New WHO code adopted in 3rd world, but not here yet. - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 79 Old 06-24-2010, 10:54 AM
 
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Interestingly, there are now pseudo-warning labels on chocolate bars in the UK I think (saying to enjoy responsibly or something like that - I ate one for breakfast while flying through Heathrow so maybe a UK Mama can contribute), in Canada there are warning labels on wine etc for pregnant Mamas, and our cigarette packs have major warning labels on them with pictures. So some countries are already moving in this direction.

I would (immediately) like to see a warning label on powdered formula saying that it is not sterile and to kill pathogenic bacteria it must be mixed with hot water. I guess that is a different issue though

But getting back to the original post, I would like to see Canada pass the Code into law. It would not affect the availability of formula, so babies would be safe from the carnation milk/corn syrup mix of old, but it would severely limit marketing - which has got to help.
I haven't seen any warning labels on wine, but they do have them on the paper bags the wine goes in at the liquor store. They also have them here in bathroom stalls.

For babies that require it, formula is food, not an unnecessary recreational substance. It's tricky when you start getting into food. If it's so bad for us, why does it exist? Because we're not in the business of disposing of free will in North America.

FTR, I wouldn't be opposed to warning labels on nacho cheez or chocolate bars, but I'm betting those that manufacture them would.

I would also love to see WHO code be brought into law with advertising and marketing restrictions. I would not be on board with outright health warning labels on infant formula. I would love to see it being treated more like a pharmaceutical than an equivalent to human milk.

I really do think we have to move away from advocating breastfeeding by vilifying formula. I also think that we need to stop the "breast is best" stuff. Breast is normal. It's not special, exceptional or superior. It's plain, old, default normal and that is how it should be. Formula was made for exceptional circumstances and special cases and not the other way around.

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#62 of 79 Old 06-24-2010, 11:06 AM
 
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It wouldn't be YOU setting your child up for it. If breastfeeding isn't a choice, why would you feel like a bad mom? It wouldn't be your fault. It would be the result of a situation out of your control.


I'm not talking about saying "formula is terrible." I'm not talking about using emotionally charged phrasing or accusations. I'm talking about straightforward factual statements such as "Formula fed children are X percent more likely to develop Y disease than breastfed children." This is information that mothers are entitled to, even if it's upsetting to those who can't avoid the risks.

When you're a little less tired, I hope you'll re-read the section of the article that addresses the guilt factor.
I think this just hits home a little bit for me. Since getting pregnant my supply has decreased a bunch. Yes, my son is 14mo...but I'm probably going to have to wean him soon. (Partially for my own sanity) It's been a depressing few months because I feel terrible. No, I'm not putting him on formula, but I know that the cow's milk we give him (even though it's raw) isn't nearly as good.

I also have a really good friend that BF'd her first daughter for a few months and then quit because she couldn't handle it emotionally/mentally. She's a bit OCD and had an oversupply problem...the mess was too much for her. She didn't even try to BF her second daughter. She's very proBFing and uses my nursing DS as a chance to explain it to her kids. She still feels a bit guilty about it. I can't imagine telling her "Oh, by the way, there's a chance your DD2 is overweight because you didnt' even try to BF" even though it's true.

I know you said not using emotionally charged statements...but when you start talking about people's kids and parenting choices EVERYTHING becomes emotionally charged. When I discuss stats on home birth vs hospital birth there's a hint of emotion behind what I say...and people that disagree get emotional about it. There is no way to present formula as "bad" without hurting feelings. I don't think that's the way we're going to win people over to BF.

Kas (24), Helpmeet to Stefan (25), Mom to Franklin Gaudelio 4/15/09, Jonathan Boswell 1/2/11
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#63 of 79 Old 06-24-2010, 11:18 AM
 
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Kas. It is emotionally charged, and I don't think we help anyone when we pretend it isn't. And this is why I think it's going to take a long-term, systemic change, not just some quickie "let's ban the formula" fix.

Imagine if breastfeeding was the norm. Imagine if women grew up seeing other women breastfeed. Imagine if a woman couldn't breastfeed, there was no stigma or ick factor about cross-nursing or milk donation or milk bands. Imagine if the world was set up to accomodate nursing mothers and babies, not just with comfy chairs and pumping rooms and adequate breaktime, but with respect for what important work it is. Imagine if the default assumption was that a woman was breastfeeding and the stuff in the bottle was breastmilk. Imagine if all the energy that gets directed towards punishing and ridiculing and judging nursing mothers was instead spent in a more positive manner.

