My thoughts on: "New Study Shows Breastfeeding Benefits Are Exaggerated"
Wait.. what? Am I not a crunchy, healthy-nut, all-things-natural blogger?
Yes. I am.
Why am I posting about an article that negates the benefits of breastfeeding?
There is an article circulating on Facebook about a study by sociologists that claims that breastfeeding is only marginally more beneficial than bottle feeding. In fact, it says it shows that breastfed babies are much more likely to have asthma.
I fully support breastfeeding and in the article itself, it says that breastfeeding is beneficial.
So, I am not posting this because I agree with the results of the study. I am posting this because the article raises a good point about something else...
While I think the results of the study are inaccurate, I do appreciate that the message of the article is not for women to stop breastfeeding their babies, it's for the government to start providing more support and services for new moms. Better support and services will result in better outcomes for both mothers and children.
This encompasses many more areas than just what a child is fed, and specifically whether or not a child is breastfed. Being a "real foodie" myself, I believe in the importance of breastfeeding and avoiding processed foods. I think the lack of proper nutrition in our culture is one of the most overlooked health concerns in North America.
But if we think we will completely eradicate childhood illnesses, behaviour issues, mental health issues, etc. just by breastfeeding, then we're kidding ourselves.
The article states:
"But if we really want to improve maternal and child health in this country, let’s also focus on things that can really do that in the long term — like subsidized day care, better maternity leave policies and more employment opportunities for low-income mothers that pay a living wage, for example." [emphasis mine]
I agree, we need better support for mothers and babies. We really need better support for mothers who cannot breastfeed for any number of reasons.
But let's not let the pendulum swing so far in the opposite direction that we start minimizing the benefits of breastfeeding.
The Paleo Mama wrote a great post today in defense of breastfeeding (and specifically the article) and lists 13 studies that show the great benefits of breastfeeding. You should read it!
Could we all agree that breast is best but moms who cannot or choose not to breastfeed should feel no judgement and no guilt?
So instead of discussing breast vs bottle, my question for you is:
What support or services do you wish were available to moms and kids?
*Please remember to keep comments respectful and on topic*