Posts Tagged ‘Redefining breastfeeding as complex system’
In the wake of increasing activity of medical professionals of all sorts who blindly and unanimously equate breastfeeding to food, nutrition, and milk, I feel compelled to start the discussion about the lack of language to describe the complexity of breastfeeding. Scientific thought on breastfeeding has been fraught with reductionism. Complex systems theory has not been applied to breastfeeding to factor in all the aspects of breastfeeding besides the too obvious breastmilk. Every single source of information that I have turned to from Wikipedia to WHO to Breastsfeeding A Guide for the Medical Profession repeat the mantra “breastfeeding is breastmilk is nutrition” often underplaying the relational aspects of breastfeeding that cannot be attributed to milk.
A member of the breastfeeding support community Lyalechka in LiveJournal once eloquently expressed the complexity of breastfeeding as a planetary system somewhere in the Milky Way Galaxy, where each planet symbolized pleasure, trust, comfort, consolation, attachment, tenderness, love, protection, and nutrition. This particular member witnessed breastfeeding during pregnancy without any milk present to attest to the complexity of breastfeeding relationship beyond nutrition and milk.
Based on the current meager research that is available beyond the nutritional and medicinal uses of breastmilk, we can safely picture breastfeeding as a complex adaptive and interactive system between a mother and her child. This system cannot be replaced by milk in a bottle nor can it be replicated by other forms of interaction. The change in paradigm from breastfeeding as milk to breastfeeding as complex adaptive system between a woman and her child will permanently close the loophole of pharmaceutical and commercial attempt to replace women with powdered milks and electric devices. The change in conceptual framework how we view breastfeeding will forever change the attitude towards women and ensure protective rights for women and children, currently the most oppressed classes of people in the world. The change in the mental model of breastfeeding will lead to qualitatively different policies and legislature that will protect women and children, not exploit women in an attempt to harvest commercially valuable milk.