August 31, 2007

Bush Administration Sides With Big Formula On Breastfeeding

I've gotta get the kid out the door for pre-preschool [it started yesterday!], so I haven't even had a chance to read this story on the front page of the Washington Post yet, much less think of an outraged, pretend-surprised response.

Suffice it to say, Daddy Types believes the Breast-Feeding Movement could benefit greatly from a high-profile spokesmodel. Hmm. Maybe "high" isn't quite the word I'm looking for...

umas_bosomas.jpg

HHS Toned Down Breast-Feeding Ads: Formula Industry Urged Softer Campaign [washpost]

UPDATE: OK, I'm back, did I miss anything? [yeah, everything before Kaz's obligatory Uma comment, actually].

So the risk-focused ad campaign got toned down and tossed. Actually, when the NYT wrote about this same campaign last summer, it kind of pissed me off as inflammatory lactifascism, and that was with just the bullriding machine ad, especially when it comes from a government that does less than nothing to make it easier for women to breastfeed.

Without addressing the underlying reasons women don't or don't keep bf, an ad campaign is ridiculous window-dressing, and barely more than a distraction. The amount of money spent is so miniscule, it's not even mentioned, only the $30 million of donated ad time.

What I actually meant about pretend-surprise is not just the way the formula companies lobbied to change the campaign--no one lobbies like the pharmaceuticals:

Gina Ciagne, the office's public affairs specialist for the campaign, said, "We were ready to go with our risk-based campaign -- making breast-feeding a real public health issue -- when the formula companies learned about it and came in to complain. Before long, we were told we had to water things down, get rid of the hard-hitting ads and generally make sure we didn't somehow offend."

Ciagne and others involved in the campaign said the pushback coincided with a high-level lobbying campaign by formula makers, which are mostly divisions of large pharmaceutical companies that are among the most generous campaign donors in the nation.

The campaign the industry mounted was a Washington classic -- a full-court press to reach top political appointees at HHS, using influential former government officials, now working for the industry, to act as go-betweens. [emphasis added]

It's the degree to which those HHS politicos accommodated industry and silenced the agency's own scientifically validated claims and priorities. The insulin needle is a canard; the real sin here was squelching education about risk-related research findings.

But even beyond that is an incident which barely got mentioned in the post: HHS appointees suppressed other pro-breastfeeding studies the agency had commissioned:

But other current and former HHS officials say the muting of the ads was not the only episode in which HHS missed a chance to try to raise the breast-feeding rate. In April, according to officials and documents, the department chose not to promote a comprehensive analysis by its own Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) of multiple studies on breast-feeding, which generally found it was associated with fewer ear and gastrointestinal infections, as well as lower rates of diabetes, leukemia, obesity, asthma and sudden infant death syndrome.

The report did not assert a direct cause and effect, because doing so would require studies in which some women are told not to breast-feed their infants -- a request considered unethical, given the obvious health benefits of the practice.

A top HHS official said that at the time, Suzanne Haynes, an epidemiologist and senior science adviser for the department's Office on Women's Health, argued strongly in favor of promoting the new conclusions in the media and among medical professionals. But her office, which commissioned the report, was specifically instructed by political appointees not to disseminate a news release.

Another appointee, a former pharma lobbyist, also canceled a $600,000 bf community outreach program. Not many details on that, either, but I would say that there's ample evidence that this administration ignores or manipulates science and acts in the benefit of lobbyists and corporations over individual citizens. They would, in turn, no doubt argue that the data is murky and does not show a causal connection.

39 Comments

You're outraged that HHS isn't going to run ads equating formula feeding with giving children syringes? Some of us have to supplement with formula, and to equate that with endangering our children is beyond the pale. Regardless of why HHS changed the ads, they needed to be changed.

[actually, the reason HHS changed the ad is the entire problem for me. -ed.]

According to the article, the ads did not equate formula feeding with giving children syringes. They made the point, as part of a public health campaign, that breastfeeding is -- across large populations, not in every individual case -- scientifically proven to be associated with lower rates of diabetes, a disease that may require its sufferers to undergo insulin injections. Regardless of one's views on the merits of such a campaign, it's hard to see why the money-driven interests behind formula companies should be allowed to influence the way the campaign is run. One might even call it outrageous!

I was angry at this decision until I saw the original ads. Visually, they were basically saying that if you give your baby formula, he'll get asthma.

Reluctantly, I can see where the Nestles of the world were coming from here.

