Breastfeeding and the Modern Mom
In most early societies, breastfeeding was done by mothers for their children and only for the purposes of feeding their own children. As society progressed and class systems developed, breastfeeding became something unfashionable or not to be done by the higher classes. It became a task for wet nurses, women who breastfed children of the rich apart from their own. The practice of wet nursing was passed down through several periods. Though other forms of milk such as cow and goat were also tried for feeding a child they were not successful due to little knowledge about pasteurization.
In the eighteenth century, new substitutes for breastfeeding were introduced, but were also unsuccessful. It was during this century that women were asked once again to breastfeed their own children. Through continuous scientific research during this century and in subsequent periods, it has been found that breast milk is the best food for babies, containing everything a baby needs in its first few months of growth and development. Studies have also shown how breast milk has an effect on emotional and physical health, and has particular health benefits that can stay with a child throughout their lives.
Seeing how breast milk and breastfeeding is so important, the modern mom is given many opportunities and exceptions when it comes to the act of breastfeeding. Mothers are usually given several weeks off work, while still receiving their salary, in order to stay home and nurse their children. Laws on indecent exposure and dress codes are usually waived for nursing mothers. Many public places such as shopping malls or restaurants have breastfeeding lounges to make mothers more comfortable while they nurse.
Despite all the allowances of society, it is usually the modern mom who has difficulty when it comes to breastfeeding. There can be difficulties starting breastfeeding as well as problems that occur during the child's breastfeeding period. New mothers can have many unexpected difficulties when it comes to breastfeeding their children. Eventually moms do gain the experience needed for feeding their children, and breastfeeding can become a joyous act for both mother and child.
However, there does come a time when a child must stop breastfeeding for one of many possible reasons, and a new and very difficult problem arises: weaning the child from breastfeeding. Though weaning a child from breastfeeding is the big problem, many other smaller problems connected to weaning occur. Before discussing weaning in detail, however, it is first important to understand a modern mother's place in society, the importance of breastfeeding your child, how to properly breastfeed (as this can help in the weaning process), and what problems can occur during breastfeeding since some of these problems come back during the weaning period.
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