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Monday, January 6, 2014

Breastfeeding Guidelines for Pediatricians

I was recently emailed an article that I wanted to share with the blog readers.
This article was published in Pediatrics : The Official Journal of the Academy of Pediatrics almost a year ago, but as far as I know it is the most up to date recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics to pediatricians. The part that I found the most interesting was the section on the contraindications of breastfeeding(medical reasons why some people should not breastfeed). There were a few very specific conditions where it was unsafe for the mother to be around the child, but even in many of these situations it was still recommended that the child be given expressed breastmilk for his/her health.

No where did it say that children should not be breastfed because of low milk supply. I have heard from so many women that they were unable to breastfeed because of low milk supply. This article seems to indicate that "low milk supply" is medically speaking a non issue. I have heard this in the past from La Leche League leaders, but I was glad to see it from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

I also found the following statistics amazing. This is a direct quote from the article : "It has been calculated that more than 900 infant lives per year may be saved in the United States if 90% of mothers exclusively breastfed for 6 months.

In the 42 developing countries in which 90% of the worlds childhood deaths occur, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and weaning after 1 year is the most effective intervention, with the potential of preventing more than 1 million infant deaths per year, equal to preventing 13% of the worlds childhood mortality. "

When this sort of information is being given to pediatricians, how does it happen that they are still sending mothers home with formula samples and talking about "low milk supply"?  How is it possible that in a literate society like the United States only 13% of children are being exclusively breastfed for 6 months?

The article also contains hopeful information about the goals that are being set to increase breastfeeding in this country and improvements in initial breastfeeding rates. I encourage everyone to read the full article. It contains useful information about a number of health issues that are positively affected  by breastfeeding.

Here is the link to the article: