Good news or bad news first?

Lets do good news…

According to the CDC, we made our goal for Healthy People 2010 in breastfeeding rates.  The goal for breastfeeding was to have a 75% of breastfeeding right after birth and according to the CDC during 2005-2006, we passed the goal with 77%. Way to go U.S.A.!

Figure 1 is a bar chart showing the percent of U.S. infants who were born between 1993 and 2006 who were ever breastfed.

 

Now time for the bad news…

Unfortunately, we didn’t make the cut for our other goals, with Healthy People 2010, in breastfeeding.  For example, one of our other goals in breastfeeding was to have mothers continue breastfeeding at a 50% rate after 6 months of birth.  And again, according to the CDC, no racial group made that goal.  The rates were Mexican-American women had a 40% rate, non-Hispanic white women (35%), and non-Hispanic black women (20%).  Lastly, we didn’t make our goal for breastfeeding after one year either.  According to ABC News article, Racial Disparities Remain in Breastfeeding, our goal was 25% when we only had 21% rate of breastfeeding after one year of birth.

It is interesting to note the differences between the races of people and the rates of breastfeeding:

Figure 2 is a line graph showing the percent of U.S. infants who were born between 1993 and 2006 who were ever breastfed by race and ethnicity.

Why such the racial disparity among non-Hispanic black and Mexican American and non-Hispanic white?  ABC News stated it was because of these contributors: “include lack of culturally relevant information and images of non-Hispanic black women breastfeeding, perceptions that breastfeeding is inferior to formula feeding, non-Hispanic black women returning to work sooner (where support for breastfeeding often is insufficient), lack of social or partner support, and lack of knowledge of the health benefits associated with breastfeeding.”

Now that we have that knowledge, do you think there are other reasons? And how can target non-Hispanic black women?  Being the health promotion major that I am, I would create a program specifically for non-Hispanic black women.  Make knowledge about breastfeeding more prevalent to them and it’s superiority over formula feeding either through advertising or brochures at hospitals.  Just a few ideas…any other ideas as readers?

When researching this topic of whether or not breastfeeding has a relationship with having a smarter babies, it seemed very controversial, well at least according to Google’s search bar.  It was interesting to see all different views of what others thought of heated topic.  Here are a few examples:

Pro (Breastfed Babies are Smarter):  This is an article from ABC News that was covered in December of 2010.  They stated that there had been a study in Australia that proved that breastfed babies were smart.  This study consisted of breastfeeding for 6 months or longer children vs. formula fed children and the breastfed children out-scored their other classmates at age 10.  Interestingly, the results to this study were gender specific and the males scored the best.  The article also further claims that a possible reason behind more intelligence with the breastfed babies is that breast milk includes specific nutrients that aren’t included in formula that is essential to optimal for brain growth.

VS.

Con (Breastfed Babies are NOT Smarter):  This is an article from WebMD in October 2006.  This article explains that they did a study and found that breastfed babies were smarter than formula fed babies but that was only when contributors such as economic status, mother’s IQ, and parent’s education were not taken into consideration.

Both articles did include that even with this idea that breastfeeding makes babies smart, it brings a positive light onto breastfeeding, which breastfeeding is best for the baby’s health.  Also, the ABC News article brought up a great point about breastfeeding:

“‘While breastfeeding can be an important part of your tool kit to attempt to ensure health and wellbeing of your child, there are so many other pieces of the tool kit,’ said Dr. Rahil Briggs, assistant professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and director of the Healthy Steps Program at Montefiore. A healthy pregnancy, a strong parent-child relationship and a stimulating environment are among other important tools, Briggs said.”

Great point Briggs!

When thinking about breastfeeding, instantly I think why pay for milk if my body is producing it?  It just seems smarter economically to breastfeed rather than to formula feed, right?  Especially when at Target formula is going for about twenty dollars for 23 oz. container.

Thanks to this handy article, they were able to break down the cost of breastfeeding and formula feeding.