Those government sponsored ad campaigns would only make sense if nursing mothers would be accommodated more in our society.

If the mom has to go back to work after a few weeks because the family cannot afford her to stay away from work for longer (or her employer does not allow it) what is she supposed to do? Pump? Sure, that usually means hanging around in a bathroom stall.

If our government is really serious about getting the babies back to the breast we need paid maternity leave, laws that make sure that employers provide private accommodations for pumping moms, etc. etc. Until then those ads indeed only instill guilt.

Okay, did everyone go look at the final ad? Everyone should go look at the final ad, and they should do it quick before John Ashcroft comes out of retirement to throw a curtain over it.

The ads need to be changed so people who use formula don't feel bad? Cry me a frickin' river... get over yourself. The public is vastly uneducated about the benefits of breastfeeding and the very real dangers of formula feeding. Instead of whining about an ad that does a great job of getting those facts across you should be out there lobbying for the government to increase the amount of human milk banks in the country so that one day parents won't have to agonize over supplementing with formula... there should be human milk banks in every city for the health of our children.

Get over yourself? Wow. You are the best.

What dangers of formula are you talking about? Stop demonizing something that is there for those who cannot breastfeed. Get over yourself!

I wonder how many of these people who do not see an issue with the original ads also complain when PETA uses their shock tactics to show that eating meat also increases your risk of health issues?

(of course, on that statement alone, I am not really sure where I fall on this issue)

Kelly, yes because obviously the only way there could be more human milk banks is if the federal government establishes them. The feds should supply free sunscreen for the health our children too, I suppose. And once they establish those milk banks and sunscreen stations should they then go out and arrest all of us evil formula feeders for endangering our rosy-cheeked children? Get over yourself and cry your own river.

I guess it's your perspective. There are no "dangers" per se from formula. However, there are numerous benefits from breastfeeding:

http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/tp/brfouttp.htm

"We found that a history of breastfeeding was associated with a reduction in the risk of acute otitis media, non-specific gastroenteritis, severe lower respiratory tract infections, atopic dermatitis, asthma (young children), obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and necrotizing enterocolitis. There was no relationship between breastfeeding in term infants and cognitive performance."

Remember, the government is doing a cost analysis here. If they can get more poor women whose children are covered by medicaid breastfeeding, then they know statistically they are going to lower hospital visits for all the problems shown above. From their view it makes good sense to try to scare mothers into breastfeeding. They're being good stewards of taxpayer money. Whether it's tasteful is another matter.

Actually, confused, personally, I'm not put off by the PETA ads but if someone was it might be understandable. Humans are omnivores and that makes eating meat "natural", whereas the formula industry is doing its best to keep children from feeding in the most "natural" fashion and doing so solely for the sake of profit.

In a way it puts Nestle and PETA on the same side of the fence; attempting to prevent what's "natural".

For those women that can't for some medical reason breastfeed I can understand how the ads might make them feel bad. And, of course, they shouldn't, anymore than a father who is wheelchairbound should feel bad about being unable to run with his children. But the ads are not aimed at those mothers. The ads are aimed at those mothers for whom the choice remains unimpeded by medical difficulties. If they feel bad for choosing formula, well, that's the point. I am certain there are plenty of smoking moms and dads who feel just terrible every time they see an anti-smoking ad aimed puffing parents.

So now formula = syringes, and formula = smoking.

no, formula = paraplegia ;)

and... breastfeeding = Uma ?

Shawn, you're right in pointing out the unfairness of equating smoking and formula. Smoking actually does harm and formula feeding does not. I apologize.
A more adequate equation would be...

formula = seeing someone hit by a car but not calling 911.

In both cases, though you have done no harm, you have failed to do all you can to help.

Actually, wouldn't it be like seeing someone standing on a wobbly ladder and not calling 911? I mean, feeding your baby formula won't give your baby all these problems, but will give them a higher risk than non-formula fed babies. Just as seeing someone on a wobbly ladder doesn't mean they are going to fall, just that they might fall.

I'm calling 911 next time I see someone on a wobbly ladder...

wow, this reminds me of the old days at blogging baby.

personally, I feel even allowing infants to be within five feet of a bottle of formula is worse than injecting them full of high-grade black tar heroin.

[personally, I love it when you work local Detroit flavor into your analogies like that. -ed.]

