28 Jan 2015

Evidence does not change beliefs.

60 Comments

I have just left an intense discussion on a website hosted by a well-educated healthcare professional who is rabidly against the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, breastfeeding, midwives, and home birth. I was drawn into this discussion by this site’s response to a new industry advertising video whose theme is about the “Mommy wars”, generating a good feeling at the end linking with the name of the brand. The site published an essay stating that lactivists are profiting from the guilt that mothers feel who do not breastfeed. The discussion was among those who feel that breastfeeding is being pushed down their throats, who feel that there is no difference between human milk and industrial milk, and who are angry that they are being shamed and bullied.

There are those that react to evidence with fury, feeling that it is a manipulation, designed to induce guilt.

The rules of logic do not exist on this site. I was challenged to look at someone’s children and pick out the ones that were breastfed and the ones that weren’t. When I replied that was impossible, my answer was mocked. All the great studies I cited were mocked. All the professional organizations’ recommendations were mocked. The only study that was acceptable to them was a poorly done one that supported their beliefs.

I enjoy a periodic dip in these turbulent waters, I am reminded that no matter how reasoned the discourse, no matter how powerful the evidence, no matter how accepting and supportive my responses are to those whose experience and beliefs are different, no matter what I offer, some people will not change their beliefs one iota. They will not open themselves to any other possibility but the one that they know to be true, regardless of the evidence.  Fascinating.

As artificial feeding with industrial milk has been the norm in this country for at least 4 generations, and as hospitals have made no provision for breastfeeding ever, many people (healthcare professionals included) believe that there is no value in breastfeeding. The reason is that is what they have been taught, from their healthcare providers and their families and their society. Artificial has become safe and comforting to the women who were, as children, given baby dolls that came with bottles, and who were taught from the beginning that bottles are how babies are fed.

Breastfeeding is trying to work its way into the healthcare system. This effort calls for big change. With big change comes big resistance.

I’ve been working my whole career in this arena, and welcome the views from the other side. I am challenged to reach all people; it is more important to me that mothers love their babies and take good care of them than how they feed them, and I do want all babies to be breastfed. I am curious about the stories of those that are so insistent that this change to promote public health is shaming and bullying.

A local lactation consultant has this line in her email signature: “There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story.”   I love that line.

 

[top]
60 Responses to Evidence does not change beliefs.
  1. You do realize that many of those you spoke to were breastfeeding, or had breastfed their babies? Not one person was anti-breastfeeding?

    The problem is your insistence that breastfeeding is superior, regardless of the individual situation. Your insistence on inflating the benefits of breastfeeding, that there is a vast difference in infant outcomes between feeding methods. In the modern developed world, the differences are trivial where they exist at all.

    Maintaining this insistence is what drives lactivists to bully mothers. The goal shifts from ensuring all mothers are equipped to provide safe, nutritious food to their infants in a way that is sustainable and affordable to increasing breastfeeding rates at all costs.

    The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative is a product of that insistence on bullying mothers into breastfeeding. If you really think it is friendly to babies, then you need to do your research. Look into the babies who have been accidentally injured or killed by exhausted mothers with no access to a well-baby nursery (because in the real world, hospitals are eliminating them as part of BFI certification). Look into the rates of women sneaking formula into the hospital. Women who switch to formula and abandon breastfeeding as soon as they get home because they are exhausted from their BFI hospital stay.

    If you really want to help babies, help mothers, help families, then be honest. Breastfeeding is a way to feed a baby, not a moral imperative. Formula is food, not failure to achieve breastfeeding.

  2. Breastfeeding isn’t superior, it’s normal. I enjoyed your wonderful words, Nikki Lee.

  3. I am one of those who completely disagreed with you and your interpretation of the research. Guess what? I am also an EBF mother. Interesting that you have to write us off as anti breast feeding in order to maintain your tenuous hold on your beliefs.

  4. Dear Cobalt:

    Thank you for your lengthy reply. I appreciate the time and energy you took to write it.

    Breastfeeding is the baby’s choice. It is not every mother’s choice. It is not a moral issue at all, we agree on that.

