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Sir Mix-a-Lot would not be okay with this.
1) If reading about the benefits of breastfeeding will ruin your day, a title like "The More I Learn about Breast Milk, the More Amazed I Am" should be a pretty sufficient trigger warning.
2) Information about the interesting scientific facts of breastfeeding is not an attack on people who cannot or choose not to breastfeed. It is understandable to be sad about not breastfeeding if that was what you really wanted to do, and couldn't, but that is your personal feeling. Everyone who says breastfeeding is good is not saying ANYTHING about you, or others like you.
Take comment #1 here. Vaginal birth IS an awesome start to life, for many reasons. There are clear benefits to that sort of birth. I was unable to have a vaginal birth. I am sad about that. But i am thankful for the technology, medical knowledge and skill that allowed for me to have a safe, successful cesarean birth. People who say vaginal birth is good are not saying I am bad. Reading about the benefits of something we weren't able to have shouldn't ruin our days.
3) We are lucky enough to have the technology and medical knowledge to create specially formulated replacement milk for babies who will not receive breastmilk for whatever reason. And we live in a place and time, as the article points out, where the difference between breastfed and formula fed babies is negligible. That is amazing! Breast milk is amazing! Both our bodies and our brains do amazing things.
I think you are overstating the scientific evidence (and consensus) for the superiority of breast milk. As @11 points out, some recent studies suggest that the purported benefits are insignificant when controlling for socioeconomic factors. I know it is not your intention, but so emphatically stating that "Breast milk is better nutrition than formula, period" is going to make those mothers who did not choose to breast feed feel guilty. Whether or not a mother breastfeeds seems to be of minimal importance, but I think the unscientific, anti-feminist, and judgmental imposition of a maternal ideal on mothers (of which breastfeeding is just one component) has a negative societal impact .
With that in mind, I would like to thank my older sister for taking one for the team on that front (we were all breastfed in the '60s and I was #3 in line).
That study has been criticized for only looking at outcomes that already had little evidence of benefit- Intelligence,bmi, asthma. Other outcomes- for mum and babe- have strong evidence for, and were not investigated in this ONE study.
I am not saying that breastfeeding has zero impact, I just think we should be careful not to over exaggerate the benefits. I think our society has a tendency to shame woman in ways which further burden the already difficult task of being a mother. With regards to breastfeeding, I think the observed benefits to the child are sufficiently inconsequential to allow the women's preferences to enter into the determination of the "best choice." (This is in contrast to a decision on vaccinations for example, where I think a certain degree of societal shaming is justified.)
The world health organization's systemat… provides a good overview and meta analysis of the literature pertaining to breastfeeding's effects a child's obesity, blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and IQ. The only category in which they found "strong evidence of a causal effect" was IQ, and the magnitude of this effect was modest (2.2 - 3.5 point).
I thought it was a great article, very sincere and moving, and felt it did a good job of avoiding both explicit and implicit moralizing. My comments where not intended as a response to the article.
"Breast is best" is used to shame and bully lots of women, like @10 seems to want to do. It's just unbelievable how politicized every aspect of women's bodies are, how everyone feels entitled to give their opinions and advice, to "educate", as if the benefits of something like breast milk weren't well-documented and readily available.
Breast isn't best, it's just normal.
Facts do make people feel guilty sometimes. The presentation of the facts about smoking or processed sugar (I'm not saying formula feeding is as harmful as those two habits) can make you feel guilty about your choices if you are addicted to those things. But people deserve the dignity of informed choices. I would rather feel guilty than be lied to.
I agree whole heartedly with the poster above who mentioned our language surrounding the studies and comparison is all wrong. Human food for human babies is normal... it's been normal for all of human history. Formula is the experiment not the control. So we should not be saying "breastfeeding results in a thymus (a central immune system organ) that is twice the size of formula fed infants." The correct way to say it is "formula feeding results in a stunted thymus that is less than half of its intended size." http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/88889…
There are and have always been rare and exceptional times when some altered form of animal or plant milk has been needed. Formula is getting better and safer all the time. Thank God for that. But we should consider it medicine. Something unmarked and u marketed that if you really need it you can get it from a doctor and it will have warnings. I know that sounds extreme but that is only because of our formula feeding culture. We should help families find ways to give their children their normal biologically programmed food. And we should stop formula from being marketed so unethically. The U.S. lags way behind in this area. Helping mothers breastfeed takes a lot of encouragement, empathy, education, and understanding. But it never involves lying to mothers.
Also should mention that an IBCLC is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
This article only lacks one thing in my mind and that is citations. Because the ARE studies to back up the things she is writing about. If I have time I will go through and post links here in the comments section.
I am a French bfeeding mum, and as a matter of fact my daughter is also 10 months old! i just wanted so much to share this article with other bfeeding mums or bfeeding mums to be that I translated it to French (I'm an English teacher) and here's the link to my translation. please do inform me of any problem, and anyway would very much appreciate having any contact with you. You're amazing!
Uh, need to say this too. Mom's don't be grossed out but Junior is eating shit. All those trillions of milk sugar-busting bacteria have to, yes, poop. And that poop delivers some good shit to your baby. Really good. Scientists are still learning about the medicinal effects of microbe shit in babies (and grown-ups). Among the beneficial compounds in microbe shit are short chain fatty acids. One of which is butyrate ("bew-tee-rate", say it fast now, "beauty-rate!; do not say "booty-rate", no matter the temptation). Butyrate, rather than diet-derived nutrients in the blood, nourish Junior's growing colon cells and keep them snugged up to one another so nothing leaks out of the gut. Butyrate also talks to the baby's new immune cells, coaching them on who to leave alone and who to blast away. And a bunch of other cool things scientists don't know much about, or at all.
