Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I know it's not new, but I just saw this study that actually addresses the complicated issue of mortality of USA infants due to failure to breastfeed/formula. In light of the ongoing crisis of poisoned (yes, poisoned-- they used melamine, a plastic by-product, purposefully to boost protein content, with complete disregard for how this would sicken and kill babies) artificial baby milk from China, I think it's good to remember that the issue of formula causing infants' deaths is not just a "third world" issue. Yes, the marketing of formula to mothers in countries where it practically guarantees a large amount of deaths and sickness is abhorrent, but let's not get all first-world righteous and say it doesn't matter here in the good old USA. Formula can kill. It can kill babies here in the USA. There are complicating factors, but it comes down to this: if they had been breastfed, some babies who died would have lived. And let's not forget about the enormous increase in risk of cancer, asthma, lowered IQ, obesity, digestive issues, etc etc etc that come with formula every day, here, too.

I think formula has a vital role in the world. Some mothers truly can't support their babies with breast alone (something like 1-3%, not the huge numbers who seem to have issues, probably thanks to formula companies' bad advice, doctors and hospitals pushing formula to get money from those companies, totally ignorant peds and society as a whole, not to mention utterly unsupportive social programs--where's our maternity leave? Every other nation--and not just "first-world" nations-- except like five--"third world" nations-- have it!). Some babies have rare digestive/allergy issues. And thank goodness for formula then. But there is a huge distortion of the facts out there, a gross misrepresentation of the risks of deviating from the (biological) norm. And I think it's time to stop focusing on making money off of babies' increased illnesses and start helping all moms be truly informed, and get us the social support that practically every other country has in place (hello, Canada-- a year's maternity leave?!)

720. Did anyone tell their parents ahead of time of the risks? Does anyone care that our society makes it seriously too hard for most moms to do the simply thing of feeding their babies what they are designed by God and nature to eat?

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