I imagine, in that scenario (where yes, there are unicorns and bunnies and my path is strewn with rose petals) that the mom who then does need to... or yes, even choose to... formula feed would not be met with judgment because the assumption would be that if she wasn't breastfeeding, it was for a darned good reason. We could ditch the mommy wars and the silent judgment of whether or not someone's reason or "excuse" was good enough, because we would know that all the information was out there and we would trust that the mother who chose to formula feed had her own good reasons for doing so. And we would know it was none of our business.

The secret to my little fantasy world is getting factual information out there before babies are even born. Heck, before the babies are even a twinkle in their mama's eye. We need to have a breastfeeding culture, and that's not going to happen by vilifying formula. But we also need to stop seeing factual information as some sort of guilt-inducing club to beat moms over the head with. Facts are facts. What if you had to have a surgery that would save your life, but had some pretty potentially bad risks? Would you want your surgeon to not tell you them because he was afraid of making you feel bad? I think we need to view facts on formula the same way. I don't think we need to go out of our way to make mamas feel like crap, but there's got to be some way to get the information out there that the choice between formula and breastmilk isn't like choosing coke or pepsi, paper or plastic. I'm not sure how to do that without making everyone feel awful though. I think the only way to do it is to not wait until a mama is holding a baby in her arms to have the conversation.

Sorry for babbling. I have strong thoughts both ways. I believe breastmilk is perfect nutrition for baby and the biological norm. On the other hand, I believe that there's so much mommy guilt floating around and I really have no desire to add to it.

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#64 of 79 Old 06-24-2010, 11:34 AM
 
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And now that you've spent time writing this...I'm going to cut it to little pieces so I don't have to quote your novel :P

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Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
Kas. It is emotionally charged, and I don't think we help anyone when we pretend it isn't. And this is why I think it's going to take a long-term, systemic change, not just some quickie "let's ban the formula" fix.

Imagine if breastfeeding was the norm.
Imagine if all the energy that gets directed towards punishing and ridiculing and judging nursing mothers was instead spent in a more positive manner.

I imagine, in that scenario (where yes, there are unicorns and bunnies and my path is strewn with rose petals) that the mom who then does need to... or yes, even choose to... formula feed would not be met with judgment because the assumption would be that if she wasn't breastfeeding, it was for a darned good reason. We could ditch the mommy wars and the silent judgment of whether or not someone's reason or "excuse" was good enough, because we would know that all the information was out there and we would trust that the mother who chose to formula feed had her own good reasons for doing so. And we would know it was none of our business.

The secret to my little fantasy world is getting factual information out there before babies are even born.
I think the only way to do it is to not wait until a mama is holding a baby in her arms to have the conversation.

Sorry for babbling. I have strong thoughts both ways. I believe breastmilk is perfect nutrition for baby and the biological norm. On the other hand, I believe that there's so much mommy guilt floating around and I really have no desire to add to it.
That's why I said we need to start with the new generation. Make BFing part of what's taught in biology classes across the country. Maybe even have the kids make "formula" in chemistry class so they KNOW what's in it. I really don't think we're going to change the people that are set in their ways. We're just going to make them feel guilty.

You said, "And we would know it was none of our business." I still don't think it is NOW. We can't know who was given the facts and who wasn't. We don't know who made an informed choice and who just went along with bad advice. I prefer to assume that the mother knew the risks.

And with mommy guilt: I've seen more than one thread around here where moms say they feel horrible about having to do formula and very judged by BFing moms. It's part of the reason I always assume there's a reason for a bottle.

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#65 of 79 Old 06-24-2010, 11:42 AM
 
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That's why I said we need to start with the new generation. Make BFing part of what's taught in biology classes across the country. Maybe even have the kids make "formula" in chemistry class so they KNOW what's in it.
Great ideas!

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You said, "And we would know it was none of our business." I still don't think it is NOW. We can't know who was given the facts and who wasn't. We don't know who made an informed choice and who just went along with bad advice. I prefer to assume that the mother knew the risks.
Well, I don't think it's any of my business, but no, I don't assume the mother knows the risks. In a society where doctors push formula and don't acknowledge the importance of breastmilk, I have no faith that people are being given real, factual information. I've been working with new moms for ten years now and the information they're given by so-called medical professionals in horrible. I still don't think it's my place to judge, but I know women are being given crap info and advice and that needs to change.
The status quo is just not working. Breastfeeding initiation rates are up, but when moms go home they aren't being supported to continue.

