For a long a time, there has been contrasting views on breastfeeding and formula feeding. However, it’s a personal decision when considering the best option for feeding a baby. Nevertheless, medical authorities such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and American College of Obstetricians high recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. Thereafter, mothers can introduce first foods that can act as supplement for breastfeeding for up to one year. Hence, in this work, I will present the arguments that support breastfeeding and those that are against it.
Argument for Breastfeeding
Journal of Pediatrics (2017) on breastfeeding versus formula exclusively supports breast feeding. The article talks about the benefits that accompany breastfeeding. Consequently, there are various premises in the article that support the argument. One of the premises is that breastfeeding lowers the mother’s risk of breastfeeding. In support of this premise, the article sites a USA study conducted to 14,000 pre and post-menopausal women which concluded that the risk of getting cancer is 22% lower for mothers who had breastfed. The journal also articulates that breastfeeding reduces the chances of infectious disease. Additionally, the article sites increased cognitive ability for children who were breastfed.
The journal has overemphasized on increased cognitive function and this can be viewed as the main point in the article. The article explores the process of brain development and states the importance of breast feeding as opposed to formula one. As such, it emphasizes that children who are breastfed have a greater visual acuity and cognitive function. Additionally, the article suggests that most of reports on IQ imply that children who are breastfed for than six months have the highest IQ level when compared to those breastfed for six months or less. Hence, the article seems to be more tilted to cognitive ability more than any other premise.
The quality of reasoning in the premises presented in this article stands on a fair ground with reference to research that has been conducted by other studies. Most of the points are consistent with research studies. For instance, improvement of cognitive function is consistent with an academic journal on benefits of breastfeeding published in 2003. The journal sites a prospective birth cohort study that included a 3-decade follow up found that babies who had been breastfed for twelve months or more had a higher cognitive ability. Hence, the premise on cognitive ability and its relationship with breastfeeding is evidence based. The academic journal on breastfeeding also mentions resistance to infectious diseases. The supporting evidence is that a mother’s milk contains significant levels of immunologic agents and other essential compounds such as leukocytes that are resistant to bacteria and parasites. The journal further states that since infants’ immune system is not yet fully mature until 2 years of age, human milk has a critical role of boosting infant’s immune system. Hence, the arguments presented in the article have some supporting evidence from other research work and the article can be deemed to be valid and provides an avenue for more research in the areas that were not explored.
Arguments for Formula Feeding
A journal titled “Formula Feed Your Baby” by Kristina Wright highlights various points as to why formula feeding is the best method for most families. Kristina states some premises for her argument. One of her premises is that infants are posed to the threat of HIV infection if the mother is HIV positive. She asserts that 20% of infants have contracted the virus as a result of breastfeeding. Hence, her conclusion is that formula feeding would prevent HIV infection to infants (Kristina, 2016). Another premise in her argument is that a mother would no longer have to be keen on what they eat or the medications they take. Additionally, she states that formula feeding comes from a variety of sources and it is convenient to mothers.
The main argument presented by Kristina is that formula feeding reduces the chances of HIV infection in infants and it is therefore better than breast feeding. She emphasizes the point and provides supporting evidence that at least 20% of babies who were breastfed by HIV positive mothers contracted the virus. Kristina further supports her premises by stating that World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding mothers who are HIV positive should consistently take antiretroviral drugs for at least one year; this does not apply to formula feeding and thus she highly recommends it. Kristina states that mothers would not have to be worried in any case if they miss an antiretroviral dose.
A closer look at Kristina’s premises displays a mixed thought on her arguments since some of them have been thoroughly reviewed by scholars while others are general perceptions. Her assertion that HIV can be transferred through breast milk is true and has been proved by medical bodies. According to World Health Organization (2013) bulletin, HIV is a virus capable of attacking the immune system and can be spread through body fluids including milk. The organization further states that transmission of the virus from a mother to a child can be through pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding. WHO recommends using antiretroviral therapy to minimize the chances of transmission of the virus to the infant. However, Kristina assertions that formula one is better than breastfeeding because of the various sources that can be used may be true yet she does not present facts about it. She ought to have presented analysis of the nutrients so that mothers cannot make a choice without considering nutritional values of formula feeding. Further, making a choice should not be based on convenience, mothers should be enlightened to make an effective choice rather than looking at what suits them best and neglect the underlying outcomes associated with their choices. Hence, Kristina does not provide enough scholarly evidence to support her premises.
Evaluation of Arguments in the Sources
Scholarly sources used in both of the arguments have a higher quality of reasoning and shows consistency compared. For instance, there is supporting evidences from World Health Organization and medical journals. The scholarly articles target other researchers in the same field of study while non-scholarly articles would normally target mothers who may be uneducated as well as those that are educated. The scholarly sources used in both arguments are devoid of logical fallacies and provides clear information while siting other secondary sources. For instance, WHO provides studies that are evidence based and its information is more accurate than most popular sources. Consequently, scholarly articles provide room for more research and it is more informative in the medical context; this enhances clarity in most issues that have been disputed such as the time frame for breastfeeding an infant. Further, the motive of the scholarly sources is geared towards improving healthcare by suggesting the most recommended approaches especially in child care. Questions revolving on breast cancer and HIV infections from mother to child have been tackled well and this show the extent of the motive of the scholarly sources. Scholarly articles also clarify on generally misinterpreted information which enhances a safe care for mothers and their children.
There are many benefits for both breastfeeding and formula feeding. Different scholars and medical journals have shown their support for and against the mentioned infant feeding approaches. However, lack of education on both of the feeding approaches leads many mothers to choose whatever is convenient for them. There is need to help mothers understand clearly importance of both approaches. Scholarly articles have been key to information and more research should be done provide for meaningful information.
WHO. (2012). Protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding: the special role of maternity services.
Kristina, W. (2016). Breastfeed Your Baby: a commentary. Nutrition Journal, 151. doi:10.1186/s12937-016-0162-0
Journal of pediatrics. (2017). Berlin: Springer.