Andi Stracner's Doula Blog

A blog about natural childbirth and being a doula in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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I'm currently available to anyone looking for a good doula. So if you are interested and live in or around the Little Rock area, feel free to contact me. I love talking with new people.

Andi Stracner, Doula
Cell: (501) 838-0486

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Breast Feeding

Here is a paper that I am working on.

"Benefits of breast feeding, and how society sometimes discourages it." - By Andrea Stracner.

Breast feeding has been slowly becoming more popular since the 1970's. It is unfortunate that the trend is not catching on in certain parts of the population such as, teenage mothers, the poor, and African American women. We should find a way to convince them all that the “breast is the best”. There are so many advantages for both the mother and infant. We really should try to educate people to those advantages. But society has fought with breast feeding mothers in the U.S for some time now.
The benefits of breast feeding for the mother are very good. Breast feeding immediately after the baby is born helps your body produce a natural hormone called oxytocin. This oxytocin is similar to pitocin or methergene that doctors give you to make your uterus contract back down to its normal size after delivery. Obviously the oxytocin helps the uterus shrinks as the baby gets the nurishment it needs. This sometimes helps a mother get her figure back after having a baby, which can be a real challenge. Another thing that breast feeding does for a woman is that it helps lower the chance of her getting breast and ovarian cancer. Also there is the maternal bonding that a mother feels when spending this special time with her new child knowing that she is the only one that can be with her child in this way. There is also a cost issue. Formula can cost more than $400 a year for the family.
The benefits for the baby are endless. In a policy statement, published in the December issue of the journal Pediatrics,the academy said that “studies conducted in industrialized countries have shown that breast feeding can decrease the incidence or severity of conditions such as diarrhea, ear infections, and bacterial meningitis. The research has also shown that breastfeeding may offer protection against the sudden infant death syndrome,insulin dependent diabetes, and allergic diseases, among others.” There was also a report in Jama that suggest that adults who as babies were breast feed for seven to nine months, had a higher intelligence level than those breast feed two weeks or less. There is also a bond between the mother and baby that is made during feeding time.
Many factors are to blame for only twenty percent of American infants being breast feed for six months of life. Many blame it on the formula companies. To many the companies are “a bunch of fat cats getting rich at the expense of babies health.” Unfortunately the formula companies have lots of money to spend on add campaigns promoting their product. It seems that they aim there adds many times to poor women. If only breast feeding could be promoted in such a way. Then there are some people in the public that view breast feeding as a disgusting thing that “middle class granola eaters” do. This is a big problem that keeps mothers scared to leave the house if they are breast feeding. I know many people that have been told to leave a public place such as a restaurant. One person was told not to feed her infant, because” this is a family place”. I guess that person wants his children to think that breasts are only for selling tooth paste and fancy cars, because breast feeding is the most natural of family activities.


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