomfortable with seeing a mother breastfeeding her child will just have to get over it.  Mothers trying to provide their child with the very best nutrition shouldn’t be ashamed or be forced into a bathroom stall.