(Closed) Slate article: Breastfeeding benefits vastly overstated

posted 6 years ago in Babies
Post # 62
Member
1988 posts
Buzzing bee

I was not breast fed. I have my share of autoimmune diseases and severe allergies. However, my mom WAS breast fed. And she has the same issues. Yeah. Genetics more than anything. 

I’m a firm believer in a woman choosing what is best for her, the baby and the rest of the family. Not only if breast feeding doesn’t work. Also if she chooses not to BF! When we think of health, we cannot only measure the physical health and how our bodies are coping with different things. A depressed, super stressed, sleep deprived and anxious mom is not the definition of health in my book. And if breast feeding adds to that feeling for a woman or a family, no one benefits from that. I don’t think babies thrive under such scenario. 

So definitely different scenarios = different choices. 

However, personally I would be a little worried about feeding my baby stuff that’s created in a lab. After switching to a non processed food I can feel the difference in my body. And yeah. It would probably maKe me a little uncomfortable to know that I am avoiding GMOs and processed/chemical foods and I will feed my newborn one. But that is me and how I’ve chosen to eat. I don’t have to shove my beliefs down anyone else’s throat. Their kid= their choice

Post # 63
Member
923 posts
Busy bee

@classyashley:  I think this is interesting. it also doesn’t change my views at all. my problems with formula aren’t that your baby doesn’t turn out as “good” as a breastfed baby, it’s th whole culture behind it. is your child going to be stupid because it was fed formula? probably not. I still think that feeding your infant a man made powdered mixture over something specifically made for them with your own body is not ideal just like I think eating mcdonalds is not ideal compared to eating real food. I would feed my baby formula only as a last resort. I think it’s also important to note that the vast majority of women should be able to sucessfully breastfeed, but that depends entirely on how much support they receive. not just support from their partner and doctor, but societal support which is in short supply. there also is the fact that maternity leave in this country is basically non existant for most women. my job is in no way required to even hold my job for me, luckily I know they will, but plenty of women don’t even have that. 

I find it strange that it is considered okay for women to not even try to breast feed just because they don’t want to, if I didn’t quit smoking when I was pregnant because I didn’t want to I would be in for a world of judgement. when you decide to become a parent you are expected to put the best interest of your child before your own desires. I don’t judge because I’m aware of how many factors can go into not being able to breast feed, but I will always think not even trying because it’s “icky” or something is lazy parenting. If you can’t because you need to go back to work to support your family or because you physically aren’t able to that’s a different story.  Every single health orginazation in the world supports breast milk as the best thing to feed your baby, and until that changes I’m going to stick with that opinion.

Post # 64
Member
5654 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2011

@guitargirl:  You can’t, which is really very odd considering that government paid studies are supposed to be open-view accessible. :/

I’d love to read it too, but I’m not paying to do so. lol

 

Post # 65
Member
1401 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I do also wonder how much of the evidence (either for or against this article’s findings) is tainted by the fact that children’s bodies are just unique and, to some degree, governed by natural predisposition.

As a personal anecdote, I’ve found it interesting seeing how my twins’ bodies–with the exact same home environment, diet, routine, etc.–naturally deal differently with factors like susceptibility to illness and weight gain, both of which are things that formula is said to impact. As I said before, they were breastfed for 3 months before I switched them both to formula at the same time.

One of my twins is naturally a little chunkier than the other. When I went in to get her weighed the month after we switched to formula, the health visitor said that she had gone up a percentile (from 9th to 25th, which isn’t a huge deal or anything), possibly because the formula makes babies gain weight faster. However, when she weighed twin 2, she hadn’t gone up like her sister, despite having the exact same diet… Similarly, Twin 1 is very susceptible to illness and is constantly coming down with something, whereas her sister seems more resilient. Twin 2 just seems to have a stronger constitution (despite being thinner). I think it would be easy to take twin 1 and use her as an example of what happens to formula fed babies. However, it would be just as easy to look at twin 2 and say that her weight and her strong constitution are obviously the result of three months of breastfeeding. Is the difference just the result of natural predisposition? Is it because twin 2 magically got more of the breastmilk benefits than twin 1, whose body presumably didn’t get as much of the good stuff and thus is now suffering the effects of being formula-fed more than her sister? Who knows. 

I guess my point is that even with socioeconomic and cross-family factors eliminated, there is always the issue of nature to contend with. Is it the formula, or is she just naturally a little chunkier? Is it breastmilk, or is she just naturally more healthy? Hard to separate those things, I think. 

Post # 66
Member
1178 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

@bluegreenjean:  this.

 

 

@quierajen:  your comments are quite contradicting and insulting of formula feeding mothers. If whats best for mom&baby is the best route then why are you so concerned with breastfeeding rates? you dont want the temptation of bottles around in a moment of weakness… are we talking about an alcohol addicition here? Cause choosing formula because breastfeeding isnt working does not make someone a bad person or make them weak. Its not a bad decision. Its a FABULOUS decision that you decided to do what is best for your family.

Its quite obvious you have strong opinions on BFing and thats fine.But dont talk down of formula feeders. I think youre in for quite a shock on how difficult BFing can be. So many women in my mommy groups agree that for something thats supposed to be so natural, its sure fucking hard. And if your baby has soy or dairy allergies and you have to cut out everything soy and dairy… how miserable 

My son was born at 34 weeks. I Boyfriend or Best Friend for 7 weeks. Hes now almost 4 months and has not been sick once despite my Fiance and I having been sick multiple times. Ive seen countless Boyfriend or Best Friend babies catching moms cold. 

Post # 67
Member
1178 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

The other thing that annoys me about breastfeeding comments is when someome suggests they have a better bond because of it. How do you know that if youre not formula feeding!? My son bonds with me more because i feed him majority of the time. Dad can mock my motions in rocking him but it will do nothing.. the moment i take over hes out like a light.

