Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Making Elemental Day-1 Nutrition Choices

"Women are often deeply and profoundly destroyed by the realization that they're not succeeding at this fundamental criteria of being an even halfway decent parent."
"Women are given the impression that feeding babies formula is playing fast and loose with their health. The question of choice, which is central to so many women's issues, most notably abortion, is almost totally absent from discussions about infant-feeding practices."
"The most draconian criteria of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is the one where a baby can't be given anything other than human milk except where medically indicated. I don't know how hospitals determine what counts as 'medically indicated', but it could be open to interpretation and a baby failing to latch, that for sure doesn't count."
University of Toronto professor Courtney Jung

"It's essentially saying it's OK to formula-feed -- and the message I want to get across is not that it's not OK to formula feed -- but the truth is if you're a baby-friendly hospital, the message you want to send is that breastfeeding is the best thing you can do for your child. By supplying formula at market price, the incentive to push breast milk is a lot higher."
"There's a lot of evidence that breastfeeding improves infant health. Some studies show it decreases the rate of infection-related hospitalization by up to 30 percent for every additional month of breastfeeding. When you're in a publicly funded hospital system, that's huge."
Dr. Catherine Pound, clinical investigator, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa

"There are some women who have more difficulty and we don't really understand why. It's not a slam-dunk for all women and there are some who just don't want to, either because it's uncomfortable or they have to go back to work right away. There are all kinds of reasons."
"While there's no evidence of any health benefits of formula, there are certain proven benefits to breastfeeding, and probably things for which breastfeeding has a protective effect that haven't been discovered yet."
Dr. Michael Kramer, professor of pediatrics and epidemiology and biostatistics, McGill University, Montreal
Woman Breastfeeding
Thayer Allyson Gowdy

Breastfeeding newborns has become sacred. At one time in human history there were no alternatives; a woman gave birth to a baby and the natural corollary to that was to feed the baby just as all warm-blooded animals that nature has created do, to sustain life. It is natural, a part of the life-process. My mother and I, though worlds apart; she a European, I a North American, both gave birth at age 24, and both of us breast-fed.

My mother did so for reasons that likely reflected the fact that it was done in her cultural background and she had witnessed it innumerable times through that culture's exposure. I did so, because I entertained no thoughts to do otherwise; it was the same kind of natural function as bearing a baby and delivering it represented, a continuum of new life and sustenance; one incomplete without the other. I was completely disinterested in hearing from anyone how awful childbirth was, and just as disinterested in hearing anything about caring for my baby.

I knew I would adapt, and I did. At the time I gave birth to the first of my three children no one gave me advice about breast-feeding, not even my mother, and nor was there any public or special-group programs meant to guide new mothers toward breast-feeding. In fact, breast-feeding had become an anomaly, with bottle-feeding having assumed wild popularity, taking the place of the natural version entirely. The introduction of formula feeding, giving babies bottles instead of the breast had become institutionalized.

When I asked nurses at the hospital about it, they were bemused and unable to give me any information. They actually had little idea on how to proceed with breastfeeding.  On the other hand, I took it for granted that since it was a natural process I would experience no problems relating to breast feeding, and I never did. My daughter who 35 years later had her own child, and at a time when breast-feeding was making a spectacular come-back, did experience problems and that completely took me by surprise; 'latching' was the culprit and her self-confidence plummeted.

Now, the social atmosphere in North America is to shun bottle-feeding in the concern that a newborn is entitled to a healthy start in life, and mother's milk provides that healthy head-start. Women now are proud of their choice to breast-feed and proclaim it from the rooftops -- celebrating that from their pulpits on social media, and women's magazines as a personal triumph. In the process subtly demonizing those who choose not to breast-feed.

A study undertaken in 2014 and published in the Journal of Maternal and Child Health, resulting from researchers following 14,000 women in England discovering that those women who planned to breastfeed but as matters transpired their plans went awry and they bottle-fed instead -- were 2-1/2 times more likely to develop postpartum depression than those who hadn't intended to breastfeed in the beginning. They may perhaps have suffered disappointment in their lack of resolve, and guilt ensued.

The World Health Organization and UNICEF launched an initiative in 1991 (the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative) to support breastfeeding. In all likelihood this was spurred by the fact that women in poor countries had succumbed to the belief that formula was superior to breast milk, because this is the way that formula-makers advertised their product. Because formula is expensive and breast milk is not, women living in poverty tended to water down the formula, with predictable results.

Research has suggested that breast-feeding reduces risk of food allergies, asthma, obesity and other chronic diseases; Type 2 diabetes, as an example. "Given the mixed -- and mostly negative -- evidence, it does more harm than good", stated Dr. Kramer. "While there's no evidence of any health benefits of formula, there are certain proven benefits to breastfeeding, and probably things for which breastfeeding has a protective effect that haven't been discovered yet."

Breast-feeding an infant is not, of course, all there is to raising children and nurturing them and providing first-rate care for their development. There is a myriad of other vitally important components in being a good mother to a vulnerably dependent little human. Breast-feeding is merely among the first. But there doesn't appear to be any compelling reason why the alternative, formula-feeding won't work to start a baby off in its first six months of life.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breast milk as the best nutrition for infants. Babies should be breastfed exclusively for the first six months, according to the AAP. After other foods have been introduced, the AAP encourages mothers to continue to breastfeed until baby is at least a year old, and as long after that as both mother and child are willing.
Breast milk is good for your baby in many ways:
Breastfeeding is good for moms, too. Women who breastfeed have a reduced risk of breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and ovarian cancer.

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