Despite any economical or social factor throughout history, the current thinking of “breast is best” was upheld until modern times when some say manmade formula is much easier and just as good.
Until the widespread marketing of canned formula, infants were nourished from breast milk, if not their own mothers, then from substitute wet nurses. Despite economic or social factors throughout history, the current thinking of “breast is best” was upheld until the 19th century when conventional wisdom started shifting.
As formula prices began dropping in the 1950’s, the convenience of new products contributed to increasing use, and by 1972, just 22 percent of U.S. mothers still breastfed at all. By 1972, just 22 percent of U.S. mothers still breastfed at all.
Tides turned in the 1970s as social trends shifted to focusing on natural ways and parental bonding. Today, 70 percent of U.S. women breastfeed, but only 15 percent breastfeed exclusively as recommended by the World Health Organization.
The evidence showing breastfeeding’s benefits for long-term health continues to grow, including Duke University’s recent research on breastmilk’s unique ability to promote good bacteria preventing illness. While critics say evidence is limited or mistaken, most critics have little medical expertise and are more concerned with “experimental evidence”.
Women continue to be targeted with opposing viewpoints from formula samples and pamphlets to breastfeeding information leaving some feeling they are not good mothers if they choose to bottle-feed.
While social influences may play roles in a mother’s decision to breastfeed, the greatest factors are a mother’s love for her child and her ability to provide the best – whether that’s breast milk, a healthy substitute, or a combination of the two.