I read the article and all the comments. I think the scary thing is to see that pharmaceutical companies have that much power.They should not be allowed to prevent a campaign which is supposed to be informative about the benefits of breastfeeding. Although I think the new campaign was beautiful. I have to agree with the statement about women "forced" back to work while breastfeeding should be the only thing a baby gets. In Norway the breastfeeding percentage is much higher, butt I think it has a lot to do with us having paid maternity leave for almost a year. Pumping milk several times a day is not an option for longer periods of time!

Hmm, if you see a post title starting with "More To Come," more came.

The updated version of this post is now titled Bush administration sides with Big Formula on breastfeeding.

thanks for checking it out and sharing your perspective.

Greg, I was wondering where you were :)
I started all this analogy business and it has gotten out of hand (entirely my fault). So let me just follow up that if you see someone on a wobbly ladder, Huh, please do not call 911, but instead just hold the ladder.
If, however, you see someone put an infant on a wobbly ladder at the very least, please do call 911.

Simply put, breastfeeding is better than formula for the child's health. Some mothers are unable to nurse for reasons entirely out of their control. Plenty of others choose not to nurse. Frequently they make that choice without all the facts or have been misled, believing there is no difference. Anything that corrects that miseducation and thus encourages breastfeeding should not be "cut off at the pass" by vested politicos or corporate lobbyists.

[The American Laddermakers Association applauds you for snapping out of your guilt-tripping stupor. -ed.]

Without trying to vilify the people who have to use formula, (we lucked out and got to see a breastfeeding specialist right away when our daughter refused to feed properly in her first week of life, but our pediatrician was ready to put her on formula if that didn't work) if you *can* breastfeed the benefits are obvious.

I think what the government should be trying to do more than anything is make it easier for women who are physically able to breastfeed their children... providing better parental and maternity leave benefits would be one great way to make a difference. In Canada women can take up to 50 weeks paid leave now, I believe; basically the government here pays them out of (un)employment insurance, and our breastfeeding stats are ahead of the US stats, last time I checked. (I'm sure our health care system in general has something to do with that as well, though.)

I don't know how much that would help people living below the poverty line, mind you, as I doubt the types of employers mothers in that income level work for are going to follow the rules or make their jobs available when they come back from leave regardless of if the government pays for the leave or not, but it would at least encourage more women on the fence to take a little more time off, I'd think.

[the WP links to the Formula lobbyists' letters, both of which mention the devastating confusion and fear that would befall the mothers who receive formula from the USDA-sponsored WIC program. The formulamakers call it "the most successful nutrition program ever sponsored by our government." But not, I'm sure, because it's the one that buys the most formula. -ed.]

Yikes... when you benchmark a program against your own past (lack of) success it's not hard to say it's the best ever.

Man, I'm sure if they can spare a few bucks to bail out the hardest hit subprime mortgage folks they could at least take care of poor people's medical needs and pay for better mat. leave and... what, oh, invade Iran, you say? Ouch.

it seems like the issue here is not formula v. v. wobbly ladders but the deep reach of pharmaceutical companies into the lives of our children. formula, vaccines, etc. We can all sympathize with health problems/work lives that prevent breastfeeding, I think, but not with corporations being the ones who are effectively allowed to interpret science.
Some of the ads were stupid, no surprise. But anything that attempts to balance the perspective the formula is the norm - and that it should be - with some statements as to the benefits of breastfeeding seems like a good idea. Obviously a lot of people don't know. Didn't NYC just recently stop giving formula as part of the hospital package? And if you think formula-feeders are being vilified, rest assured that breastfeeders get a mountain of dirty looks on a regular basis, there is plenty of discomfort to go around. see some of the wonderful coments to this thread on curbed:

perhaps the dramatic nature of the ads is needed to bring public opinion back to a resonable level of acceptance.

naturalfamilyonline.com

nih abstract

nutraingredients.com

What Dangers of Formula? I'd like to say a few choice words about lazy parents who don't bother researching or sheeple who just believe the hype but ... aw hell, I just did. Anyway, if you really care to educate yourself, Google infant deaths and formula. If you don't, hey! Its your kid.

For those who really care to try, it is fairly easy to find donor milk, but then there are some safety concerns... but milk banks take that risk out of the picture. If you really care about childrens health advocate for more milk banks any way that you can.

