Thursday, October 4, 2012
Breast milk ISN'T best?
My latest article addresses the taboo slogan BREAST IS BEST which quite a few people take offence to. Basically every one knows that breast milk is the healthiest option for babies under 12 months old, although not everyone is aware of the specific benefits to the baby. In addition, it is not okay to actually say that breast is best out loud. Because that might risk offending those who can't or don't breast feed. I find this a little bizarre, because I think a fact is still a fact whether we vocalize it or not. Being quiet about it or avoiding the subject doesn't make it less valid.
Look I get it, breastfeeding isn't half as easy as it sounds. I always thought it would be the most easy breezy experience. I mean how hard can it be right? Wrong! It can in fact be very hard in the beginning, getting the right latch, fighting clogged ducts, thrush, keeping up supply, pumping milk, storing milk, food intolerances by the baby, baby preferring the bottle... the list of obstacles making breast feeding hard truly seem endless. And for some mothers it is enough to make them throw in the towel. I can commiserate; I was more than ready to just give up in the first week and never thought I would still be breastfeeding her by now. But even when I was thinking of quitting, I never disputed that fact that breast would have still been the best option for my baby. That's my opinion of honest parenting; accepting the facts even when they are against you.
While I was pregnant I started receiving free sample cans of formula from different brands, and I was surprised to see that they all had a statement printed right on the packet in favor of breast milk. So let me this clear, the formula companies want us to buy their formula, but they have stated boldly on the back of their product that "experts agree on the many benefits of breast milk" and those benefits can't be gotten from formula. I rest my case.
The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support breastfeeding and the La leche league provide such a wealth of reliable information on the topic. There are so many health benefits of breastfeeding to mother and baby, both in the short and long term. So many people are under informed on this issue and can't state specifically which illnesses and conditions can be avoided by breastfeeding. Breast feeding for the first 6 to 12 months of the baby's life boosts their immunity and drastically lowers their risk of developing many illnesses both in their infancy and even throughout their lives. Mothers who breastfeed also enjoy advantages, such as losing pregnancy weight easily (breast milk production burns calories) and are less likely to develop certain cancers such as breast, ovarian and uterine cancer. With all the evidence in favor of breast milk I really don't know how anyone could ever say that breast milk isn't best.
More posts on breastfeeding coming up!