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Thread: Superfood for babies
21st February 2013 08:49 AM #1
Superfood for babies
The latest Save the Children report into breastfeeding is now available: Superfood for babies.
This report estimates that the lives of 95 babies an hour could be saved if they were breastfed immediately following birth. I personally find this a shocking statistic and want to help charities such as Save the Children empower women around the world to breastfeed successfully.
There has also been media attention due to a recommendation this report made to change formula advertising to make mothers more aware of the benefits of breast milk over formula.
What are your opinions on the report? Has the nature of the media attention surprised you?
21st February 2013 11:56 AM #2
26th March 2013 12:09 AM #3
I applaud your intention to support charities working to promote breastfeeding. There is much that can be done by those willing to pick up the sword. I support through monthly sponsorship a number of programs aimed up supporting pregnant women, safer childbirth, and breastfeeding support in the poorest communities of the world. I also sponsor a number of children worldwide.
It is undoubtedly true that a lack of awareness within these communities of the nutritional needs of infants and children and how to support their wellbeing results in significantly hirer rates of illness and death. I also agree that formula promotion needs to be reduced. In addition I have no doubt that successful breastfeeding could save many lives. However all this needs to be placed in context.
Staking claim to breastfeeding being the solution, ignores everything we know about the wellbeing of mothers and its link to breast milk production. In the absence of clean water and sufficient nutritious food, with cultural practices which require men and boys eat first taking the best of the food, and living conditions of the poorest standards imaginable, the likelihood of successful breastfeeding is low.
Certainly where interventionist programs have provided clean water and good food, the rate of infant deaths has dropped. Again we can’t lay all that on breastfeeding but I have no doubt the greater ability of these woman to produce milk plays in there.
In many of the world’s poorest communities access to formula marketing or formula itself is low due to sheer economics. However there is certainly a perception in these communities that formula is the answer. This too though has to be put in context. These women are starving. They see a can of formula as their baby’s best chance at survival. Without considering water quality and lack of sterilisation procedures for bottles, can we really blame these women for seeing this as a salvation? Education alone won't boost their milk supply.
In short a two pronged approach is needed, prong one being food and water provision and prong two being the reintroduction of breastfeeding knowledge into these communities. Of course there is a third prong there that requires greater respect for women in these communities to increase their access to food and water and decrease the horrendous workloads they face. But that third prong is one that money alone can’t fix.
26th March 2013 06:50 AM #4
Thank you for your comments mumof2IVF miracles.
Yes - I see - education needs to go hand in hand with the proper resources in order to support and empower women to breastfeed in all communities. Whilst breast milk is not the whole answer to reducing infant mortality rates and increasing infant well-being it is a significant factor. My hope is for the 'two pronged' approach you refer to, to come into fruition after reports such as this latest Save the Children research.
The media attention surrounding this breastfeeding report has also made me reflect on my own breastfeeding experience and how grateful I am that I have access to the medical professionals (including midwives, lactation consultants and health visitors) who have supported me on my journey.
28th March 2013 06:13 AM #5
I agree. As much as we may comment on the quality of breastfeeding support in Australia, we must remember we are indeed very fortunate for the breastfeeding relationships many of us have been able, and been supported to, establish.
This reminds me of a lecture I watched recently on homebirth by Caroline Homer. In conclusion it offers a similar reminder. You can watch it here: Home or Hospital? Is there a 'best' birthing option?