New York Latches Onto Breast-Feeding Benefits

Twenty-seven New York City hospitals support mayor's breast-feeding program

By Louise McCoy
Epoch Times Staff
Created: September 6, 2012 Last Updated: September 9, 2012
Related articles: Health » Nutrition
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Women breastfeed their babies at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington on Feb. 12, 2011, during a 'nurse-in' organized after a woman was stopped from nursing in public at the museum by security guards. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

Women breastfeed their babies at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington on Feb. 12, 2011, during a 'nurse-in' organized after a woman was stopped from nursing in public at the museum by security guards. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

Breast-feeding has become a public concern as New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg is encouraging new mothers to breast-feed via a program called “Latch on New York City.” Twenty-seven complying New York hospitals are restricting access to formula by hospital staff. Every bottle now has to be signed out by a nurse. The plan also bans formula freebies, discourages formula supplemental feedings, and educates new mothers on the advantages of breast-feeding.

There has been some backlash from those who feel a restriction of their freedom to
choose without repercussions. From now on, a mother who wishes formula when in one of these 27 complying hospitals will undergo some educational persuasion unless
there are obvious reasons not to breast-feed.

“It’s the patient’s choice,” Allison Walsh, of Beth Israel Medical Center told the July 28 New York Post. “But it’s our job to educate them on the best option.”

A healthy mother’s endocrine system is ready for baby. Baby’s immune and digestive systems get a jump-start with colostrum right after birth. Colostrum contains antimicrobial factors and growth factors that prepare these systems for action. When the endocrine system is unbalanced, usually because of bad nutrition during pregnancy, breasts do not produce, and formula must be supplemented.

The advantages of breast-feeding outnumber those for formula in every way. One of the advantages is bonding. Breast-feeding is the door into the world by which baby will remain close to mom, hearing her voice, her heartbeat and taking in customized milk.
She can feel the specialness of this bit of time while her baby nurses.

“Chemists searching for a specific compound in mother’s milk have been overlooking the obvious difference between breast-feeding and bottle-feeding—something that could easily account for the difference in cognitive development,” wrote Tonse Raju, a pediatrician and neonatalogist at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Breastfeeding Medicine, October 2011. “An infant suckling at his or her mother’s breast is not simply receiving a meal, but is intensely engaged in a dynamic, bidirectional, biological dialogue.”

Raju was referring to a study of I.Q. on 468 infants measured until they were preschool age and reported in the Scientific American, Nov. 16, 2011, the breast-fed babies averaged 3.8 points higher than the bottle-fed babies if they were breast-fed more than six months.

That said, the effects of one kind of bonding over another cannot be measured. Although bonding is felt very strongly by breast-feeding mothers, there are always questions when dealing with intangibles. Scientists are not sure if it is the fatty acids in breast milk that are essential for brain development, the bonding process, or a combination of both.

Breastfeeding mothers describe their experiences, troubles, and rewards in Women’s, “Share Your Story.” Those women tell of the intense bonding that takes place and the wonderful feeling of keeping it while working through breastfeeding difficulties such as tongue tied (the membrane under the baby’s tongue holding the tongue down), mastitis, difficulty in latching on, pumping milk, and disapproving in-laws.

There are also many advantages of breast-feeding for mothers according to La Leche League. Breast-feeding right after birth mothers produce oxytocin, which contracts the uterus to help prevent hemorrhaging, and to bring down milk. Prolactin is produced as a calming hormone that suppresses anxiety from overactive adrenals.

Breast-feeding mothers are less likely to suffer postpartum depression. Breast-feeding helps them lose weight and water gained during pregnancy even though they may be eating more. Menses are suspended for a few months, a blessing for many. Blood sugar normalizes.

For those who do not or cannot breast-feed, there are many ways to create healthy, intelligent, and well-adjusted children. Today, breast-feeding takes dedication and may not always be easy, but with helpful information and support groups, many difficulties may be overcome. La Leche League 24 Hour Hotline number is: 1-877-4-LALECHE (1-877-452-5324).

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