Humans and all kinds of creatures have been breast feeding their offspring since creation. To me the idea that people have to be taught how to breast feed does not sound right. It seems to me that something has broken the natural chain by which creation intended to perpetuate itself. In nature the young are born, raised on breast milk, and then grow up only to repeat the process themselves. They learn the art of breast feeding in the school of nature. That is true unless something has interfered with the chain in such a way that the knowledge is not passed on to the offspring. Is it possible that advancement, civilization or education or economic success or whatever you want to call it has broken that natural chain?
Poor people from the so called third world have maintained higher rates of breast feeding than the new advanced world. They have done so because it is the natural way in which children have been fed for as long as human beings have been around. But they have also done so because they could not afford the alternative. Artificial or commercial infant formula is either beyond their financial means or it is simply not available where they live. In the country side where I grew up there were no supermarkets or corner stores where one could run to and get infant formula. There were no programs like WIC which provided formula to those that could not afford it. Practically every woman breast fed her baby. She learned the art of breast feeding at her mother’s side. Women did not run and hide behind closed doors to breast feed their infants. In fact if a woman was traveling in a public bus and her infant cried because it was hungry people would yell at her if she did not breast feed the baby.
In my book ,”Struggle to the Top of the mountain”, I write about how staying at home until I was a little older helped me to learn about our culture and tradition. Breast feeding was not one of those traditions that I learned about during those years. It was such an integral part of life that it was unimaginable that any woman could even think of not breast feeding their infant.
The medical community has miraculously discovered that breast feeding is actually good for babies. So now this age old natural thing is being aggressively pushed in every maternity ward. Breast milk provides great nutrition even as it provides immunity to all kinds of diseases to the baby. Breast feeding specialists are everywhere in hospitals and clinics of the advanced world. The poor people have done this for centuries without the help of specialists.
Have we paid a high price for advancement? Have we broken the natural chain by which humans and other creatures have always raised their offspring? I believe that those poor people who have held on to the natural art of breast feeding deserve our respect. What do you think? Ernest Simela