 

 

 

I still get morning snuggles and morning giggles. I still hold him close to feed him. Just because he get a bottle and not a boob doesnt make our bond less strong.

 

 

 

And i have nothing against BFing. It didnt work for us because of the prematurity and next baby i will try again . But  i do not agree with society pushing it with breast is best and other suggestions of having better bonds and such because of it.

 

Post # 68
Member
894 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

@gpsp2B:  I apologize if you find my point of view so insulting to you. I have friends who formula feed for various reasons and I would never look down on them for their choice, in fact one of them is my closest friend and I fully support why she’s using formula to supplement her breastmilk.

I am concerned with breastfeeding rates because I fully believe that breastmilk IS best for a baby and if women can accomplish breastfeeding, they should. Obviously there are exceptions to this for various reasons, but one of the main reasons the rates are so poor here is lack of knowledge, lack of support from doctors, workplace and publicly, and having pro formula all over the country. It should be a concern that our breastfeeding rates are so bad. Women should have every opportunity to make it work, have the proper support to make it work and we don’t.

For ME, I believe that keeping bottles and formula out of my house will help me to be successful at breastfeeding even when I’m tired, or my nipples are cracked or something else, where if I had the access to an alternative, I might give up on what I believe in in a moment of weakness. I don’t see how this is me calling formula feeding mothers weak. This is how I feel about MY breastfeeding journey, not yours. If you hated breastfeeding, or couldn’t stand the sore nips, or something else, great for you. I don’t want to have the chance to give up on it right before it might work out. That’s all.

As far as the breastfeeding is hard, I’m not oblivious. I have very close friends who have recently given birth and I’ve been right there watching on while they struggle with it. I have done an immense amount of research, read tons of group chats about it. Sure, I’ve never ACTUALLY done it, but I’m not deluded into thinking it’ll be easy peasy and baby will know how to do it right away and I won’t get sore at all..

I don’t eat soy and I prefer to avoid dairy, so if that were the case, I’d not really feel like I was missing out on much. Again, that’s for ME. If you love your cheese and you don’t want to give it up because baby is sensitive to it, go for it. Do what is best for you.

I am really tired of formula moms getting their panties in a knot because pro breastfeeding moms talk about the benefits of breastfeeding, or trying to make it work out, or that there are dangers associated with formula. We aren’t attacking you as a formula feeding mother, we are trying to spread awareness so that someone who may not KNOW these things could become more aware and maybe choose to give breastfeeding a go.

Post # 69
Member
1178 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

@quierajen:  the problem with down talking formula is most formula mothers are going to feel like youre implying they are bad for formula feeding. So if a mom chooses to formula feed because breastfeeding is awkward to them or because they arent willing to give up their freedom and not worry about baby being fed/pumping, is that wrong of them?

Theres nothing wrong with being pro breastfeeding. But when you down talk formula or suggest you have a special bond simply because you Boyfriend or Best Friend (not you personally) i find that insulting. It comes off as suggesting youre better for BFing. And thats mostly becausethe stigma of breast is best. So i dont agree with drilling that theory. 

Post # 70
Member
894 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

@gpsp2B:  And yet even with the stigma of breast is best, in the United States the percentage of women breastfeeding are:

Birth: 76% in 2012

6 months: 47% in 2012

12 months: 25% in 2012

Seems to me that even though our breastfeeding propaganda is supposedly all over, the breastfeeding rates are not to really show for it. It’s recommended to breastfeed until at least 2 years of age according to the WHO. I don’t see that happening here.

Post # 72
Member
894 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

@classyashley:  Again, you’re putting your faith in one badly executed, biased article. Until the health organizations around the world start to back up this “research” that breastfeeding isn’t better than formula, I’ll stick to the massive amount of research that says it is.

Post # 73
Member
1621 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@classyashley:  As many PPs have pointed out, one study (which has already had it’s legitimacy questioned) doesn’t refute decades of research supporting the physiological benefits of breastfeeding and/or breastmilk.

Also:

1. breast milk is, in fact, physiologically “best”.  “Best” is a relative term denoting better than the comparison, ie. formula.  Thus, we should be able to accept that from a physiological standpoint, breast milk is the ideal food for newborns/babies.  And at the same time….

2. that doesn’t negate other ways of feeding, nor does it give anyone the right to judge others for their own personal choices.  And most of all……

3.  physiology is not the only parameter that should be considered.  The wellness of the woman, the baby, the dyad relationship, the rest of the family, finances….all of these play a role.  How breastfeeding or not-breastfeeding fits into the bigger picture of the woman and baby’s wellbeing is the most important thing to remember, which means that although breast milk is the ideal food in general, it may not be the best choice for any particular woman.

4. women who can’t/don’t want to breastfeed should not feel guilty nor shamed and anyone that does guilt and shame them is an asshole.  Life isn’t perfect, mothers aren’t perfect, child-rearing is damn hard work and we should all support each other in every way we can.  Maybe the woman who breastfed her child for 2 years now gives that same child McDonald’s three times a week….there is always the opportunity for judgement if we seek it.  The point is, we shouldn’t.

Post # 74
Member
691 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@cdncinnamongirl:  +1 People on both sides need to remember that “best” is a relative term …….

Post # 75
Member
1589 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

@quierajen:  well I work, so I just wouldn’t be able to bf for two years. I imagine many moms work full time. And I’d rather formula feed and work than quit my job, breast feed and end up homeless.

Post # 76
Member
1472 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

@quierajen:  Incidentally my SIL lives in Bothell and was able to successfully feed her twins on donated milk. The network in your area seems particularly awesome.

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