    Breastfeeding has not been part of the hospital system ever. Working to insert it requires enormous change; with change comes resistance. Society has to change in a big way so that the mother who chooses to breastfeed gets the practical advice and help that she needs, and that the mother who chooses not to breastfeed gets the practical advice and help that she needs.

    I am not aware of any bullying in my practice. That is all I have control over. I am aware that some people perceive the evidence as a form of manipulation, and interpret that as bullying. I am also aware that mothers are sometimes badgered in hospitals about breastfeeding, and your point is well taken. I discuss this in my classes with healthcare professionals as my attempt to hear and value mothers.

    We can’t help the fact that the exclusively formula-fed baby has twice the risk of SIDS. This is something the public at large needs to know. The timing has to be right; the mother needs this information when she is in high school, not after she has started using formula.

    warmly,
    Nikki

  5. Thank you Dana. Breastfeeding IS the normal way to feed babies.
    warmly,
    Nikki

  6. We are all free to disagree with each other. I prefer it done respectfully. As for the research, I was not interpreting it. I was citing it

    warmly,
    Nikki

  7. “Breastfeeding is the baby’s choice.”

    Really? How many infants have you interviewed who told you that?

    Oh, right, ZERO. You just made it up.

    Breastfeeding is the LACTATION CONSULTANT’S choice, not surprisingly because that’s how they make their money. Apparently everyone else is meaningless.

    Surely even you can see the hypocrisy of calling yourself “alwaysbest” while pretending to support all women.

  8. Yet those same babies, if given a choice will often choose the bottle because it’s easier. Isn’t that why LC’s caution against any nipple confusion because the bottle is easier and babies PREFER it?

  9. Dear Amy:

    You are asking an enormous and important question that would take me a long time to answer in the detail that you want.

    Newborns won’t choose the bottle, they will suck on one if it is put into their mouth.

    Dr. Paula Meier demonstrated, starting back in the 1980s, that bottle-feeding is more stressful to infants (lowers their temperatures and O2 saturations and heart rates). Healthy babies are born with the reflexes to breastfeed, as part of their biologic template. Babies need to be taught to bottle-feed as they have to learn how to coordinate suck/swallow/breathe; this is why babies in NICU have to be fed using a pacing technique.

    I suggest that you read Supporting Sucking Skills in Breastfeeding Infants, 2nd edition, by Catherine Watson Genna. It will answer your questions as it is a fabulous clinical book with chapters written by world experts.

    warmly,
    Nikki

  10. If SIDS is your primary concern, why do you promote cosleeping? Your resources page shows a photo of a sleeping baby next to a sleeping adult, in an adult’s bed, surrounded by pillows and blankets. It’s an advertisement in how to increase the risk of infant death. It sure seems as though SIDS prevention is only important to you as it relates to getting moms to breastfeed.

  11. But given the choice, babies will choose the bottle because it’s easier. That’s why LCs caution against nipple confusion.

    As for babies crawling toward the breast, they will also crawl right out the window when they are able to do so. And, given the choice, they will put poison in their mouths if it looks interesting. Claiming that breastfeeding is the choice of babies is a foolish claim.

    But the more important point is that you are spreading misinformation because you PROFIT from that misinformation. How are you any different than a drug company that promotes whatever it profits from?

  12. How is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant different to a pharmaceutical company? She’s one person, helping mothers directly to meet their infant feeding goals: she’s not a large group of people working together to sell a product. She charges enough to cover her expenses and pay herself a modest wage: she does not create profit, which is the extra money that companies have to make, after covering expenses and salaries, to pay their shareholders.
    IBCLCs often need to make enough money to live on. It’s not a job for those who want bonuses, or a regular salary, or financial security. It’s usually done because the person is passionate about helping women to do what they have said they want to do: breastfeed their babies.

  13. I’m a breastfeeding counsellor in the UK, and I make no money from this – I am a volunteer, as are many people who support other women in their choice to breastfeed. I also support women in their choice to use formula, too…again, I make no money from that, either 🙂

    I too think loving and caring for babies is more important than how they are fed, but it is clear the majority of women want to breastfeed, and as the evidence backs this up as a choice that supports health, it makes total sense that any healthcare system should not put barriers in the way of this choice.

