Breastfeeding – missing the bigger picture

Beyond Conformity

by Hilary Butler
February 8, 2012

Whose right – Piri, Dita de Boni, KaraDocherty or the Herald Editorial? None of them. And let me say, straight up, I breastfed, because I wanted to, I could – and I KNEW what the medical literature said about breastmilk.  Now, it says way more. Mammary glands are made to feed babies – with anything else, extra-curricula.  The problem with saying that FORMULA feeding is a choice, is that actually, people who feed formula, aren’t given a choice.

If a baby is “allergic to dairy”, that doesn’t preclude breastfeeding, except for the mother who refuses to remove dairy in her diet. Furthermore, hypoallergenic formula doesn’t prevent or treat allergies. The issue isn’t about “breastfeeding nazis”, because in my seven years breastfeeding I only ever got rude stares in public even if people couldn’t see “anything”, and most mothers I know still get stick for breast feeding in public. Breastfeeders are the tiny minority in this country, which is why formula is seen as “normal”.

The reason that most of the 2 – 5% of women, who physically cannot breastfeed, put formula in bottles in this country, is because they have no choice but to put formula in that bottle.  First, at the highest level of the paediatric community in this country there is NO COMMITMENT to educating parents of the necessity to breastfeed babies, or to cater for those who CANNOT.  (Note that word – CANNOT.  Not…. “won’t”)

High level commitment, could have had led to a smoothly operating, nation-wide breast milk bank  in New Zealand over a decade ago.

Parents should be provided with detailed information on WHY breastfeeding is vital.  Note that word: VITAL – not “optional”.

Everything written in the Herald was anecdotal hot air, not fact. Not one of the people mentioned above, who wrote in the Herald explained WHY breastfeeding was best. Even Docherty got it wrong, saying that formula only leads to obesity and that was easily dealt with by getting ones children into sport.  If the Herald’s commentaries reflect the level of education on breastfeeding in New Zealand today, no wonder everyone has missed the bigger picture.

Only on Friday did the Herald meekly offer readers a study which showed that breastfeeding protected against asthma.

The LACK of a breast milk bank in New Zealand, proves that paediatricians in this country have NO COMMITMENT to the fundamental health of New Zealand children.  The medical profession needs to do more then tweet about asthma prevention.  They need to start talking about the HUGE money-saving and health advantages of breast milk, and how breastfeeding sets up a child to AVOID many and diverse key health issues in both the short and long term, right through to the age of 80 and beyond.

Not one media presentation has effectively detailed the issues, and why should they, when the medical profession won’t?  Every first time parent should be able to go to an antenatal class and ask the question, “What do we do if we find we physically cannot breastfeed?” and every parent should be told, “In that event, we refer you to the local breast milk bank.”

But then the formula brigade gets in on the act and says, “But the very fact that eminent paediatricians like Peter Nobbs are happy with formula, means there is no issue.  Formula is good.  Formula is our choice“.

That argument is incorrect in every aspect – and Peter Nobb knows it.

FACT:  Formula creates a completely different child on many different physiologic, immunologic (and genetic) levels, as anyone who has read Keith Woodford’s book, “Devil in the Milk” can tell you.  Is formula A1 milk or A2 milk?  A child’s future health could depend on that, but again, no-one’s talking about the consequences of A1 formula on type 1 diabetes and heart disease, are they? Paediatricians know all this stuff I’m about to detail, concerning breastmilk and formula…, yet they tell NONE of it to prospective parents or the media, because you KNOW what parents and media are going to do and say:

They will point the finger and ask:  “Well, what are you going to do about it?”

But mothers who physically can’t breast feed, don’t have the CHOICE to buy breast milk, because the paediatric community thinks that’s a total waste of their time and effort.  What sort of example is it, when as recently as 2008, the Auckland Woman’s Health Council was aghast at senior paediatrician Peter Nobb’s “sell out” to Bayer’s ‘Novalac Colic”, while demonising parents who chose not to vaccinate (who are mostly, long term successful breast feeders)!

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.

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