The whole guilt thing is another quandary though-- I don't know if it's a productive emotion or not. There have been times I've been guilted and changed into a change and there have been times that guilt just makes me feel like crap and dig in my heels out of pure spite. Again, that's why I think it's important for the info to start waaaaaaay before a baby is here.

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#66 of 79 Old 06-24-2010, 11:50 AM
 
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Infant formula is vastly inferior to human milk, but it's still the best thing for infants when breastmilk isn't available in sufficient quantity.

I would love to see a ban on all formula ADVERTIZING, including TV and magazine ads, free samples (to doctors and to families directly) and coupons.

However, I see a few possible outcomes to banning formula:

1) Babies who aren't breastfed (or aren't fully breastfed) will be fed inferior things, such as solids too soon, inadequate homemade formulas (such as canned milk and corn syrup), or plain cow's milk.

2) Formula companies will switch to promoting "toddler formulas" that are nutritionally equivilent to current infant formulas but exempt from the "infant formula" guidelines.

If you make breastmilk "prescription only", I see a host of more problems:

1) All new moms will get formula prescriptions "just in case", and that will result in even more pressure on new moms to formula feed. "The doctor gave me the presription so the baby MUST need it!"

2) Babies who need formula suddenly (working mom not pumping enough, or true cases of inadequate supply) may end up fed whole cow's milk or solids too early, as listed above.

3) Prescriptions for drugs specify what drug and what quantity- it would say "amoxocillin" not "antibiotic." If the prescription isn't for enough formula, the baby might be fed something substandard to fill in the gaps. Prescription formula would require a doctor's co-operation in trying out a bunch of different formulas to find one the baby tolerates, and the baby is screwed if the doctor doesn't want to bother writing a new prescription or doesn't beleive the parents when they suspect an intolerance.

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#67 of 79 Old 06-24-2010, 11:56 AM
 
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The whole guilt thing is another quandary though-- I don't know if it's a productive emotion or not. There have been times I've been guilted and changed into a change and there have been times that guilt just makes me feel like crap and dig in my heels out of pure spite. Again, that's why I think it's important for the info to start waaaaaaay before a baby is here.
I studied a bit of advertising when I worked a photography studio...one thing I found was guilt is NOT the best emotion to use to get people to act. You want to make it an attractive choice. I think what we need to start doing is showing how BFing benefits MOM, not just baby. It's the "what's in it for me" approach. Because we're still fighting against how taboo BFing is we need to show that it really isn't easier or better than formula FOR THE MOTHER. Right now moms are being told that there's a tiny difference between formula and BM but you have to run to the bathroom or fight with a blanket to BF, so why not choose formula?

I'm rambling.

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#68 of 79 Old 06-24-2010, 11:59 AM
 
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I studied a bit of advertising when I worked a photography studio...one thing I found was guilt is NOT the best emotion to use to get people to act. You want to make it an attractive choice. I think what we need to start doing is showing how BFing benefits MOM, not just baby. It's the "what's in it for me" approach. Because we're still fighting against how taboo BFing is we need to show that it really isn't easier or better than formula FOR THE MOTHER. Right now moms are being told that there's a tiny difference between formula and BM but you have to run to the bathroom or fight with a blanket to BF, so why not choose formula?

I'm rambling.
But that backfires when a mom comes up against problems and suddenly it isn't easier to breastfeed. Or we tell a mom how much healthier Baby will be and then baby has 6 ear infections in the first five months, like my first. Or we tell a mom she'll lose weight, and she doesn't. Guilt may not be an effective way to sell photographs, but it did seem to help to get parents to use carseats and moms to stop smoking and drinking while pregnant. I still don't know that I like it, but for some things, it works.

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#69 of 79 Old 06-24-2010, 12:00 PM
 
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But that backfires when a mom comes up against problems and suddenly it isn't easier to breastfeed. Or we tell a mom how much healthier Baby will be and then baby has 6 ear infections in the first five months, like my first. Or we tell a mom she'll lose weight, and she doesn't. Guilt may not be an effective way to sell photographs, but it did seem to help to get parents to use carseats and moms to stop smoking and drinking while pregnant. I still don't know that I like it, but for some things, it works.
I guess I just don't like guilt used as a tool (or weapon)...but that goes with my history as well.

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#70 of 79 Old 06-24-2010, 12:04 PM
 
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I guess I just don't like guilt used as a tool (or weapon)...but that goes with my history as well.
Me either, same reasons (history).

