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Take Breastfeeding Off the Pedestal

Take Breastfeeding Off the Pedestal


Breastfeeding is not special; it is normal. This natural behavior of all mammals has health benefits for mother and child, but is not without challenges. Let's put it in perspective.

With all the discussions about “breast is best,” we’d like to present a different perspective.

Breastfeeding is not special; it is normal. Human beings are mammals and mammals, after pregnancy, lactate. There is nothing special about it, it’s just natural.

Realizing that breastfeeding is normal and not special helps put things in perspective. It is true that breastfed babies have health benefits over formula fed babies. It is formula feeding that puts babies at increased risk of certain infections and illnesses.

Breast milk is sometimes called “Baby’s First Immunization.” However, breast milk is not a magical potion and cannot protect babies from every ailment that comes along. Do not forego modern medicine because your baby is breastfeeding. Breast milk cannot prevent polio, tetanus, measles or other vaccine preventable illnesses.

There is always so much focus on the health of babies and breastfeeding, but what about moms? After pregnancy, a woman’s body is EXPECTED to lactate. Again, this is natural for all mammals and is part of the physiologic process that helps reset the female body after giving birth. In a sense, if you turn off lactation, you are not allowing the body to “reset” and you are putting it at risk. Women who do not lactate are at increased risk of obesity, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.



While breastfeeding is always a personal choice, it is important for women and their doctors to fully appreciate the health implications of skipping lactation and breastfeeding after pregnancy.

So, take breast milk and lactation off the pedestal and give them the support they deserve. They are normal and expected parts of a healthy life.

 

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Author:

Allied Physicians Group (alliedphysiciansgroup.com) is a partnership of more than 100 dedicated, caring pediatricians at the top of their field, with around 500 highly trained support staff. Practices are located throughout Long Island, New York City, Westchester, and the Hudson Valley.

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