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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Is Conditional Love a Precursor to Limited Breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is best for baby, mother, father, family and society; I believe this with my whole being. This personal philosophy stems from personal experience, knowledge gained from research and observations, and the acceptance/acknowledgement of God’s natural laws.

Today, many parents accept the notion that breastfeeding is best for baby on some level but fail to appreciate it from its many possible angles. This limited acceptance of breastfeeding can lead to “conditional breastfeeding” rules which usually results in limited, short-term breastfeeding. One's conditional acceptance of breastfeeding will compound any problems encountered with early breastfeeding and its long term execution.

Breastfeeding is equally important for a baby with special needs. Having a baby who has difficulty breastfeeding is one of the many cases in which mothers will avoid breastfeeding "because it is too difficult". Some mothers practice conditional breastfeeding; they will only breastfeed as long as it is easy and convenient.

Sometimes people love conditionally; they resolve to love another person only as long as loving someone comes easy and is convenient. Is conditional love a precursor to limited breastfeeding? Not necessarily, however, this argument could be made in a few circumstances.

A mother’s decision to breastfeed or not, however, does not change the physical, emotional, psychological, or medical needs of her baby. Her baby will thrive best -- in every way -- by receiving mother's breast milk via breastfeeding. Even when circumstances prohibit breastfeeding due to a baby’s inadequacies, the mother should nevertheless be encouraged by providing her baby’s best start by providing pumped breast milk.

It could be argued that special needs babies actually need mother’s milk above and beyond our “normal” babies for a host of reasons. This is not the point of this posting however, since all babies thrive best given mother’s milk.

Couples need to learn early on about all of the reasons to breastfeed; furthermore, they need to be convinced that all babies are worth their unconditional love and support which is in part demonstrated by the mothers’ commitment to giving their babies the best start in life; this is accomplished in part by exclusive and continued breastfeeding.

I suggest reading The Art of Breastfeeding: Giving Babies their Best Start. This book advocates breastfeeding; it is clearly best for baby, mother, father, family, and society. This book along with several others are offered by Fortifying Families of Faith; our mission is to provide intellectual material that benefits the whole family.

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