|BREASTFEEDING CONVERSATION: Looking at the |
benefits of breastfeeding
I realize that not all moms choose to breastfeed and there are cases when a mom cannot breastfeed for medical reasons. But we and other organizations make it our mission to support moms with information and guidance when they want to breastfeed. That includes helping them in a variety of situations, like breastfeeding at the breast exclusively, breastfeeding at home and pumping while away, exclusive pumping, breastfeeding a baby born premature, and more.
But this "The New York Times" article asserts breastfeeding is a matter of convenience and calls into question the mounds of evidence-based research on the benefits of breastfeeding and the risks of not.
As I see it, here are the facts when it comes to breastfeeding:
- Breastmilk is the best way to feed a human infant. Breastmilk was made expressly for a human infant and has the exact antibodies and nutrients needed for a baby at every stage of their growth. While substitutions are available, they are in no way equal to breastmilk or breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding is natural but does not always come naturally. That is why there are professionals like IBCLCs, CLCs, and other breastfeeding educators whose role is to help a mom and baby breastfeed. Sometimes it does come easier and that is great. But the challenges are surmountable and breastmilk and breastfeeding cannot be replicated.
- Sticking with breastfeeding, like many other worthwhile things, can be challenging. It is challenging to go back to work when you are breastfeeding. But it is also challenging to go back to work and leave your baby in general. Since our bodies are designed to make breastmilk, we know through a ton of research that it is more beneficial than formula. Why else would formula manufacturers tout that their product is just like breastmilk?
- The conversation about breastfeeding should not be a discussion that pits mom against mom. When looking at this conversation, it's important to look at the facts and the sources of those facts. Morevover, there needs to be a consistent platform that's clear of promotion about breastfeeding by healthcare professionals so moms can get the relevant facts they need.
That's my take on this most recent breastfeeding conversation. What's yours?