Cost of breastfeeding my infant for 8 months

Quantity Item Price Total
1 Medela Breastpump $199.00 $199.00
1 Avent Manual Pump $29.99 $29.99
1 Boppy Pillow $19.99 $19.99
5 Nursing Bras $29.20 $146.00
5 Nursing Tops $24.00 (avg) $119.97
1 Lansinoh lanolin ointment $4.99 $4.99
1 MilkMate storage system $10.00 $10.00
2 Platex nurses w/nipples $4.99 $9.98
1 Disposable bottle liners (100) $3.99 $3.99
Total                                                                     $543.91

Estimated cost of formula-feeding my infant for 8 months

Quantity Item Price Total
23[1] Enfamil 2lb powder $22.99 $506.00
6 Platex nurses w/nipples $4.99 $29.94
14 Disposable bottle liners (100) $3.99 $55.86
Total                                                                     $591.80

I don’t know about you, but I was shocked when I saw the costs of both breastfeeding and formula feeding.  It was also shocking to find that breastfeeding was not as cost efficient as I expected.  It would be interesting to figure out the time of each so that you could also put into the effect if a mother was working and how much time would cost her between both feedings.  Although it would definitely vary on the child.

Even though breastfeeding only saves $43.89 (according to the graph above), there is another factor that should help persuade a mother to make those savings, especially a business mother.  According to this ABC News article, we are costing the U.S. 13 billion dollars due to not breastfeeding.  These estimated costs are due to the medical costs of diseases from those who do not participate in breast feeding.  Although, the one downfall to this study is that they did not take into account the women who do return back to work and cant breastfeed due to working conditions.  This study does show that we still need to promote breastfeeding and maybe gain more rights to mothers, especially the working mothers in order to make it easier for them to breastfeed.

Now there is just ANOTHER reason to breast feed for at least the first six months of a babies life. The Los Angeles Times, covered a story of  new research that has been done concerning childhood obesity and breast feeding.  According to the article if you’re a mom that has diabetes or gestational diabetes, your child is at risk for Type 2 diabetes later in life.  But there is hope! If you breast feed for up 6 months or more, then your child will have no more of a chance than any other child from a non-diabetic mother.  Dr. Dana Dabelea of the Colorado School of Public Health stated: “Since childhood obesity and in utero exposure to maternal diabetes have both been associated with later development of type 2 diabetes, it follows that breastfeeding these children may also help reduce their future risk for developing type 2. However, further research would be needed to confirm that added protection.”  Thanks to this study, there is now hope for those mothers who are diabetic or have gestational diabetes, and want their children to have a healthy life. Chubby babies are cute, but not so much when its not a healthy chubby.

As long as we are on the weight topic, another benefit for breast feeding is that it helps the mother loose weight.  Nursing helps burn calories.  It helps get rid of fat that was being stored during the pregnancy to help the baby.  For more information on how to loose weight properly while breastfeeding and other tips, go to this link.  Moral of the story, fight obesity and breast feed!

Breastfeeding in public is a touchy subject.  In the video below, a woman was asked to leave the store, Cost Plus World Market, in California because she was trying to quiet her fussy baby down and started breastfeeding the baby.

 

As stated in the video clip, there are laws about breastfeeding.  This website from the National Conference of State Legislatures provides an easy way to view each state and their laws concerning breastfeeding.  According to the website, 44 states allow breastfeeding in public or private locations.  Although this is a law, many still have different views concerning breastfeeding.  Some think that it should not be done in public because if the woman is exposing too much of her breast they are offended.  While others view it as a natural process and that it’s beautiful.

Should this beautiful act be displayed?  TIME magazine covered an article stating that sculptor, Daniel Edwards, has created a statue of Angelina Jolie naked and breastfeeding.  This statue may be in a public park in Oklahoma.  Is this statue taking breastfeeding in public too far?

Is it possible to make products out of breast milk, like breast milk ice cream?  Yep, Baby Gaga, a London ice cream parlor, did it.  The CBS news covered the article, with the statement of “Miracle of Motherhood” or totally gross? Personally, I had always wondered if this would ever happen or other such products made from human breast milk.  The big question though is it safe? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no risk of spreading HIV or Hepatitis B by eating this product.  Because of the question of its safety, Baby Gaga’s human breast milk ice cream was confiscated by local government officials.  According the TIME, it was because of the numerous complaints by the public  “questioning the sale of edibles made from bodily fluids, and the myriad health hazards this could entail.”

