Premature infants are at increased risk for a potentially lethal gastrointestinal disease called necrotizing enterocolitis, or NEC. Studies conducted by researchers at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles demonstrate that a protein called neuregulin-4 (NRG4)—present in breast milk, but absent from formula—may be protective against the intestinal destruction caused in NEC. Their results will be published online on September 9 in advance of the print edition of the American Journal of Pathology.
Thirty percent of babies with NEC die from their disease, and even survivors can face lifelong consequences that may include removal of part of their intestine and dependence upon intravenous nutrition. Formula feeding is a known risk factor for the disease.
So you’ve decided to breastfeed. Fantastic! Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to nourish your baby while establishing early bonding. Unfortunately, breast milk comes out of breasts so there are a few ground rules that we need to cover.
As you know, (female) modesty is a highly protected value in modern society. Unless you’re a magazine cover model or in a music video, exposing your female udder flesh is entirely inappropriate. Science has proven that breasts are basically large vaginas. Only you and your partner should ever see them. Just because your breast-ginas are full of milk, doesn’t mean you get to wave them around.
(Everybody check the tags if you feel yourself getting offended.)
That’s great that you support breastfeeding. I actually would love to get to the stage when we stop calling it breastfeeding, and just call it feeding. That’s all it is. You’re not feeding a breast, you’re feeding a baby. It’s babyfeeding. Should women have to cover their babies to feed them in public? That sounds a little silly, doesn’t it?
But to answer your question, there are several reasons why moms might not cover up in public:
Dental caries and prolonged breastfeeding still trigger much debate among professionals and parents. Some mothers are still being told to discontinue breastfeeding their toddlers because of cavities in the mouth. Parents often feel very discouraged and upset when they are forced to stop breastfeeding their toddlers. Dental caries is one of the most common chronic diseases in childhood, and is a disease of multifactorial etiology. This paper reviews the literature on dental caries and breastfeeding. This review revealed that there was no conclusive evidence that prolonged breastfeeding increased the risk of early childhood cavities. (emphasis added)