If you are sitting through Biology 120 with Dr. Cara Shillington this semester, like I am, you will learn that all mammals have mammary glands, those which allow the animal to produce milk. However, the only organisms within a mammalian species that have working mammary glands are females within the population. And somehow, people believe that breastfeeding, which is effectively just a female feeding her child, is somehow disgusting and unnatural, even though most mammalian animals will feed their children this way. There has been uproar over the years, that is decreasing with time, fortunately, that is removing the taboo of women who breastfeed their infants in public. But even so, everyone should be in favor of breastfeeding their children.
Breastfeeding has several benefits both for the mother as well as the child. For example, women who breastfeed are first and foremost less likely to get breast cancer and also, it is easier for their uterus to return to its original size after birth due to contractions that occur within the uterus during the let-down of oxytocin that comes with breastfeeding. Women who breastfeed their children also are passing any antibodies that can be passed through breastmilk to their children. This means that anything that the mom would be immune to, the baby can now quite possibly be immune to as well. Healthy mothers should also breastfeed because this decreases their child’s chances of developing asthma and as other allergies in the future. The bonding that occurs between babies and mothers when the mother is breastfeeding also allows the child to have a connection with his or her mother and reduces the likelihood of developing Anaclitic Depression, which results from not being held enough and bonding enough with other humans as an infant.
Even though there are many benefits to breastfeeding, the oversexualization of breasts in our country runs rampant and can keep many women from feeling as though they cannot breastfeed their children in public because of the way that people will look at them. And it’s true: many people will still look at people breastfeeding in a negative manner, even though it is no more than a mother feeding her child. But we should all be in favor of breastfeeding, even if it is in public. The discomfort that you may feel looking at a woman breastfeeding can quickly be cured by you simply looking somewhere else. The discomfort a child will feel from having an ear infection that could have been avoided by a mother breastfeeding them is not so quickly curable and can also be spread to other people. Having children who have been breastfed as babies by healthy mothers creates a society where we have fewer people in it who suffer from diseases that are easily avoidable and therefore have healthier children. Who doesn’t want that?