For too long, repairing breastfeeding has been a test of maternal determination, rather than an integral part of reproductive health care. That needs to change…
Too many clinicians treat the lactating breast as a hot potato, leaving moms and babies lodged in the gap between pediatric, obstetric and lactation specialists. In an era where public health campaigns urge all mothers to breastfeed, we need to urge all health professionals treat breastfeeding management as an integral part of health care.
A new study by Colen and Ramey has been getting a lot of buzz: they argue that the long-term effects of breastfeeding have been exaggerated. In their study they looked at discordant siblings, pairs in which one child was breastfed and another was not
They found that the effects of breastfeeding were attenuated and that statistical significance evaporated.
As I’ve been writing this post in my head, it’s been getting longer and longer. I am going to compel myself to be brief, and I also need to be clear that I don’t yet have the full text of the paper. I’ll report back when I get it. A few considerations:
1. Breastfeeding is not important because it is The Magic Elixir That Prevents All Ills. Breastfeeding is important because it has modest but statistically robust effects across a surprisingly large number of domains. Don’t go looking for big effect sizes in long-term breastfeeding studies.
I’ve compiled a list of phrases that are often used when a mom is experiencing pain or other difficulties during breastfeeding. I will try to show you why they are inaccurate and how knowing them before you talk to your doctor can be empowering.
Mothers who expressed a strong intent to breastfeed did so far less when their babies received formula. Research shows that these mothers are less likely to fully breastfeed their babies in the second month of life and more likely to quit breastfeeding early, even if they had hoped to breastfeed longer. While previous studies have examined the relationship between formula use and breastfeeding, some have questioned the results, wondering if mothers using formula were simply less committed to breastfeeding. To examine this objection, this team surveyed expectant mothers to determine their intentions toward breastfeeding and then followed them closely after delivery to see how they fared.
The emergence of autism in young children appears to result from dysmyelination of brain neurons, related to inadequate supply of insulin-like growth factor (IGF) in the newborn. The deficiency of IGF in affected infants may be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors yet to be determined. If this hypothesis is correct, breastfeeding in particular could increase IGF levels, thereby compensating for an inborn deficiency of the growth factor.