    In a healthcare system like exists in the US, where medical care is privatised, I see no conflict of interest between earning one’s living as a lactation professional and supporting breastfeeding – is it not the same as the diabetes specialist supporting healthy weight and nutrition?

    Is there evidence to back up the idea that the Baby Friendly Initiative has led to infant deaths because of the disappearence of the well baby nursery? We have not had nurseries in maternity units for a generation here – rooming-in is normal. Our infant death rate in hospitals from accidents involving exhausted mothers remains unaffected by this – at least I have never seen the remotest suggestion that there is an effect. However, if there are actual statistics showing a danger, then please share them.

  14. In other words, Rachel, the LC needs the money MORE than the drug company needs to money, giving her even more incentive to spread misinformation.

    The key point is that both have a financial conflict of interest. The drug company has a conflict of interest; hence you should be skeptical of their claims. And the LC has a financial conflict of interest; hence you should be skeptical of her claims. The amount of money isn’t the issue; it’s the fact that they make money at all.

  15. Deaths and near deaths of healthy newborn infants while bed sharing on maternity wards published in the Journal of Perinatology.

    It starts with what we know. Bed sharing (co-sleeping) is known to be deadly to babies, and the risk is highest when mothers are impaired by drugs or alcohol:

    “Although bed sharing with infants is well known to be hazardous, deaths and near deaths of newborn infants while bed sharing in hospitals in the United States have received little attention … These events occurred within the first 24 h of birth during ‘skin-to-skin’ contact between mother and infant, a practice promoted by the ‘Baby Friendly’ (BF) initiative … We report 15 deaths and 3 near deaths of healthy infants occurring during skin-to-skin contact or while bed sharing on maternity wards in the United States. Our findings suggest that such incidents are underreported in the United States and are preventable. We suggest ways in which close maternal infant contact to promote breast feeding may be done more safely.”

    What factors contributed to these 15 deaths and 2 near deaths?

    “In eight cases, the mother fell asleep while breastfeeding. In four cases, the mother woke up from sleep but believed her infant to be sleeping when an attendant found the infant lifeless. One or more risk factors that are known or suspected (obesity and swaddling) to further increase the risk of bed sharing were present in all cases. These included … maternal sedating drugs in 7 cases; cases excessive of maternal fatigue, either stated or assumed if the event occurred within 24 h of birth in 12 cases; pillows and/or other soft bedding present in 9 cases; obesity in 2 cases; maternal smoking in 2 cases; and infant swaddled in 4 cases.”

  16. My wonderful colleagues: Linda Smith, Theresa Pittman, Diane Weissinger, and Diana West, just published a book “Sweet Sleep” last July. I encourage you to read it.

    All newborn mammals sleep next to their mothers. In countries with the lowest SIDS rates, mothers sleep with their babies. The SIDS risks to babies are tobacco use, drunk or sedated or stoned mothers, and formula-feeding.

    A breastfeeding non-smoking sober mother sleeping next to her baby on a firm surface, with baby wearing the same numbers of layers of clothing as she is, and no gaps or cords in which to tangle baby, has no greater SIDS risk.

    warmly,
    Nikki

  17. If you know the answers to everything, why are you asking me? If you refuse to listen to what I say, and the research I cite, there can be no discourse.

    Is your website and what you espouse done for purely altruistic reasons? Help me understand what is in this for you?

    We will never convince each other about our points of view. What I have learned from you is very valuable, though, so thank you for writing.

    warmly,
    Nikki

  18. I was not asking for stats on bed sharing in the maternity unit. The post I referred to said that rooming in – ie having babies in a crib next to their mothers’ beds because there was no longer a nursery – was a cause of infant death. I asked if there were figures on this – sorry, I thought I was crystal clear on this.

  19. If your takeaway after the discussion at the other site was that the people there are “rabidly against breastfeeding,” then your reading comprehension is very poor indeed. Many of those commenters–me included–breastfed or are currently breastfeeding their babies. What we rabidly oppose is ignorance. I find it curious that you say above that you just want babies loved and cared for (feeding included), regardless of feeding method, but that you want all babies breastfed. I hope at some point you will realize that you absolutely get to choose that–for your babies. Other people get to choose for their families and owe no explanations.

