There are many ways that the government has stepped in to try to encourage new mothers to breastfeed. New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg made headlines recently because he wanted to “lock away” formula in hospitals so that new mothers would be more likely to breastfeed their new baby rather than formula feed. If the new mom asks for formula, they are given a lecture from nurses on the benefits of breastfeeding before actually being given formula.
The mayor was under scrutiny for his way of forcing new moms who chose to formula feed to feel inadequate for doing so. Suddenly Mayor Bloomberg’s tactics don’t seem so demeaning compared to the way new parents in Australia are being told about the benefits of breastfeeding. Expectant parents that attended the Australian Breastfeeding Association’s (ABA) breastfeeding class were told that baby formula is “like AIDS.”
A leading counselor at the ABA told expectant parents, ”Nobody actually dies from AIDS; what happens is AIDS destroys your immune system and then you just die of anything and that’s what happens with formula. It provides no antibodies.”
Yes, they compared the food that many parents choose to feed their baby during the first year of life (and sometimes longer) to an auto-immune disease that causes severe damage to the immune system. And if you thought that was bad, the parents were also told that a baby died “every 30 seconds” from formula feeding.
“Every 30 seconds a baby dies from infections due to a lack of breastfeeding and the use of bottles, artificial milks and other risky products. Every 30 seconds,” the counselor mentioned.
Talk about a scare tactic. A completely false and absolutely insane scare tactic. We all know that there are far more benefits from breastmilk than there are from formula, but they didn’t have to tell parents that formula would essentially kill their baby. There are many mothers who aren’t physically capable of breastfeeding. Can you imagine the horror of new mothers who realized they couldn’t breastfeed after attending one of these classes? They probably felt as if they were handing their child a death certificate.
Clearly that counselor of the ABA is misinformed. Australian physicians seem to think so too. The Royal Australasian College of Physicians released a statement shortly after hearing what these expectant parents were being told and said the baby mortality cited was “certainly not true in Australia” and could be “highly frightening” for new parents. You think?
The Australian Breastfeeding Association is also launching an investigation against the comments that were told to parents. The president of the association called the comments “inappropriate” and that the counselor “acted out of the instructions and guidelines given.”
I’m glad that other counselors from the association see how crazy her comments were. But what about all of those new moms that she’s helped before, telling them those horrible things about formula? They better act fast and get the correct statements out about breastfeeding and formula feeding. We don’t need misinformed parents freaking out over the choice to feed their child formula.
It’s their choice, they don’t need to be scared out of it.
More from Lauren on Baby’s First Year:
Read more from Lauren at her personal blog, A Mommy in the City, where she chronicles her life living in New York City with a suburban mentality. For more updates, follow Lauren on Facebook and Twitter! Check out more of Lauren’s Babble posts at Being Pregnant and Baby’s First Year
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