The Breast or the Bottle?

July 9, 2008 by Mama Heartfilled  
Published in Motherhood

The choices that women have today concerning whether to breastfeed or not, and why they may choose them.

The “Breast or Bottle” issue has been discussed and re-discussed for many years. It is still unresolved to many mothers who are burdened with questions and guilt over the right thing to do concerning themselves and their babies. Women, rather than coming together for our mutual benefit, are thoroughly divided on this issue. Christian Women should seek common ground and learn to be non-judgmental of those with differing opinions.

As with any other thing in this world, the bottle and the breast have been seen as both good and evil. The bottle has saved many children’s lives when their mothers have been unable to breast-feed for one reason or another. It has also been used unwisely as a tool for convenience. The breast has been symbolic of the nurturing element of motherhood as well as being a sex symbol for an unrestricted generation. Women who choose to bottle-feed have been made to feel guilty, while women who choose to breast-feed have been made to feel dirty.

When our Creator God made Womankind, he had a unique design in mind for her that would carryout and benefit His plan for procreation. When it is interrupted, whether for convenience or for the sake of medical emergencies, something is lost in God’s great design. Though women for several generations had been told by their doctors that breast-feeding was not best for their babies, the medical community has commonly acknowledged the benefits of breast-feeding to mothers and their infants for several years now. Breast-fed babies have been shown to have a complete nutritional diet, in addition to the immunological benefits they receive; as well as the benefits of a possible higher IQ than their counterparts who were bottle-fed with artificial formula.

More recent is the evidence for medical and nutritional problems when women and infants do not breast-feed. The Baby Blues, otherwise known as Post-partum depression, is more often discovered in women who do not breast-feed and infants who are not breast-fed pose a greater risk for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Infants who are not breast-fed do not receive the benefits of the mother’s immune system that they would have otherwise received had they been breast-fed. This makes infants more prone to illnesses of many kinds.

When a Christian woman is faced with the decision of whether or not to breast-feed, she should ask herself her reasons behind her possible choice of bottle-feeding. Would her motives be purely for convenience, or will her choice benefit either or both herself and her infant for a greater purpose? A Christian woman should always consider God’s design as the best possible plan, but must also recognize that we live in a fallen world where God’s best is not always possible. In today’s world where single mothers must go to school or work, it may not be possible to breast-feed. While it should be noted that breast-feeding, though difficult for the working mother, is not impossible with the options of pumping and supplementing available today.

All Christian mothers want what is best for their babies, but are sometimes pulled between choices that are not optimal. They may have to choose a method of feeding that is not their preferred method of nurturing. Some mothers who would like to breast-feed cannot, while others who would rather have the convenience of bottle-feeding, are willing to sacrifice their time and effort to do what they believe is best for their babies. Christian women should always prayerfully consider their options and make the choice, which benefits their baby’s, their own, and their family’s welfare.

While recognizing that most mothers do what they believe is best for their family, Christian women must not be overly judgmental of others who happen to have made a different choice than them. Whether breast-fed or bottle-fed, infants need lots of love, close contact, and almost constant supervision by their caretakers. We must respect the decision of each mother to choose what is right for her family and let God do the convicting one way or the other.

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