    Warmly.

  20. The study Dr. T presented references those deaths. The deaths occurred not while the baby was asleep in the bassinet, but when the exhausted mothers involuntarily fell asleep while caring for or breastfeeding the infants. No well baby nursery, as was the case in these instances, means no opportunity to rest for many mothers. After labor (some quite long) and delivery, many moms are tired and in pain (which can and should be treated to the mother’s comfort level). To immediately deny them assistance, to deny them the opportunity to sleep, or to insist they bring outside help, is cruel. And dangerous.

  21. Here is an idea Cobalt: hospitals can do away with baby nurseries and also provide a staff to mother ratio which supports rooming in. Instead of herding babies into nurseries away from their parents. This sort of mass care us negative for babies and parents but convenient pair hospitals.

    And a formula feeding parent is just as capable of falling asleep while feeding a baby as a breastfeeding parent is who btw usually resorts to getting up to breastfeed in a chair because if the appalling misinformation about bed sharing and breastfeeding which is rife in the social and medical cultures. I know because I tried to sit up and feed my newborn due to this advice and twice fell asleep. with breastfeeding lying down I learned how to rest and feed my children safely through the night.

    • In addition, babies are dropped in the hospital by dads and grandparents. The whole family is tired after a baby is born.

  22. Artificial feeding with industrial milk???? Are you kidding. Your use of language is very telling. You intentionally are using that language to tell formula feeding parents that they are giving their babies fake food. I’ve read all of the comments and you can say what you like about Dr. Amy’s readers. You are actually the one whose ‘beliefs’ need to change with the evidence. And you most certainly come across as very sanctimonious.

  23. Mothers and babies have been separated from each other in US hospitals for at least 4 generations. Now, practices based on evidence are changing and mothers and babies are together. The Sudden Unexpected Neonatal Collapse is being discussed in the literature. Dr. Susan Ludington has published about education and assessment to prevent this. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/822017

    When practice changes, inquiry follows and new safety measures are instituted.

    Dr. Thach’s article states: “In summary, the BF initiative is an important public health
    program benefiting infants in many ways, including reducing the incidence of childhood obesity. However, any extensive health program needs to be monitored for adverse effects and modified
    accordingly.”

  24. Dear Momofone:

    My comment was specific about Dr. Tuteur who is very clear about her opposition to the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, and the health benefits of breastfeeding.

  25. Dear Momofone:

    I agree with you that the only healthcare choices we have control over are our own. And, as a healthcare professional, I have to recommend the best. I do want babies lovingly cared for, and I would love for all babies to be breastfed, or to at least receive their mother’s milk. Both are true.

  26. Dear Tracy:

    Bottle feeding is a substitute way to feed any mammal when the mother is unavailable. It is an artificial method. No judgement in those words. When I am speaking in a discussion such as this one, with educated people having an intense discussion, I do state what I believe is true: industrial milk is factory made, is not dynamic, does nothing for immune system support or growth, and is only food. When I am working with the public, I use the words they use, and call it ‘infant formula.’

    warmly,
    Nikki

  27. Dear Yolanda:

    Thank you for adding your perspective, ideas, and experience to this enjoyable conversation.

    warmly,
    Nikki

  28. Nikki, I have a question for you. I have asked myself this. What if there were iron clad evidence that breastfeeding barely made a difference in a mother’s or child’s health? Say, one extra ear infection or 1% less risk of breast cancer? What if there were a health benefit discovered to formula over breastmilk? What if anything would you do differently?

    Personally, I would still breastfeed my kids and help others to breastfeed if they want to. I figured out that it is kind of a religious belief for me. I don’t really care what the evidence is.

  29. Dear Anonomom:

    Thank you for the interesting question.

    Forget all about research. Humans, in the form that we are, have only been around for about 200,000 years. If breastfeeding didn’t work, would any of us be here?

    Another point to consider is relationship. The intimate relationship of breastfeeding has its own value. Intimacy deepens relationship. No one (for the most part as I realize that wet nursing is part of human history) but a mother can breastfeed a baby. This does create a different type of closeness.

