The public health topic that affects development I chose is breastfeeding. I chose this topic because it is a topic of controversy for many including myself. I have a two year old son and when he was born I attempted breast feeding. He had trouble latching on so they sent a lactation nurse to my room to help us. She single handedly ruined it for me. She was very pushy and was not as encouraging as she should have been. I felt as though I was being forced to breast feed rather than being helped. I was completely turned off to breastfeeding after my encounter with this nurse. As soon as she left the room, I called my nurse and asked for bottles so I could feed my son. I noticed that people looked at me funny when they saw me bottle feed my newborn. One person in particular, a male friend of my husbands, was very opinionated on the subject. I have a problem with that. Especially from someone who has never and will never experience how difficult it can be. While I understand that it is the best thing for your baby, I do not think that people should be scrutinized if they do not want to or cannot do it.
I learned that in Africa, more than 95% of infants are currently breastfed. The importance of breast milk as a food resource of African countries is generally not recognized and I found it interesting to know that their feeding practices are often inadequate because they feed water, and other liquids, to breastfed infants consequently, making the rate of exclusive breast-feeding very low. In a country where they do not have the financial means for formula, it would be nice if they could make the most of the resources they do have available to them (ie: breast milk). But with the rate of AIDS cases, it is often safer for babies to be bottle fed.
I am not sure how these findings impact my future work but I do feel as though I am encouraged to try breast feeding again because it really made me sad for those women in Africa who are not able to breastfeed for fear of transferring AIDS to their newborn babies.