Hot Topic (3/17): Is breast-feeding always best? There's some doubt...
I saw this posted on The Newcomers Club:
In certain overachieving circles, breast-feeding is no longer a choiceâitâs a no-exceptions requirement, the ultimate badge of responsible parenting. Yet the actual health benefits of breast-feeding are surprisingly thin, far thinner than most popular literature indicates. Is breast-feeding right for every family? Or is it this generationâs vacuum cleanerâan instrument of misery that mostly just keeps women down?
The lady that wrote this article was on The Today Show. The article is three pages long after reading the first page I kinda skimmed over the next two. It is very interesting. Here is the link if you would like to read it all. http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200904/case-against-breastfeeding
This is what she was saying on the show.
One day, while nursing my baby in my pediatricianâs office, I noticed a 2001 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association open to an article about breast-feeding: âConclusions: There are inconsistent associations among breastfeeding, its duration, and the risk of being overweight in young children.â Inconsistent? There I was, sitting half-naked in public for the tenth time that day, the hundredth time that month, the millionth time in my lifeâand the associations were inconsistent? The seed was planted. That night, I did what any sleep-deprived, slightly paranoid mother of a newborn would do. I called my doctor friend for her password to an online medical library, and then sat up and read dozens of studies examining breast-feedingâs association with allergies, obesity, leukemia, mother-infant bonding, intelligence, and all the Dr. Sears highlights.
After a couple of hours, the basic pattern became obvious: the medical literature looks nothing like the popular literature. It shows that breast-feeding is probably, maybe, a little better; but it is far from the stampede of evidence that Sears describes. More like tiny, unsure baby steps: two forward, two back, with much meandering and bumping into walls. A couple of studies will show fewer allergies, and then the next one will turn up no difference. Same with mother-infant bonding, IQ, leukemia, cholesterol, diabetes. Even where consensus is mounting, the meta studiesâreviews of existing studiesâconsistently complain about biases, missing evidence, and other major flaws in study design. âThe studies do not demonstrate a universal phenomenon, in which one method is superior to another in all instances,â concluded one of the first, and still one of the broadest, meta studies, in a 1984 issue of Pediatrics, âand they do not support making a mother feel that she is doing psychological harm to her child if she is unable or unwilling to breastfeed.â Twenty-five years later, the picture hasnât changed all that much. So how is it that every mother I know has become a breast-feeding fascist?
Do you think breast-feeding the right thing for every family?