    Still another point to consider is ease and sustainability. When the power is out or the earthquake strikes, the mother has still the means to feed her baby. Breastfeeding leaves few carbon footprints, and is a renewable resource.

    warmly,
    Nikki

  30. Gee, there is a whole lot of bullying going on! Especially from the well-educated! I am so sorry Nikki. I read your posting responses which were not inflammatory but thoughtful and I want you to know that not everyone agrees with the attacks you are experiencing. It is really sad that people must personalize the evidence, the research, and then go on the attack. It reminds me of when they determined that cortisol levels in babies who are separated from their mothers in daycare experience surges in cortisol levels in their saliva. Research shows a correlation between high cortisol levels and obesity and other diseases. But did anyone want to hear the evidence? It hit the news and died without a whimper. No one wants to think that the daycare and mommy/baby separation is a bad thing, especially when everyone works. But maybe pumping breastmilk will help, lol! Seriously, before I was an IBCLC, I was a mother who breastfed. I didn’t have any help other than a few LaLeche League meetings. But it profoundly changed my life and direction. If you haven’t breastfed, you shouldn’t knock it. There is plenty of government research, free, that supports the short and longterm health benefits of breastfeeding for mother and child which is why the U.S is pushing it. — the bottom line? They want to save money on healthcare. And contrary to the wive’s tale that formula feeding mothers feel “guilty” over their feeding choice, the research doesn’t support that, but says they are happy with their choice to formula feeding. It’s like they say: “For those who believe, no words are necessary. For those who do not, there is nothing you can say to convince them.” Now excuse me, I have to go back to my studies. Good work, Nikki! Keep your cool

  31. “Humans, in the form that we are, have only been around for about 200,000 years. If breastfeeding didn’t work, would any of us be here?”

    If breastfeeding never worked, then yeah, we probably would’ve died out (unless we, as a species, could’ve adapted to very early solid food feeding). Now if you’re asking if we would still be here even when breastfeeding doesn’t work out for a siginificant portion of the species, then obviously the answer is yes since we are indeed still here today. Wet nurses, gruel, milk from other mammals and homemade “formulas” and bottles to deliver them have been in existence as far back as 2000 BC (and probably prior to the Stone Age). Breastfeeding has never been something that all women can (or want) to do. (http://www.babybottle-museum.co.uk/early.htm)

    • Dear Poogles:

      There has always been a need for someone other than the mother to feed the baby. Sometimes the mother died. Sometimes she had to keep herself sexually available for a rich or noble man who was supporting her. Feeding bottles (made of lead!) are around that came from Cleopatra’s time.

      Historically, the challenge has always been that babies who were hand-fed (i.e. fed other than human milk from either their mother or a wet nurse) were likely to die, no matter what sort of gruel/pap/cereal/other animal milk was used.

      It is only in the 20th century, with the advent of sterilization and refrigeration that substitute milks kept babies alive.

  32. “hosted by a well-educated healthcare professional who is rabidly against the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, breastfeeding, midwives, and home birth.”
    “My comment was specific about Dr. Tuteur who is very clear about her opposition to the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, and the health benefits of breastfeeding.”

    Dr. Amy is not rabidly against breastfeeding, she breastfed all of her own children. She is also not rabidly against all midwives, just the ones who are ill-trained and incompetent (which encompasses most of the midwives who attend homebirth in the US) – in fact, she has always had nothing but glowing, positive words for REAL midwives (CNM’s), with whom she has worked with in the past.

    It can be summed up quite simply – she is against things which increase preventable deaths and injury (homebirth, BFHI hospitals that do not allow mothers the option of having someone else care for her baby so she can get rest, the over-inflation of breastfeeding benefits in the developed world that lead so many women to keep pushing for EBF at all costs and end up hurting their children from things like FTT because of it, anti-vaxx, bed-sharing, etc.).

    • Breastfeeding benefits are enormous, and a matter of life and death, no matter where the baby is born.

      http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2010/04/05/peds.2009-1616.short

      “Results: If 90% of US families could comply with medical recommendations to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months, the United States would save $13 billion per year and prevent an excess 911 deaths, nearly all of which would be in infants ($10.5 billion and 741 deaths at 80% compliance).

