Human Milk Is Best
Even In Affluent, Developed Countries
By: kieransmom on: Tue 22 of May, 2007 [18:30 UTC] (653 reads)
Breastfeeding is a personal decision, one that should be made with all the information that you can gather from modern research. It seems that every day another benefit of nursing is discovered. Nobody is shocked when they hear that breastfeeding can increase survival rates for babies in poverty-stricken areas of the world where purified water is unavailable to make infant formula. Ideal infant feeding is still in question in the prosperous areas of developed countries, as the debate on breastfeeding and formula feeding rages on.
Subscribe to Type-A Mom articles
- Human Milk for Human Infants
The leading contributor to infant mortality is poor water sanitation, and the fact that artificial infant feeding has been advertised worldwide causes a direct barrier to women breastfeeding their babies. The World Health Organization and Unicef actively promote breastfeeding in developing countries to combat infant mortality, to eradicate the myth that formula and breastmilk are equal. The WHO campaign is based on the idea that babies should be fed in the following order: 1) Mother's own milk, 2) when mother's milk is unavailable, then other human milk, 3) artificial feeding as the last resort. This concept encourages a family to find ways to feed human milk even when the baby's biological mother is not able to feed the baby. Because human milk has the perfect balance of proteins, iron, vitamins, lactose, amino acids, fats, antibodies, and hormones for human babies, then breastfeeding should be the norm. But still, it is difficult to convince a woman otherwise when she has been told that her own milk is inadequate and that her breastfed baby needs the benefits of formula.
- Breastfeeding Advantages Vs Standard of Infant Feeding
The language that we use to describe breastmilk as better than formula is commonly worded as its "advantages", like it's nice if you can manage to breastfeed your baby but if you can't you can always fall back on formula. However, if people start regarding those things that the general community regards as breastfeeding's advantages as rather the RISKS associated with formula feeding, then more people would view breastfeeding as the standard. The avoidance of otitis media, gastrointestinal disease, SIDS, respiratory infections, influenza, anemia, diabetes, cancers (in both mother and child), dental caries, and allergies has been attributed to breastfeeding as an advantage. But when people regard those illnesses as risks associated with formula feeding, breastfeeding is then regarded as the standard for infant nutrition.
- Research Indicates A Need For Education
Most mothers are not given adequate information from their physicians about the benefits of breastfeeding and are not informed of the risks of formula feeding, probably because physicians do not know these facts themselves. Since infant feeding methods directly correlate to maternal and child health issues in both short and long term, mothers have the right to gather information and the medical community has the responsibility to expand education about lactation. In a Fall 2006 Ethics and Medicine study by Stolzer and Hossain, on what women participants are experiencing in physician breastfeeding advice, 71% of the women were never informed that breastfeeding significantly reduces the risk of maternal ovarian cancer. 66% were never informed that breastfeeding for at least a total of two years can reduce their risk of breast cancer. Over half of the mothers participating were not informed that breastfeeding can act as a natural contraceptive.
- Breastfeeding Promotion In The USA
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Department of Health and Human Services have determined that the United States has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world. The United States government initiated its own Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign to spread awareness of breastfeeding as an important public health issue. The states that have the lowest breastfeeding rates also have the highest infant morbidity and mortality rates, namely, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The American Academy of Pediatrics promotes exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, and continued breastfeeding for the next year or two, as long as mutually desired by mother and child. La Leche League International keeps its leaders updated on all the research about lactation and breastfeeding; this makes La Leche League a great resource for all mothers in the sixty six countries where LLL has a presence.
You may find the Ethics and Medicine Research study at: