#EmpoweringKids: Step 3

One of your goals as a parent is to rear a child that has a strong sense of security, love, and attachment to its parents. During the first 36 months of life, an infant’s brain produces more than a million neural connections each second. The baby learns that if he or she cries their needs will be met for food, warmth, love, communication, social, intellectual, and interpersonal interaction. The baby is learning intrinsically whether they are important and loved. You are teaching your child by your interaction whether the world is a safe place for them.

Sadly, sometimes I’ve seen just the opposite, parents who prop a bottle on a pillow for the infant to feed on a formula or give the child a bottle and sit the infant in front of a TV. I was personally told by a mother who put beer in her baby’s formula that doing so caused her child to sleep longer during naps. She boasted to me that this allowed her to have the cleanest house in the neighborhood.

Please note that during this rapid development of the brain, infants exposed to inadequate parenting are missing out on vital communication, intellectual and social skills, bonding, developing a sense that they are loved and in return, they can give joy and affection to another human being. Inadequate parenting teaches an infant at their core that they must fend for themselves to get more than their basic needs met. 

This begs the question—should infants be breast or bottle-fed? According to several health organizations — including the #American Academy of Pediatrics (#AAP), the American Medical Association (#AMA), and the WorldHealthOrganization (#WHO) — recommend #breastfeeding as the best choice for babies. Breastfeeding helps defend against infections, prevent allergies, and protects against many chronic conditions.

Study co-author #SannePeters,Ph.D., of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues found that a mother’s risk of heart disease and stroke further decreased with each additional 6 months of breast-feeding. They recently published their findings in the #Journal of the American Heart Association. Of note, is that previous studies have indicated that women who breast-feed may experience short-term reductions in blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight loss, which may benefit cardiovascular health.

Unfortunately, not every mother can or prefers to breastfeed for various reasons. The choice clearly should be left up to the mother. With that decision, however, it is prudent that the mom ensures that her infant’s nutritional, emotional, developmental, intellectual, and psychological needs are being met. Infants need to be held, talked to, played with, sang to, read to, loved and felt appreciated and wanted. It is extremely difficult to undo the effects of inadequate or inferior parenting. The investment you make as a parent can have lifelong consequences.

In spite of parenting you’ve received, know that you are loved, capable, intelligent, beautiful, and fearfully and wonderfully made by a loving father. #God’s will is that you have an abundant, healthy and fulfilled life. Please show your support of this post by liking, commenting, following me, and brightening someone’s day by sharing it with them.

For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance.”
Isaiah 66:11-13 NIV

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