      Conclusions: Current US breastfeeding rates are suboptimal and result in significant excess costs and preventable infant deaths. Investment in strategies to promote longer breastfeeding duration and exclusivity may be cost-effective.”

  33. “All newborn mammals sleep next to their mothers.”

    Well, I’d say all mammals except us also have to worry about things like predators picking off sleeping infants in the night or having only their own body heat to keep themselves and their newborns warm. Most humans have home dwellings that offer protection from predators and, especially in the developed world, most humans have artificial heating in their homes. Comparing us to how other mammals birth and care for their newborns is pointless – their are simply too many differences.

  34. I’d say Poogles that you are overlooking the fact that humans still give birth to Stone Age babies in the 21st century. No amount of heated home, cots, and double glazing is going to convince a baby that there is not a sabre tooth tiger lurking in the shadows of that cave ready to pick him off. The babies that grew up to breed 200,000 years ago were the ones that slept next to a human adult and was carried everywhere that adult went. This is why babies cry when left alone and go quiet when picked up or sleeping next to a warm adult.

    Human milk is designed to initiate frequent suckling (low in fat compared to the milk of other species) and a parent can only achieve that 20,000 years ago by keeping the baby close all night and all day.

    • Yes, Yolanda. This is all true. In addition, breastfeeding releases hormones that make mothers sleepy, and human milk contains hormones that make babies sleepy.

  35. This article from Forbes magazine describes the foundation for the industry video.

    From the article: “Sales of baby formula in the U.S. have fallen alongside the nation’s birthrate — and an upsurge in breastfeeding, according to Reuters. And the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until at least age 2.”

    “This is Similac’s savvy way of mitigating the backlash against formula. The company isn’t trying to win new customers as much as get people to stop demonizing its industry.”

    “Similac has done one better, marketing far beyond the horizon of its customer base — and demonstrating that Similac truly understands the new marketing landscape. This commercial — and it is a commercial — isn’t trying to coerce you into buying any if Similac’s products.

    It’s selling Similac’s brand.”

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2015/01/29/how-new-marketing-is-helping-solve-an-industrys-image-problem-video/

    In other words, industry is manipulating the public.

  36. ““Results: If 90% of US families could comply with medical recommendations to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months, the United States would save $13 billion per year and prevent an excess 911 deaths, nearly all of which would be in infants ”

    This study is practically useless, honestly, it’s just not well-done and the “excess 911 deaths” are estimates based on the CORRELATION of breastfeeding with less incidence of some disease found in a review of (mostly poorly-controlled, observational) studies. The authors of the ARHQ review even say themselves “Because almost all the data in this review were gathered from observational studies, one should not infer causality based on these findings

    The more controlled studies that help to weed out correlation due to confounders find that there are very small differences in illnesses in the developed world between BF and FF on a population level. There is no solid evidence that formula feeding actually causes excess deaths of term infants in the developed world.

  37. “Forget all about research. Humans, in the form that we are, have only been around for about 200,000 years. If breastfeeding didn’t work, would any of us be here?”

    “There has always been a need for someone other than the mother to feed the baby.”

    Do you not see how you seem to contradict yourself here? First, you posit that if breastfeeding didn’t work, we wouldn’t be here. Then you admit that there has always been situations in which breastfeeding hasn’t worked – yet we are obviously still here.

  38. “I’d say Poogles that you are overlooking the fact that humans still give birth to Stone Age babies in the 21st century. No amount of heated home, cots, and double glazing is going to convince a baby that there is not a sabre tooth tiger lurking in the shadows of that cave ready to pick him off.”

    I disagree that a baby has any sort of thought like this. I agree they may feel insecure if they do not feel someone near, but they’re not laying there thinking – “Oh no! Mom’s not right next to me, a tiger is going to carry me off!”

    Also, humans are continuously evolving, we didn’t just stop 200,000 years ago – so no, we give birth to modern babies, not Stone-Age ones.

    “Human milk is designed to initiate frequent suckling (low in fat compared to the milk of other species) and a parent can only achieve that 20,000 years ago by keeping the baby close all night and all day.”

    Sucks for the moms 20,000 years ago. Thankfully, that is no longer necessary thanks to pumping and bottles, not to mention the choice of safe, healthy formula.