[thanks for the links, which are actually informative, and thanks for exactly the kind of withering condescension that turns so many otherwise open-minded people off to an important and unresolved topic. Unless they were raised in the woods or the back of a hippie van, chances are parents in the US right now were fed formula as babies. Considering formula to be at least safe, in the current medical/cultural environment hardly qualifies someone as either "lazy" or "sheeple". You may ahve to choose between rallying people around a probably-worthy cause like milk banks or just pissing them off, -ed.]

I am the same Gina Ciagne that is in the article--formerly of the HHS Office on Women's Health. The arguments on here are all the same and they stem from the fact that it pains people to actually step back, see the scientifically proven benefits of breastfeeding/risks of formula feeding and realize that it is up to every woman to make the best decision for herself and her baby.

A point that did not make it into the article is that we did 36 focus groups before the campaign started with the concept of risk based advertisements and overwhelmingly but especially with the formula feeding moms, they said that though they may have stuck with their decision to formula feed, that they wished they had known this information before so they could have made a truly educated decision. they wondered why the government, aware of this information, would not have told them sooner.

I think it is a moot point to judge but what I think is very important is that a woman be given all the facts, the good, bad, the ugly about both breastfeeding and formula and for her to be able to make a truly educated decision. the playing field is not level now with the abundance of misinformation out there and serious lack of support for breastfeeding moms.

i was one of them with my two children. Does that make me a martyr, no but I was privy to so much information, so much support--luxuries not afforded to many in this country and it is for the reasons touted in the article among others.

Again, because I chose breastfeeding and someone else did not, far be it from me to judge them on that choice or any other. But, it does not make sense to me to decry the people out there trying to emphasize the benefits of breastfeeding and the risks involved with formula feeding.

The argument that " I was formula fed and I am fine" is a weak one. The stories about recalled formula because of missing ingredients or an overabundance of a certain other ingredient rarely if ever make it to the news but it is a real issue. As far as ignoring the facts, a woman decades ago may have smoked or drank when she was pregnant which was considered ok back then. We know now that it is not. So, does that mean that we don't change behavior as our education and knowledge evolves? I hope not or we can all just pack it in and close ourselves off to learning and growing as a society.

Anyway, thanks for including this story on your website. Thoughtful, engaging discussion is how we can express ourselves and perhaps even affect change.

[wow, thanks Gina, for chiming in with what feels to me like very well-considered perspective. I think you hit the nail on the head for me with getting the information out there, good and bad, benefits and risks, and letting moms and parents decide. Besides the suppression of much of the risk-related info, the patronizing implications of the whole "guilt trip" and "don't confuse the WIC moms" arguments put forth by the formula lobbyist really got me mad. If there's a problem with incomplete information, the solution isn't less information; it's more, coupled with support for making sense of it. As you can see from the comments, this is a perpetually sensitive and important topic among parents. thanks again for some very useful insights. -ed.]

I apologize. I forget that other people don't even know there is an issue to be researched and get a little steamed up when they don't... but obviously until they know there is something wrong they will never have a reason to scratch below the surface.

When I think about it logically, I know that almost EVERY parent wants the best and safest for their child... so take it that I was typing in the heat of the moment and please just take the time to really look into things... everything from the formula to the bottles has hidden, unadvertised, often unspoken dangers.

i don't know if i find that informative, or a scare tactic.

even though they share info, really they do it in a very negative way.

and for those of us who couldn't breastfeed (i couldn't w/ my first) we realize how much damage that those ads could do to us. And truthfully i believe that it is up to you how you decide to feed your child, we do what is best for our families. Raising children is hard enough without others who "think" they know better telling us how to do it.

i think there is a better way to educate people so they can make the best decision for their family.

by the way just in case your wondering

i nursed my first for 2 weeks (he didn't gain wt)then pumped and supplemented for 6 weeks.

i breastfeed my second exclusively for 11mths. i pumped at work and nursed when i was at home. stopped pumping at 11mnths and suplemented with formula when my freezer supply disipated, and still nursed when i was home. I nursed until my second was 15mths old.

i'm not sure if those adds would have helped me with my first. although maybe some nice ads encouraging me to continue or even giving me options such as pumping long term(which i didn't think you could do) would have been more beneficial. and how about support to help moms who have problems nursing. just scaring us or guilting us into nursing really doesn't help, when you are having problems.

Well now, what they could do is put a photo of a formula container next to a photo of George Bush with the caption "Hazardous to the well-being of our nation's children" -- that's an add I could go for.

Otherwise, how seriously tired am I of watching grown adults argue over the breast vs. formula issue. Sadly for many people it's not even a choice to formula feed. People need to worry about their own child and leave other parents alone.

