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moms may see stronger warnings on formula

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MOTHERS may see stronger official warnings on baby formula labels about the risks of not breastfeeding.

The nation's food watchdog is seeking feedback on whether "breast is best" messages should be changed to clearly spell out the health benefits of breast versus bottle.

But the Infant Nutrition Council fears more confronting statements will make mothers using formula feel anxious and "second rate".

Under current law, manufacturers point out that "Breast milk is best for babies. Before you decide to use this product, consult your doctor or health worker for advice".

Food Standards Australia New Zealand deputy CEO Melanie Fisher said some public health experts had suggested altering labels amid concern over poor breastfeeding rates.

"Some stakeholders have suggested that the breast is best warning statement be amended to a risk-based statement about the risks to infant health of not breastfeeding," a consultation paper notes.

"These stakeholders state that such a statement would reflect a body of evidence showing that compared to formula feeding, breastfeeding is associated with lower incidence of infection and some chronic diseases, and evidence for improved cognitive development in the breastfed infant."

FSANZ is calling for submissions ahead of a review of infant formula regulations next year.

The Australian Breastfeeding Association says that despite recommendations to breastfeed babies exclusively for six months, less than one in five children are solely breastfed by the time they are at that age.

Infant Nutrition Council chief executive officer Jan Carey said that while breastfeeding was the "ultimate form of nutrition" and a "magical substance", scientifically-based infant formulas were not dangerous.

"I certainly agree that mothers should be able to make an informed choice. It is also important that mothers are not made to feel anxious," Ms Carey said.

"It's unfair if mothers are made to feel second rate." Lack of support at home or in the workplace, concerns about not producing enough milk, and difficulty breastfeeding were key reasons for using formula.

Dr Jennifer James, a senior lecturer in nursing and midwifery at RMIT University, said breast milk provided immunity and childhood obesity protection, and improved brain, oral and eye development.

Infant formula was vulnerable to production errors and contamination if not properly prepared, she said.

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by on Sep. 29, 2012 at 8:03 PM
Replies (71-73):
by on Oct. 4, 2012 at 10:01 PM
2 moms liked this
If doctors actually received the proper training on breastfeeding and risks , then that might work, but unfortunately they don't. :/

Quoting mama-smurf:

That's what your doctors for when you're pregnant. They should make it so they tell them about risks...Not a can that can't answer questions.

Quoting Baby_Avas_Momma:

I absolutely agree that the risks should be listed. Wouldn't you want to know all the benefits and/or risks of something so you can make an informed choice?? Formula has it's place and thank goodness it exists for those who have no other options, but it's ranked #4 on the WHO's list for a reason, and not enough people are aware of that.

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by on Oct. 5, 2012 at 1:18 AM
Oh, about the doctor comments... my children are older now, but I still remember a lot about their pregnancies and infancy. I do not remember my ob/gyn doing much more than asking me how I wanted to feed the baby, and to let them know while in the hospital. I bf my 4 children out of determination, and a culture of bf babies in my church and social circles of other moms. I had the discharge doc tell me to supplement my 3rd baby until her weight picked back up. They brought the formula into the room! She was 6 lb 10 oz at birth, after a long labor that ended in a csec. Iv fluids, of course. She was down to 6 lb 4 oz, 3 days later.
I look younger than I am, and was only 25 at the time, so the doc was a bit taken aback when I declined the formula. My response was that I would get her home where I could nurse on demand, and I was sure she would plump right up just like her two older sisters had. You know what, she did!
Not all docs are educated and supportive of bf, and not all moms have the support they need to ebf. So, yes, in some cases, a stronger warning label may cause one to think twice. I am all for that.
And yes, I have/had friends that ff, or only bf for a short time, and we are still friends. No guilt involved. Each mom makes her own choices in life, ya know?
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by on Oct. 5, 2012 at 9:02 PM

So, Ms. Jan Carey, should the warnings then be removed from prescription medication so that the user doesn't "feel anxious" about the side effects?

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