  39. ““This is Similac’s savvy way of mitigating the backlash against formula. The company isn’t trying to win new customers as much as get people to stop demonizing its industry.”[…]This commercial — and it is a commercial — isn’t trying to coerce you into buying any if Similac’s products. It’s selling Similac’s brand.”

    I don’t see how the above quotes lead you to the conclusion that “In other words, industry is manipulating the public.” How is the public being manipulated, exactly? A company is trying to sell it’s brand (which every single company does) and trying to mitigate the unjustified demonization of their product that was brought on by lactivists. Formula is a safe, healthy way to feed babies when clean water is available. Period.

  40. The public is manipulated to have good feelings about Similac after seeing this video. One watches, and says “awwww” at the end, and sees the big brand name at the end. So instead of thinking, “oh here’s a company selling its brand because there are no health benefits to mothers or to babies when folks use its products, so they have to generate good feelings in another way” folks will not lump Similac in with all the other brands.

    Many babies survive and grow being fed formula.

    Formula also doubles the risk of SIDS. Babies exclusively formula-fed have a 40% greater risk of Type 1 Diabetes. They are are more likely to develop leukemias and lymphomas. Mothers who don’t breastfeed have greater risk of breast cancer, obesity, and metabolic syndrome.

    We can’t say “your baby will get type 1 diabetes or die of SIDS if you don’t breastfed”. True. Just as we can’t say “you will die in a car crash if you don’t wear a seat belt.” However, the chances of chronic disease and death in a car crash go up if one doesn’t breastfeed or doesn’t wear seat belts. It’s all about playing the odds.

    Even in developed nations.

  41. Dear Poogles:

    Babies aren’t thinking; their central nervous systems and endocrine systems are responding to the environment. Untold numbers of parents find that their baby stops crying when it is picked up, and is near the heartbeat that it knows. This is a big reason that anti-bed sharing campaigns fail. Parents need to sleep. Newborns often sleep better next to their mothers. Doesn’t matter how babies are fed; many parents bring the baby to bed with them.

  42. Dear Poogles:

    Mothers didn’t always want to breastfeed. They chose to send their babies away or had someone else feed the baby. Or the mother died, and couldn’t breastfeed.

    That is completely different to saying that breastfeeding wasn’t working.

  43. “Mothers didn’t always want to breastfeed. They chose to send their babies away or had someone else feed the baby. Or the mother died, and couldn’t breastfeed.

    That is completely different to saying that breastfeeding wasn’t working.”

    So you honestly believe that the only reasons we have been making alternate food for babies and vessels (bottles) to feed that food to babies for thousands upon thousands of years is when the mother chose not to breastfeed or when the mother was dead. No acknowledgement that breastfeeding historically and factually just doesn’t work for a not-insignificant portion of women? Just that the living women must have chose not to breastfeed – even though, as you say, it was well-known “hand-raised” children weren’t as likely to be healthy and live. This, incidentally, is what gave rise to commercial formulas – to replace the nutritionally-lacking homemade formulas women were feeding to their babies when they couldn’t breastfeed.

  44. “Formula also doubles the risk of SIDS. Babies exclusively formula-fed have a 40% greater risk of Type 1 Diabetes. They are are more likely to develop leukemias and lymphomas. Mothers who don’t breastfeed have greater risk of breast cancer, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. ”

    These are vastly over-blown and over-hyped correlations.

  45. “there are no health benefits to mothers or to babies when folks use its products,”

    I heartily disagree. There are great health benefits to babies whose mother can not provide breastmilk, or not enough breastmilk, for whatever reason – starving and FTT being the alternative. There are great health benefits to babies who cannot tolerate breastmilk and need specialized formulas to thrive and grow. There are also great mental health benefits to mothers who have psychological issues that make breastfeeding not an option.

  46. Dear Poogles:

    Breastfeeding does not always work. You are correct, and I should have added that to the list of mothers choosing not to breastfeed, or who died.

    Commercial formulas were first invented in the late 1800s; Henri Nestle sold his first in 1867.

    warmly,
    Nikki

  47. Hi Poogles:

    Of course babies need to be fed if the mother can’t or won’t or is unable to breastfeed, or the rare cases when a baby has metabolic needs for a different food.