[people, yes, but I wish the government would worry more about people and less about formula oligopolists. -ed.]

I am all for promoting the benefits of breastfeeding. I just get a little turned off by people who use the tactic of trying to scare people off by saying that feeding your kid formula is going to cause them to turn into some grotesque monster.

But, the Bush administration is all about scare tactics (the terrorist are coming! condoms don't work!)...

Here's an idea, make formula available only by prescription. Before all you formula lovers get too pissed, do a little research. My son had to be on formula, at one point in his life, and I have seen the damage it can cause first-hand. Here's another idea: stop making breasts the over-sexualized objects that they are.

[make no small plans, I guess. btw, I have to ask, do you post to your own dad's blog with this username? -ed.]

I came back this morning for a reread of some of the comments and was pleased to see Ms. Ciagne had chimed in.

But as I looked back over these comments something struck me and as I thought about it I realized what it was.

Tim wrote:

"I guess it's your perspective. There are no "dangers" per se from formula. However, there are numerous benefits from breastfeeding:

http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/tp/brfouttp.htm

'We found that a history of breastfeeding was associated with a reduction in the risk of acute otitis media, non-specific gastroenteritis, severe lower respiratory tract infections, atopic dermatitis, asthma (young children), obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and necrotizing enterocolitis. There was no relationship between breastfeeding in term infants and cognitive performance.'"


The key to the .gov quote is, "We found that a history of breastfeeding was associated with a reduction in the risk..." The question is, a reduction of risk from what standard? If you go to the HHS website listed you find that the standard used was formula-feeding. That was the control. So, HHS sees formula as the norm. Now if the same study had instead used breastfeeding as the norm one can assume that the above sentence would have read,

"We found that a history of formula-feeding was associated with an increase in the risk of acute otitis media, non-specific gastroenteritis, severe lower respiratory tract infections, atopic dermatitis, asthma (young children), obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and necrotizing enterocolitis. There was no relationship between formula-feeding in term infants and cognitive performance."

It is obvious that if breastfeeding decreases the risk relative to formula, formula increases the risk relative to breastfeeding.

I don't point this out to guilt anyone, but just to point out that HHS fudges the presentation.

[very interesting catch. -ed.]

I also babysit a two-year old who was breast-fed until he was over 1 year and has had at least 12 ear infections, numberous colds/bugs and allergies, went from being in the 50th to over the charts percentile in weight and runs the gamet on sensory issues.

When compared to my four year old godson who's mom was unable to breast feed who has had one ear infection in his entire life that didn't require antibiotics, hasn't had more than a simple cold is average in height and weight and is developing phenomenally...

I think it needs to also be said that breastmilk does simply lessen the risk... it does not prevent all those things nor does formula feeding cause them. The problem that I have is with breastfeeding mothers (and I plan to be one myself) acting like non-breastfeeding mothers are slowly killing their children.

Especially when chances are by the time the little darling is three every single one us will be feeding them hotdogs, mcd's and other nasty unhealthy garbage.

Rachel,
Your story is a good angle on all this, but it is anecdotal.

My son was born 4 weeks premature and immediately contracted a Staph based pneumonia (my wife had been GBS positive). Three hours after his birth we were being told not to expect him to make it thgough the night. The next morning, against the nurses' recommendations that he be given formula, my wife pumped what she could and it was delivered via gastic lavage. She continued to do so until he was removed from the NICU and placed in her room after five days (we were told to expect him to remain in the NICU for two weeks). She nursed him from then on. The two neonatologists were both convinced that the breastmilk was, at the very least, in part responsible for his quick recovery and perhaps his very life. That is anecdotal, as well.

Non-anecdotal studies have shown the benefits of breastmilk and that is what is convincing.

I applaud the fact that when you have children you intend to breastfeed. But please don't imagine that it is pointless because, "...every single one us will be feeding them hotdogs, mcd's and other nasty unhealthy garbage."

As I write this my wife and I are cooking organic, fresh fruits and vegetables from this morning's visit to the farmer's market to be pureed into baby food for our six month old daughter as she begins her start toward solid food. Our now two and half year old son doesn't eat "crap" either. He likes a good french fry as much as the next kid but he sees them as a rare treat. The vast majority of his (and all of our) meals are prepared at home from scratch. We are more fortunate than a lot of others as we can be supported entirely by my wife's income and I am thus able to produce the home meals. But even if we weren't we would prep meals on the weekends for the following week to maintain a healthy diet as we did when she and I both worked. What any parent feeds their children is their business (assuming it isn't arsenic), but please don't assume it's a foregone conclusion that fast-food, industrial-based crap is the natural order of things, because it doesn't have to be.

