According to my Random House dictionary, definition No. 6 for the word "formula" is a mixture of milk and other ingredients for feeding a baby. I can deal with the milk; it’s the other ingredients that concern me. The word "formula" immediately makes me think of mad scientists hovering over test tubes in a laboratory. It also makes me think of experimenting and trial and error. Why "formulate" something to feed your baby when God has equipped most women’s bodies to produce milk after they give birth. Breast milk has exactly the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein that a baby needs.
I once heard that humans are the only mammals that intentionally feed their young something other than their own milk. That, among many other factors, helped me decide not to give my baby formula. When breastfeeding is an option, I think Black mothers owe it to themselves and their babies to breastfeed for as long as possible. Other than women with illnesses that prevent them from breastfeeding, new moms should at least make an attempt to give their babies the considerable health advantages that breast milk has been proven to provide.
Extended breastfeeding has been credited with protecting babies from various illnesses. It is said to increase a child’s intelligence and it may also help to prevent obesity. Breastfeeding may offer protection from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Some research has even linked the failure to breastfeed to intestinal issues experienced later in life. Breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months seems to offer babies significant health protection.
Moms benefit just as much from extended breastfeeding as their babies do. Breastfeeding moms are often free of a menstrual cycle for a longer period of time after giving birth. Breast, uterine, ovarian, and endometrial cancer risks are lower in women that practice extended breastfeeding. Diabetes is a disease that is prominent in the Black community. According to some studies, breastfeeding may lower insulin needs in diabetic women (http://breastfeeding.about.com/od/problemssolutions/a/diabetes.htm). Weight loss is another incentive for extended breastfeeding. In my case, about three months into breastfeeding I weighed less than I weighed prior to my pregnancy.
Along with the health benefits, extended breastfeeding provides an opportunity to bond with your baby in a way that no one else can. I can’t put into words the joy I felt cradling my baby knowing that I was created by God to be able to nourish her. Mothers and babies are physically connected for 40 weeks during the baby’s development. For breastfeeding mothers and babies extended nursing is a continued physical, emotional, and spiritual link.
Tangela Walker-Craft is the creator of Go Pillow! a patented, multipurpose childcare item that allows moms hands-free breastfeeding with comfort and president of Simply Necessary Inc. After nursing her own daughter for two years, Walker-Craft, realized that there was not a product on the market that allowed mothers to have nursing privacy and cradling comfort when others were present. Existing nursing pillows were too bulky and cumbersome for travel and cover-ups on the market required too much manipulation. The GoPillow! satisfies the needs of both breast feeding and bottle feeding mothers and caregivers. Learn more at http://www.simplynecessary.com/