    My wish is that all babies receive human milk though, instead of an industrially created substitute.

    Certain interventions and substitutions are relevant for specific situations; my objection is to them being recommended as routine or sold to the public by an industry that claims equivalency.

    warmly,
    Nikki

  48. Dear Poogles:

    Unfortunately, they are not over-blown and over-hyped.

    Why would every single health agency in the world recommend breastfeeding, if there was no evidence behind it?

    Check out Table 1 in this: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/calls/breastfeeding/calltoactiontosupportbreastfeeding.pdf

    warmly,
    Nikki

  49. “Commercial formulas were first invented in the late 1800s; Henri Nestle sold his first in 1867.”

    Were you making a point with this? Or just sharing a related factoid? 🙂

  50. “Why would every single health agency in the world recommend breastfeeding, if there was no evidence behind it?
    Check out Table 1 in this: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/calls/breastfeeding/calltoactiontosupportbreastfeeding.pdf”

    I never claimed there was no evidence supporting breastfeeding/breastmilk. I simply think that the benefits that are routinely touted for breastfeeding/breastmilk are marginal benefits in the developed world that get over-hyped and over-blown, misleading mothers on the feeding choices for their child(ren).

    The data in Table 1 of the link you provided is also based on the 2007 AHRQ report, that specifically says “Because almost all the data in this review were gathered from observational studies, one should not infer causality based on these findings” – which was exactly my point. They are not proven to be causal links, only correlated. Not to mention that report is 8 years old and newer research has more accurately controlled for confounders, making the results more likely to be causal rather than simply correlated: http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/sibbreast.htm
    “Many previous studies suffer from selection bias. They either do not or cannot statistically control for factors such as race, age, family income, mother’s employment – things we know that can affect both breast-feeding and health outcomes,[…] Demographic differences across families that can bias studies in favor of breast-feeding include parental race, age, marital status, family income, insurance coverage, the mother’s education and employment, and whether a woman smokes or drinks during pregnancy […] When we get more advantaged moms selecting into breast-feeding and we know those traits also will affect the health outcomes, it’s not clear what’s affecting an outcome like obesity – is it breast-feeding itself or those other background characteristics?” Colen said.

    On a sort-of side note – why would every single health agency in the world recommend vaccination, if there was no evidence behind it?

    Don’t you find it a bit hypocritical and/or intellectually dishonest to use the recommendations from the Surgeon General to “prove” the benefits of breastfeeding , while at the same time disregarding what they have to say on vaccinations? From one of your previous posts about not getting the flu vaccine: “I have learned to be distrustful of recommendations from governmental organizations about what I should do, because many people that used to work in industry now work in those organizations and have a biased view, in favor of industry. Industry cares only about profit. I care about my health. I distrust anyone who stands to make money when I follow their recommendation.” BTW, if you think no one makes money from breastfeeding, you are sorely mistaken.

    • Mammals make milk for their young; that milk is species specific. There is an evolutionary basis for the success of lactation.

      Formula was invented 150+ years ago as a substitute food. It lacks immune system properties, human hormones and growth factors. No matter how hard industry tries, it will never be able to make a live product that can come close to the impact of human milk.

      We are not talking about vaccinations in this discussion; bringing yet another topic about which we will not agree here is pointless, and I am not interested in it.

      Bottom line is that you do what makes sense to you, and I do the same. I can agree to disagree. Can you?

  51. I posted a somewhat lengthy post here yesterday and it still hasn’t shown up…I had a couple links in it, I think, so perhaps it was caught in the spam filter?

  52. “Bottom line is that you do what makes sense to you, and I do the same. I can agree to disagree. Can you?”

    I can absolutely agree to disagree on breastfeeding v. formula, because it is a choice that makes very little difference.

    I cannot agree to disagree on vaccinations because the effect is huge and increases the risk of injury and death not only to those not vaccinated but those around them as well.

    Regardless, I think our discussion here has probably run its course; thank you for engaging in a civil manner and not deleting comments that don’t agree with you (that is unfortunately very common in these types of discussions).

  53. Thank you Poogles. I value sincere dialogue.

    warmly,
    Nikki


[top]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.