Kristin Van Ogtrop, Managing Editor
REAL SIMPLE, Time & Life Building
New York, NY 10020-1393.
Dear Ms. Van Ogtrop,
My jaw dropped when I read your article "20 Rules to Break Now" in the recent edition of Real Simple Magazine. What cave has your so-called "expert" been living in for the past twenty years? He has obviously not read any of the scientific literature on breastfeeding for years, if ever. The worst thing that can happen to a baby who is not breastfed is death. The National Institute of Environmental Health has found that four out of every 1000 babies born in this country will die because they were not breastfed, from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or disease.
Serious illness comes next on the list. A multitude of scientific studies have demonstrated that babies fed artificial baby milk are more likely to suffer from cancer both as children and as adults; develop Type I diabetes, Crohn's disease, allergies, asthma, ear infections, diarrhea, bacterial meningitis, rheumatoid arthritis, night blindness, necrotizing colitis, and osteoporosis, to name a few. Speaking of serious illness, breastfeeding also lessens a mother's chances of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, and osteoporosis.
The Surgeon General of the United States has identified increasing the dismally low rates of breastfeeding in this country as one of the most important public health challenges we face as a nation. See http://www.4woman.gov/breastfeeding
By equating the risks of not breastfeeding with the risks of swallowing chewing gum or drinking red wine with fish, your magazine trivializes this vital public health issue and directly contributes to the risks of illness and death American babies face when their mothers read and believe such falsehoods.
By the way, my 11 month old is happily nursing as I write to you. Although we had a rocky start breastfeeding, I persevered because I knew how important it was both to his health and to mine. I am thankful I did not come across an article like yours when I was struggling in the early months, and I can only hope that other mothers who might be struggling with breastfeeding do not believe the lies you have printed and give up.
I picked up your magazine for the first and last time at my local Whole Foods. I will be writing to them asking them to drop your magazine from their racks, and I can guarantee you I won't be buying your magazine again.
Jane Davenport McClintock