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If breastfeeding is so great, why are the rates so low?

Hanz’s Note : Something for you Nursing Moms to ponder & others to agree or disagree. This article is actually an excerpt from this website http://www.promom.org. In this article, these are the possible reasons that this issue is happening around the world. Have your say, please.

1) Baby-Unfriendly Maternity Hospital Practices

The routine use during labour and delivery often results in babies arriving in this world in a drugged state, unable to bond on their mothers or latch on the breast.The immediate separation of mother and baby so that baby undergo routine tests and procedures (all of which could be delayed without any harm to the interferes with the baby’s ability to initiate breastfeeding during the crucial first hour after birth traumatizes some babies so much that they shy away from all oral stimulation. Since formula is easier to get out of a bottle than human at the breast, even one bottle feeding can cause some babies to form an irreversible preference for the bottle nipple;those babies may never be able to breastfeed normally.

2) Formula Company Marketing Practices

Formula marketing targets women. New mothers are given free samples of formula, babies are given bottles in hospitals, coupons arrive in the mail. The World Health Organization’s Code for the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes prohibits marekting of these products in these ways. It covers formula, other milk products, cereals, teas and juices as well as bottles and nipples.

Many hospitals have arrangements with formula companies in which the hospital receives hundreds of thousands annually from the formula company.The hospital then promises to give every post-partum woman some ‘gifts’ covered with the logo and advertising slogan formula company and contain free formula samples.When the new parents get home with their new baby and their ‘gift’, the result is of following scenario:

Three days after baby is born. 3 a.m.

The baby has been crying for the last two hours.Mother’s breasts are engorged and sore;baby is not latch on and sucking effectively. Parents don’t know what to do.They are worried about baby being hungry.They are exhausted and do not know whom to ask for help.It so happen the free sample of formula is next to the crib so they feed the formula to the baby, and the baby quiets down and sleeps for several hours because formula is more sedating and takes longer to digest than human milk.Mother’s milk supply reduced because the milk in her breasts wasn’t removed by her baby.In the following days, baby needs more milk and more formula is fed. Mother’s milk supply quickly dies up and baby is formula-fed.

Another gimmick is a contest with valuable prizes, run by formula company.

3) Medical Professionals Ignorance of Breastfeeding

Another related reason for low breastfeeding rates is the almost complete absence of breatfeeding curricula in schools.A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at doctor’s knowledge of the clinical aspects of breastfeeding revealed disturbingly high rates of ignorance about why breastfeeding is important and how to handle breastfeeding difficulties.The authors of this study surveyed more than 3,000 residents and nearly 2,000 physicians practicing pediatrics and family medicine and found that few of them knew the basics of breastfeeding such as how to teach mother how to use a breastpump or what to do about low milk supply.Many doctors who are not educated about breastfeeding advise supplementing with formula when any problem arises with breastfeeding.The result: The baby baby quickly weaned from the breast to the bottle because the mother’s milk supply diminishes immediately in response to baby’s diminishing demand for her milk.

4) The Bottle-Feeding Culture

Babies are associated closely with bottles, not breasts. Go to the Department Store.It is difficult to find a baby doll that doesn’t come with a bottle.Look around you where mothers with babies found.Most of the babies are fed with bottles.The sight of a woman breatsfeeding her child in public is so rare.

5) Maternal employment

The belief that breastfeeding cannot continue when the mother works is an unfortunate misconception. Maternal employment is only a complete obstacle to breastfeeding if the mother must be separated from her baby for weeks. Otherwise, an employer need only make minor accomodations to allow employees to breastfeed their babies. With a clean, private place and about 20 minutes every 4 hours, a mother can express her milk for later use by her baby. With on-site or nearby daycare, a mother can breastfeed her baby directly during brief breaks. Even a mother who cannot pump or breastfeed during the workday can breastfeed her baby when they are together and supplement with formula at other times.

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August 7, 2009 Posted by | Attachment Parenting, Breastfeeding, Natural Parenting, Worth-read Articles | 7 Comments

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