No matter what playground or mommy group I belong to there is always a mom who wants to argue about breastfeeding. The ones who want to argue are always for it.
On behalf of the pregnant women who are usually the targets of the unsolicited advice, I politely ask these advocates, “How do you know?”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
The answer is they don’t. They can’t. There is no way anyone can prove breastfeeding is better.
Look at the studies, they say.
Well, moms, I’ve looked at the studies and, at best, they’re inconclusive.
The only way you’ll be able to prove it is if you have two or more of the exact same babies raised in the exact same womb conditions and released into the exact same environments under the exact same circumstances with the exact same attention. Then only one is fed breast milk while the other is fed formula or other milk. A scientific note: you’ll need many, many sets of these genetically identical babies to prove your case.
La Leche League points to a study in the Philippines that shows that, "Deaths from respiratory infections and diarrhea were eight to ten times higher in babies who were artificially fed than in those who were even partially breastfed for six months.” What were the other babies drinking? Travel advisories to the Philippines say that it is recommended that you boil tap water for at least 5 minutes just to be safe or risk contracting amoebiasis.” Were those moms using bottled water with their formula? Were they absolutely certain that their babies never touched tap water? Test those babies with Nutragamin mixed with bottled water, then call me.
And I assume this is their best test or why is it the one they’d lead with?
For my test, I would choose to compare breast milk to Nutragamin, considered to be the gold standard of formula, which most babies can digest just fine. A few more dead babies aren’t needed to prove the spiked formula from China just isn’t cutting it.
Supposedly breast-fed babies also “have a decreased likelihood for allergies and dental caries. They also benefit from appropriate jaw, teeth and speech development as well as overall facial development.” In other words, babies who are artificially fed “may experience more trips to doctors and dentists.”
Notice the word “may” in there. Did they have a control for pacifiers and candy? Did they rule out moms who fed their kids orange juice in a bottle before putting them to bed without brushing their teeth?
The only arguments I will concede to is: human milk is delivered without excess packaging or processing and thus contributes to the health of our planet. And, yes, breast-feeding moms can feed their babies when normal supplies of food and water are not available. But when a mom driving a Cadillac Escalade SUV delivers this news, I’m only going to laugh.
Will you point to your child and say, “I breastfed him until he was 2 and a half and he’s only had two colds in his whole life.” I breastfed mine for like 2 seconds before I decided it wasn’t for me and Penelope has also only had two colds. Will you tell me I dropped her IQ a couple of points? Prove it. She’s happy, secure, height/weight appropriate, healthy, and never the subject of a breast-feeding study.
By the way, i am neither for nor against breast feeding. I am for whatever a mom decides when there's no real contrary evidence otherwise. Jack Daniels is bad for the baby whether it comes through bottle or breast.