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#71 of 79 Old 06-24-2010, 12:05 PM
 
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That's why I said we need to start with the new generation. Make BFing part of what's taught in biology classes across the country. Maybe even have the kids make "formula" in chemistry class so they KNOW what's in it. I really don't think we're going to change the people that are set in their ways. We're just going to make them feel guilty.
I think this belongs more in Health class than Science class. Start with kindergarten "babies grow in their mothers's uteruses, then drink milk from mom's breasts or a bottle after the baby is born." Explain that human milk is perfect for baby humans, and that formula is "almost as good" or "OK" for babies too.

Then around puberty, kids of both sexes should learn that women grow breasts so they can make milk to feed their babies, along with an introduction to menstruation, body hair, etc.

Breastfeeding should come up in all discussions of human sexuality. The fact that drugs can pass into the breastmilk of nursing moms should be included in the "drug awareness" section of health class.

I'm pretty sure that the concept of species-specific milk is already part of the biology curriculum.

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#72 of 79 Old 06-24-2010, 12:06 PM
 
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Again, I think we need to stop trying to change the current generation and focus on the next generation... Kids that are taught all about BFing in school will be prepared when/if their parents say, "Well, we formula fed you" or "It's so much easier" or "There's no difference"

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#73 of 79 Old 06-24-2010, 12:22 PM
 
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I think this just hits home a little bit for me. Since getting pregnant my supply has decreased a bunch. Yes, my son is 14mo...but I'm probably going to have to wean him soon. (Partially for my own sanity) It's been a depressing few months because I feel terrible. No, I'm not putting him on formula, but I know that the cow's milk we give him (even though it's raw) isn't nearly as good.


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I can't imagine telling her "Oh, by the way, there's a chance your DD2 is overweight because you didnt' even try to BF" even though it's true.
No, saying something like that would probably do more harm than good at this point. The idea is to give people the information *before* they choose formula.

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There is no way to present formula as "bad" without hurting feelings. I don't think that's the way we're going to win people over to BF.
I wish I could explain what I'm trying to say. It's not about villifying formula. I just think that people have a RIGHT to know that one option has a higher risk of diseases than the other. They have a right to know it and they don't know it. I really think it should be on the package.

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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#74 of 79 Old 06-24-2010, 12:51 PM
 
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But we also need to stop seeing factual information as some sort of guilt-inducing club to beat moms over the head with. Facts are facts. What if you had to have a surgery that would save your life, but had some pretty potentially bad risks? Would you want your surgeon to not tell you them because he was afraid of making you feel bad? I think we need to view facts on formula the same way. I don't think we need to go out of our way to make mamas feel like crap, but there's got to be some way to get the information out there that the choice between formula and breastmilk isn't like choosing coke or pepsi
Yeah that. That's what I was trying to say.

If your child NEEDED a certain medicine, you wouldn't think that you *shouldn't* be informed that it can cause liver damage, right? That wouldn't just make you feel guilty, would it? Wouldn't you just think of it as information that you have a right to have? This is about informed choice. That's all it is. It isn't fair to mothers or children to allow a decision to be made without important information. Or suppose the child does *not* absolutely need the medicine. The mother should have the chance to decide "I don't want to increase my child's risk of liver disease. It's not worth it. I'm not going to give him this medicine." She shouldn't feel guilty if she IS given the information. She should feel furious if she ISN'T given the information!

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I think the only way to do it is to not wait until a mama is holding a baby in her arms to have the conversation.
That, too.

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I believe that there's so much mommy guilt floating around and I really have no desire to add to it.
I agree. I don't want to add to it either. I guess I'm looking at the long-term. If an informative/cautionary label on formula convinces a mother not to buy it but to breastfeed instead, then she will be spared the future regret of not breastfeeding if/when she does find out the health consequences. So I guess the way I look at it is that labels could actually lead to a reduction of feelings of guilt in the long run. But however the labels would make mothers feel, I think it is of overriding importance that we are dealing with children's life-long health and we must not allow emotionalism to interfere with full disclosure/informed choice.

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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This is SO long... although I do agree with warning labels but I think we should lean toward the 'warning' of gambling.

'Supplementation of the infant may cause a decrease in the mother's breastmilk supply. If you are experiencing any problems with breastfeeding please call the LLL's free telephone help line at XXX-XXX-XXXX' (or whoever has a telephone help line... someone does right?)

I hope that's enough to make someone think twice but not enough to be a 'put down' or 'scare tactic'.

