This is a new word in my professional lexicon, but this is a concept essentially ignored in the breastfeeding/formula conversation. Naturally this discussion involves polarizing attitudes full of inside and outside opinions on how to best nourish one's baby. Expert culture is pervasive, regardless of credentials. So much so, that the cringe worthy term "mommy war" is attributed to the contention. The focus in 2015 is: is breast milk superior to formula?

"Superior." Above average in excellence. My baby is better than your baby; breast is best. The science of feeding a baby has eclipsed the humanity of the act. Overt mechanisms of power and control, or social inclinations of being born in the 21st century -- a part-time nursing theorist like myself wonders: what about mom?

I'm due to begin my lactation counselor certification in a couple of weeks. Breastfeeding by definition is a dyadic process, with the nursing mother secreting hormones to facilitate the nourishment for baby. Together the anatomical union of two people and physiological components for success work synergistically to facilitate exterogestation. In our current breastfeeding culture, only the mother who carried the baby nurses. Therefore, if no other feeding mechanism is implemented, it is only the mother who can promote this gestation.

You can't birth a baby and put him on the 6 train. The idea that we give birth to such immature newborns has not been lost on those who study infant nutrition. Exterogestation suggests that the dyadic process of infant feeding, bottles and supplementary feeding systems included, are a crucial part of development. Ways of being able to feed an infant without a breast have been devised since antiquity. Let's agree not to indulge the divisive few and elevate the mothers, the fathers, the caregivers who are nourishing all of our future. When discussing formula, speak intelligently to its science, but don't fall victim to the pandering discussion meant to sell products. Change the conversation to promote attachment and bonding regardless of bottle or breast. 

Be well, #lenthern

 

 

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