Physical contact is critical to the physical and social progression of human beings; the World Health Organization realizes this, which is why they are taking initiative globally to ensure that within minutes of birth, babies are placed in the arms of their mother.
In the next year, New York State Department of Health (DOH) will install regulations to encourage new mothers to breastfeed their children. This begins with the state requiring the 126 birthing hospitals throughout the state to place newborns in the immediate care of their mothers.
On top of this requirement, hospitals will also be prohibited to hand out any products sporting formula marketing or coupons that could be used toward buying formula.
Donna Bruschi, locally certified lactation consultant and owner of the clothing store, New Baby New Paltz, explained how breastfeeding builds the immune system and wards off illness.
The decision to breastfeed, while widely disputed, comes with benefits, according to Bruschi. For one, skin to skin contact is vital to the development of a baby’s immune system.
Bruschi said that the communication that takes place between mother and child during breastfeeding allows for a mother’s body to give the child what it needs to fight off illness. When a child has been exposed to illness and then later breastfeeds, the baby’s needs will be catered to and receive the antibodies needed to fight off disease.
“If a baby is around its mother all of the time and then is introduced to someone else, let’s say a grandparent or something, who is sick, the baby will then come in contact with that illness but will later receive protection from the mother’s breast milk,” Bruschi said. “The child will feed and the mother’s body will know exactly what antibodies her child needs to fight off the illness.”
Like all mammals, the initial bond that takes place between mother and child is pertinent in the child’s ability to create relationships later on in life and affects the child’s sense of attachment. Evidence suggests that breastfeeding not only establishes strong emotional security with a child but also provides them with sugars that aid in the crucial brain growth period that takes place within the first year of life.
Much like children, mothers also benefit from breastfeeding. Breastfeeding after birth speeds the healing process for the mother and enables the uterus to return to its original state and size. And while, psychologically speaking, the general population focuses on the importance of breastfeeding for the child’s emotional health, it also strengthens the mother’s feeling towards her child.
Trisha Braverman, BSN, RN, CCDS, former international board certified lactation consultant, and Lactation Education Coordinator of Stony Brook University Hospital on Long Island, expresses how women “bond with their babies. Breastfeeding creates an intimate connection between parent and child.” She goes on to state that “statistics show that mothers who breastfeed are less likely to abuse their children later on because they shared something physically and emotionally irrevocable.”
Nicole Pafundi, New York resident and new mother, also laments the importance of breastfeeding and how it has completely shaped the emotions she feels when looking at her son. Pafundi said even though there is so much stigma regarding breastfeeding, there is nothing more natural than to do just that.
“It’s raw and natural and it’s not something you even think twice about when you realize what good it is doing for your child,” Pafundi said. “For the rest of their life, you’re their support system, this is just one more way of taking care of your child. It is also a lot cheaper than buying formula every week.”
For more information regarding the benefits of breastfeeding, Bruschi can be reached at email@example.com and more information regarding specific regulations can be found at www.health.ny.gov.