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#76 of 79 Old 06-24-2010, 01:23 PM
 
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You said, "And we would know it was none of our business." I still don't think it is NOW. We can't know who was given the facts and who wasn't. We don't know who made an informed choice and who just went along with bad advice. I prefer to assume that the mother knew the risks.
That's sort of turning a blind eye to the problem, though. The truth is that most of the time the mother did not know the risks. I think that the fact that most mothers aren't given the information about the risks but instead are told that formula is just as good or practically as good IS society's business. I simply think we owe it to mothers to make sure they *are* informed of the risks before they make their decision. We have to create a world in which *every* mother's choice is an informed choice -- by making sure all mothers are provided with all the facts before they choose how to feed their baby.

I'm not talking about using guilt as a weapon, I'm talking about using complete information as an essential component of proper decision making about a very important health issue.

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I think this belongs more in Health class than Science class.
I think it belongs in both.

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Start with kindergarten "babies grow in their mothers's uteruses, then drink milk from mom's breasts or a bottle after the baby is born." Explain that human milk is perfect for baby humans, and that formula is "almost as good" or "OK" for babies too.
The problem with that is that formula is NOT almost as good. I would not want my child to be taught in a neutral way that babies are born and then drink either from a breast or a bottle as if it's normal and natural for there to be two different feeding methods and babies are fed one way or the other and that's the way it is and the assumption is that it's fine. I'm horrified by the idea of my child being taught that in school, as if it isn't bad enough that that's the message my child is given by society and the media. Normalize bottles for kindergarteners? That's the opposite of what we need. The truth is that mammals grow in their mother's uteruses and then drink milk from mom's breast, and humans are the only species that use bottles, and the fact that the majority of babies are given bottles when the medical necessity is only about 3% is NOT "okay." Formula companies would love it if all kindergarteners were taught that formula is almost as good as being breastfed.

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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#77 of 79 Old 06-24-2010, 01:45 PM
 
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I hope that's enough to make someone think twice but not enough to be a 'put down' or 'scare tactic'.
Again, I don't see the label I proposed as a put down or a scare tactic. It's just information.

Suppose 3% of children couldn't tolerate fruits or vegetables. Suppose someone invented some sort of genetically engineered or artificial fruits or vegetables. They aren't as nutritious, and eating them instead of real natural fruit increases the chances of getting this and that disease by this and that amount, but the children who can't tolerate real fruit can tolerate the artificial fruit so it's better for them than nothing. Now suppose everyone including doctors starts telling all mothers that the artificial food is healthy, and 50% of children start being fed the artificial fruit instead of natural fruit. The fact that eating the artificial fruit in place of real fruit causes an increased risk of disease SHOULD BE PUT ON THE LABEL!

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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#78 of 79 Old 06-24-2010, 02:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
I think this belongs more in Health class than Science class. Start with kindergarten "babies grow in their mothers's uteruses, then drink milk from mom's breasts or a bottle after the baby is born." Explain that human milk is perfect for baby humans, and that formula is "almost as good" or "OK" for babies too.

Then around puberty, kids of both sexes should learn that women grow breasts so they can make milk to feed their babies, along with an introduction to menstruation, body hair, etc.

Breastfeeding should come up in all discussions of human sexuality. The fact that drugs can pass into the breastmilk of nursing moms should be included in the "drug awareness" section of health class.

I'm pretty sure that the concept of species-specific milk is already part of the biology curriculum.
I also think it belongs in both. I mean, species-specific milk is discussed...but humans weren't mentioned at my school. The health benefits of BFing were never discussed. There's also lots of really cool aspects that I learned about later (like, if baby comes in contact with a pathogen and BFs it travels up and into the breast and mom instantly starts making antibodies to be available next session. That's freaking awesome.) There are a lot of biological aspects that could be discussed. (Why a breast reduction can hurt BFing. The supply and demand aspect.) It shouldn't just be limited to health class. Health class, at my school, was a half credit blow off course. Biology was a "core" class and taken more seriously....not even the teachers took health class seriously. So I think Biology is a better place for it. I think learning how a mom makes milk, how things (like drugs) pass into the BM, how nursing on demand is a good thing, etc...will really make an impact. Not to mention all of the photos of a mom nursing that would be involved! (Normalizing NIP)

Kas (24), Helpmeet to Stefan (25), Mom to Franklin Gaudelio 4/15/09, Jonathan Boswell 1/2/11
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#79 of 79 Old 06-24-2010, 04:55 PM
 
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I don't think we need to go out of our way to make mamas feel like crap, but there's got to be some way to get the information out there that the choice between formula and breastmilk isn't like choosing coke or pepsi, paper or plastic. I'm not sure how to do that without making everyone feel awful though. I think the only way to do it is to not wait until a mama is holding a baby in her arms to have the conversation..


let's keep working towards it.
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