[make no small plans, I guess. btw, I have to ask, do you post to your own dad's blog with this username? -ed.]

Formula was originally availble only by Rx until the formula companies realised what a jackpot this could be, and coerced the FDA like happens repeately again and again. My dad doesn't blog.

[do you have a citation for that prescription claim? Because the only mention of physician-only distribution in the rather bf-biased wikipedia entry is about a 1912 Mead Johnson milk additive called Dextri-Maltose, which pre-dates the FDA act by 25 years. The Journal of Nutrition's 20th c. history of infant feeding also makes no mention of prescription, but it does talk about the emergence of commercial formula in the 1940's and 1950's, where it quickly replaced hospitals' own evaporated milk formula production operations. Evaporated milk formula and homemade %-based formulas were the two most popular options. So while the FDA may cave left and right, I don't see that yet w/r/t formula. -ed.]

I think I have made my position clear on this issue but I can't really get behind Rx only formula. The idea of making any source of nutrition prescription only is a mildy discomforting one and opens a can of worms that, regardless of the formula companies motives, could lead to more serious consequences.

[it's a non-starter, frankly, and in studying the evolution of the formula industry the last 24-hrs, I don't think it's ever been the case that it was Rx-only. Except if you count WIC which, by giving formula away free, all but locks in almost half the kids born in the US each year and accounts for half the formula consumed. That's gotta put a cap on the effectiveness of any BF campaign, too. -ed.]

The Post article was a depressing read, but what's even more depressing is reading the debate here that it spawned. Frankly, I'm outraged at the whole corporate machine dictating what legitimate information I will see and how it gets presented, but it seems the debate has degenerated into formula feeding vs, breastfeeding Anyway, were the ads really meant for Daddytypes-type readers? Are we the target audience? Seems like most Daddytypes readers have the good fortune and luxury to educate themselves on the subject and make a choice. Thought the ads were aimed at those who could not do this.

Moreover, do you ever wonder if women in the developing world have as many problems getting their babies to breastfeed? I often wonder if they have the amount of latch /improper positioning/ low supply issues as Western women, or if lack of an alternative means you are forced to overcome those issues pretty quickly.

ganapti wrote: I often wonder if they have the amount of latch /improper positioning/ low supply issues as Western women, or if lack of an alternative means you are forced to overcome those issues pretty quickly.


One thing to remember is that the lack of formula means women in those cultures have breastfed for consecutive generations. Most young mothers in developing nations have their own mothers, older sisters, aunts and grandmothers to help them learn how to correctly position a baby and how to achieve a good latch. In western cultures, those of us who are currently of child bearing age, were likely bottle fed, as were our parents. I pumped for our daughter for almost 4mos, until we finally found a good lactation consultant who was able to get her on. My mother is an RN with over 30 yrs experience, but having never breastfed, she was at a loss trying to solve our nursing problems.

All the free formula diaper bag crap I got in the hospital this time was full of breastfeeding info. The formula samples were labeled for supplementing. I don't remember that from my daughter's birth in 2004.

She nursed past her second birthday and has only had a fever twice thus far, btw.

ach, can't believe i'm getting sucked [sic] into this AGAIN...but: i did a lot of research (looking at actual studies rather than media reports about what studies said, and talking to actual experts in various fields of infant and child health rather than people working for the government or foaming at the mouth about lazy black-tar-heroin-equiv [thanks dutch!] mothers, for a story that ended up in Babble. i am pro-boob, nursed my kids...but i agree with the folks here who posted that blaming mothers for not breastfeeding when they have to work and the workplace/our culture in general isn't pump-friendly, well, sucks. and as the actual studies say, breastfeeding is ASSOCIATED or CORRELATED with all kinds of good outcomes, but it's very hard to tease apart whether breastfeeding CAUSES those outcomes. american women who breastfeed also tend to be better educated, whiter and wealthier than american non-nursing moms-- and being better educated, whiter and wealthier in america, guess what, is correlated with better education and better healthcare. the level of judgment and superior snottitude in this thread is really something. mmmm, black tar heroin tastes like chicken.

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