Thursday, April 03, 2008

Human Milk for Human Babies- Duh

Okay, I've put off writing about it for a couple of days, but if anyone happened to be listening to National Public Radio on April 1st, you may have heard a segment about a new breastfeeding study (http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=89271759&m=89271722). It's about 3 minutes long so you can listen for yourselves. The study, being reviewed by NPR's pediatrician, ultimately discounts some benefits of breastfeeding, such as bonding and increased cognitive acuity. It does support some benefits such as gastrointestinal protection. I haven't looked at the actual study, which is still ongoing. But what ultimately alarmed me is not the study findings, so much as the physician response to it. His final words were that he had always assumed the humans knew how to make the best milk for their babies, over cows and soy plants, but now he's not so sure??? Is he kidding? It takes one unfinished study (from Belarus, no less, a country whose child health has been so compromised by nuclear fallout that they send their kids to the US to be exposed to clean air, clean water, and healthy food not grown in contaminated fields!http://www.projectrestoration.org/) to make him question whether or not humans make better milk for humans than cows do? I hope his views do not represent typical pediatrician thinking. I was very heartened recently by the presence of so many pediatricians at the US Breastfeeding Committee conference in January, in Washington DC, though here in the midwest I have not found very robust support from that quarter.

3 comments:

KBH said...

That's so incredibly maddening... Makes me dissappointed in NPR. Of all the discussions/studies there are about breastmilk vs. formula, perhaps the most disturbing thing to me is how the results are worded. Even studies that prove 'breast is best' fail to realize that breastmilk does NOT actually increase any functioning whether cognitive or physical. The fact is that choosing NOT to breastfeed actually DECREASES functioning. I think that our society needs to start rewording things to reflect the true normallity of breastfeeding by using phrases like 'formula feeding decreases cognitive functioning and bonding between baby and mother' AND 'formula increases the risk of allergies and sickness in the baby and causes increased risk of cancers of the uterus and breast in the mother.' While these statements sound alarming... THEY ARE THE TRUTH and may help in realizing that formula is not the biological norm but the societal norm.... AND at the cost of our children's (future population's) health.

Laborpayne said...

kbd,
You are so right. We have to normalize breastfeeding. I heard Diane Weininger speak on this for her presentation 'the language of breastfeeding' We do oversell breastfeedings attributes. Those formula folks should be the ones doing all the singing and dancing trying to convince folks to buy their substitute product.

Anonymous said...

Wow...I didn't realize the study was not done in America...

What I did read is that the study did not compare breastfeeding to formula feeding...but rather moms who breastfed with assistance from LC's and other support to encourage them to keep breastfeeding compared with moms who breastfed and did not get this support.

Jenn
www.knittedinthewomb.blogspot.com