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Ann's Blog

Love Makes the World Go Round

Love Makes the World Go Round

It makes sense that MilkWorks would be all about milk. It's in our name. It's what we do. We help babies get their mother's milk.

But some moms cannot make enough milk to feed their babies. In the past, these moms often felt as though they could not breastfeed their baby. The reality is that breastfeeding is more than the milk.

In the early 1900's, at the same time that formula was "in the works," many psychologists believed that showing affection towards children was a sentimental gesture that served no purpose. Behaviorist John B. Watson supposedly went so far as to warn parents: "When you are tempted to pet your child, remember that mother love is a dangerous instrument." Some people thought that affection would spread disease and lead to adult psychological problems.

A Harvard trained psychologist, Harry Harlow, decided to challenge this theory and study the topic of love.

In the 1960’s, just as breastfeeding rates in America were at their very lowest, he conducted his famous monkey studies. He raised rhesus monkeys with either a wire frame “mother” that provided milk from a bottle, or a cloth frame “mother” with no food. Which did the monkeys prefer? They chose the soft physical contact of the cloth mother over the nourishment.

These experiments led researchers to conclude that attachment and the need for affection is actually deeper than the need for food. Harlow’s work changed how children were cared for in orphanages and hospitals. It also led to the encouragement of “kangaroo care” – encouraging mothers of premature infants to hold them close to their chest covered by a warm blanket. Today, this same concept is being applied in hospitals across the country as mothers are being asked to keep their baby on their chest “skin to skin” for the first hour after birth.

MilkWorks aims to help mothers provide their babies with human milk whenever possible. Vast scores of research tell us that breastfeeding is not just about food. It is a loving process that happens between a mother and her newborn.

February means Valentine’s Day to me. As we surround ourselves with candy hearts and boxes of chocolates, I send a message to those special mothers who find themselves just a bit, or a lot, short of milk. Remember, love makes the world go round….and it all starts with your newborn baby snuggled quietly against your chest, feeling safe and secure and protected.