Friday, November 13, 2009

Formula has Risks

The slogan , "Breast is Best" over the last several years has formula companies comparatively recommending their product as a close second. Why anybody would choose to start their child on second best is interesting (I certainly understand those who are physically unable to breast feed). As Naturopathic Doctors promote patient education, informed choice in cases like this is what is important. I was surprised to learn in Maternal/Newborn Care today that most Medical schools have no training (zero hours) in their curriculum on breastfeeding. What was possibly even more surprising was the statistics on the percent of mothers who breastfed in Canada. In some provinces, only 65% of mothers attempted to initiate breastfeeding and only 20% exclusively breastfed until their child was 1 month old (BC is doing something right here as it's rates are substantially higher than this).

Research negating the benefits of breast feeding may include babies who have ever breastfed (even for a week) instead of comparing those who exclusively breastfed with those who were bottle fed. However, the evidence is now confirming what advocates have maintained for years that bottle feeding has risks. There is a growing body of research demonstrating increased rates of asthma, obesity, type 1 diabetes and even ulcerative colitis.

Note: Here in Toronto, as a result of the recent H1N1 pandemonium, the public breastfeeding support clinics were taken over as flu screening or vaccination clinics leaving new mothers who would access those clinics without any support. Certainly a situation without a perfect solution.

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