The breast is best message is getting out, but researchers have found the backlash against bottlefeeding isn’t just on the front lines of mommy wars. It’s inside the hospitals, where medical professionals are ignoring bottlefeeding moms in favor of women willing to whip out a nipple to their newborn.
The study which appeared this week in the Archives of Disease in Childhood journal originated in England and was meant to address the issues bottlefed babies can encounter . . . specifically when bottlefeeding is not done correctly. Because believe it or not, breastfeeding isn’t the only confusing way to go.
Bottlefeeders need to know – fast flow or slow flow nipple? Milk-based formula or soy? Are they eating too little? Too much? Does the bottle have to be cold? Too warm? Is bacteria breeding in that bottle?
Mothers are reporting hospital staff spent less time with them than their breastfeeding counterparts, and bottlefeeders reported getting less of an education in the art of bottlefeeding. And that, in turn, the research shows, has had a long-term affect on the health of the babies.
I’m going to make a giant leap here – but could this perhaps be the source of some of the disparities between breast and bottle studies? I’m all for breastfeeding, but with my own very unscientific look at bottlefed kids vs. breastfed kids, I can tell you the numbers quoted all the time hardly apply to all. Breastfed babies are healthier? Tell that to the mom who breastfed for a year and whose son constantly has double ear infections . . . and the mom who bottlefed from two weeks on and has never taken her daughter to a pediatrician for a non-well-care visit.
There’s no doubt breastfeeding has immense benefits, but this study goes far in pointing that some of those poor outcomes touted in studies of the bottlefed could have a root far from the formula itself.
Of course, I’ll come back to what I’ve always said about the bottle vs. breast debate: is anyone going to know which kid was which when a bottle-starter sits next to a breast-starter in kindergarten? Would it matter?
We all want to give our kids the best start at life . . . it would be nice if healthcare professionals would step and assist.