I hope you are still with me...let's dispel the tired myth that nursing moms are like cows. The fact is, babies are more like cows. Like Junior's gut microbes, the bacterial communities in a cow also break down sugars, the ones found in grasses. But sugar-busting microbes don't live forever in a cow or baby. They keel over. Microbes are made of protein and all those microbial burgers are food. In fact, the primary protein source for cows is microbe burgers. Same thing happens in Junior's gut to supplement the milk proteins. So moms, next time the rude jokes come up about you being a cow, whip out your mom-splaining hat.
Sorry for this long post, but I love all this stuff we are learning about microbes and ourselves. I ended up writing a book about it--"The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health". If you are even still reading at this point mark your calendars for Town Hall on November 18th. Me and my co-author will be doing a talk. Bonus for mom's--you'll be able to do more 'splaining when you learn about the parallel worlds of the vagina and a plant root...
p.s. Against my better judgment I made a F'book page for the book. It has only 3 likes! The co-author says hand over my address book to the F-bot. I say never! I post cool stuff about the microbiomes of plants and people if you want to check it out. www.facebook.com/thehiddenhalfofnature
"It sounds like science fiction, but these are things that are now on the table as plausible," Hinde says.
Plausible. Not proven. No evidence. The piece mentions nothing of any tests that have been done on this backwash theory. It's only mentioned as the thought of this one scientist. Hardly worth getting all amazing over, it even sounds like a stretch. If that were true, why are some babies allergic to breast milk?
As I got older and friends started to have kids, I found out that some women had problems lactating, and that some were repulsed by the idea of nursing a baby, which I never understood. You're willing to have sex and give birth, with all that entails, but you get skeeved out by a baby on your breast?
I remember a friend of mine who was rather militant about her breast feeding nursing a baby in front of my mother, hoping (I think) for some sort of negative reaction. Instead, they hit it off. I don't know if it was an Irish thing, or a farm thing, or just being cheap (breast milk costs a lot less than formula) but there was no stigma against nursing where I came from, and I think it has served all of us well.
On another note, I do have to say I'm tired of hearing about breastfeeding vs formula feeding. It seems like the only thing I see in my newsfeed anymore, and it's always causing fights between moms who ultimately want what's best for their kids. We don't know what struggles others are facing with this so we should proceed with a degree of empathy for those who want to nurse and for whatever reason are unable to. Similarly I'm sure those who choose not to are sick to death of seeing the breast is best argument. Formula-fed kids have grown up to be healthy healthy geniuses so I don't think anyone has anything to worry about. As they say, fed is best. I feel privileged to have been able to nurse for six months so far, and it really, truly is a privilege.
Describing the amazing benefits of breastmilk should NOT induce guilt. No one can "make" you feel guilty. You may feel sad, upset, frustrated if (for some medical reason) milk does not come in. But if it wasn't your fault, and there isn't anything you could have done differently (after exhausting all of the help of the hospital's lactation consultants or LLL counselors) then why would you say you feel "guilty"? You didn't do anything wrong, by your own admission. Let's please leave guilt-tripping out of the conversation. Something can be called "best" without being offensive. Someone can be inconsiderate in their comment to me, but they can't make me feel guilty.
For example, it's probably "best" to feed my kids all organic, whole raw food all day, with plenty of fruits and vegetables. But, I don't. In some ways I can't. Financially and time-constraint wise. Part of that is my "fault"(aka choice) and part of it isn't. I don't want to spend my life feeling guilt over it. It's not a moral issue.
I also don't want to use the "fed is best" argument, because no one is saying you shouldn't feed your kid! Of course kids should be fed! But, there is no question that mother's milk (pumped, or from the breast, or from a donor) is the appropriate food for a baby through the first year. Formula will keep them fed and alive, but it's not the same as breastmilk. That isn't simply an opinion.
Thankfully, our hospital had a very helpful team of lactation nurses. I called frequently with questions the first few months. If I had serious problems, I would have DEFINITELY took my baby back there, and asked them to help me in person. Latch, positioning, etc. You would have had to drag me away from breastfeeding kicking & screaming, because it was that important to me. If for some medical reason my next child needs formula (say, I fell ill and could not feed... like I did for 2 weeks when I had West Nile Virus and couldn't see my baby) then that is an emergency situation where my child needs to eat whatever is available, and I would feel sad.... but would not feel "guilt".
I was told by my nurse matter-of-factly when I had my baby that formula should be reserved for medical problems/emergencies, and that it is quite rare that a woman cannot produce enough milk for her baby. That should be empowering!! There is a ton of help out there, .. from books, to La Leche League consultants and groups, and the hospital lactation nurses. Many women say "well, I guess I just can't produce." or "my supply is low / dried up" and they did not seek help. I'm glad I reached out during the tough beginning months. I have sympathy for those with true medical conditions (insufficient glandular tissue, cancer, etc) but many breastfeeding problems can be fixed or worked around, with help and encouragement from a professional.
Being born is one of the hardest things a human being has to endure.
Lack of sleep, painful breast and bloody nipples, are often what I hear as "reasons" for not BF. As if 39-42wks of gestation and passing through the birth canal (or c-section) was a walk in the park for the newborn. 😏