My opinion on this topic, is that I think it would be an interesting market and would probably do well business wise.  Everyone would be interested in trying this product, would they not? At least once.  And if it really was just as delicious as regular cow’s milk ice cream then it could really sky rocket.  Breast milk ice cream could be another hot new craze like all natural frozen yogurt.  As long as it gets the clear on health risks then why not give it try.  In the TIME article it said that some women were donating their breast milk.  If individuals were donating their milk that can only help the business because it would be like farmers donating their cow’s milk to Cold Stone, would it not?

Now the big question is what do you, as readers think?  Should this product, if thoroughly tested and cleared, be back out on the market? Should it come to the United States?  Would you try human breast milk ice cream?  Breast milk is great for the infant but how about ice cream lovers?  Any nutritional benefit for adults?

More and more women are in the work force along with their husbands.  How does that cater to the idea of a family or pregnancy or breast feeding?  In an article from Time Healthland asked moms how they did it.  The article includes many of the struggles with breastfeeding while working such as other employees walking in on them, trying to find a private spot to breastfeed/breast pump, and the time for breastfeeding.  The International Labor Organization, a section of the United Nations, is pro for paid nursing breaks.  Since female workers get a maternity leave, then paid nursing breaks should be included right?  My personal opinion is that I think that women should get paid nursing breaks up until 12 months, which is the  recommended amount of time for the American Academy of Pediatrics and after 12 months should be unpaid.  I would still encourage breastfeeding longer than 12 months but for the sake of the government and business, 12 months is great start.  Even allowing paid nursing breaks would also encourage breastfeeding overall for working women.

Another concern for that the working woman can face with breastfeeding is going on business trips.  The Wall Street Journal covered this topic with their article titled, “Business Travel While Breastfeeding”.  Breastfeeding while traveling brings its own set of problems.  Way to go moms, who do continue breastfeeding after a business trip, it seems it would be a difficult task.

How can it be made easier for these working moms to keep breastfeeding during work and business trips?

Did you know that breastfeeding has an impact on the child’s life not only now but in their future? This CBS News article,  discusses how new research has been done showing that babies that are fed formula and are introduced solid food before four months old have a twenty-five percent higher chance of being obese by the age three.  On the other hand, those who breastfeed can introduce solid foods to their babies anytime without doing any harm to their chances of obesity.  This is an issue because childhood obesity is on the rise.  One third of children are overweight.

Michelle Obama is trying to reduce the rate of childhood obesity by her campaign “Let’s Move.”  According to AOL News, Michelle is promoting breastfeeding by IRS giving tax breaks on for breast pumps and other nursing supplies.  She believes that early intervention is key in order to reduce the risk of childhood obesity.  She hopes that giving this tax break to those that do breastfeed will have an easier time, although Michelle does realize that it is a personal choice.  Thank you, Mrs. Obama!

 

One major question with any mother would be: how long should I breastfeed my baby?  The answer to that question varies. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests to have breast milk be the only source of nourishment for the baby until six months old and to slowly add normal food until age 2 when the child should slowly ween off.  Although, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests one year of just breast milk for the baby.  I think it depends on each mother and baby.  My niece she was so interested in regular food that my sister started feeding her some normal food by 6 months.

Another question that is associated with the question above would be: how old is too old for a baby, toddler or child to continue to be breast fed?  This article has a great opinion on the answer.  My personally opinion is that in Western society, breastfeeding until the age a toddler can talk is viewed as too long, generally.  Although, in some societies women feel that the best way for their infant, toddler or child’s best source of nourishment is breast milk because of the circumstances that they live in.  In this video, Veronica believes that the children should decide for themselves when to stop breastfeeding.  When do you think a woman should stop breastfeeding? Should the children decide when?

Breastfeeding until … 8

As an introduction to this blog, I wanted a general overall message that breastfeeding is great.  It is good for the baby, mother, environment, and personal finances. As a public health major, I feel like the positive aspects weight out the negative aspects.  Some of the positive aspects include

  • it provides the most overall mix of nutrients for the baby
  • protects against multiple conditions in the baby (ear infections, allergies, meningitis)
  • creates a special bond between mother and child
  • reduces the risk of cancers for the mother
  • Promotes weight loss for the mother
  • Reduces financial burden, no need to buy formula

Some negative aspects include

  • risk of infection or discomfort in breasts
  • Inconvenience for mother’s work schedule
  • It requires special clothing

(No offense but they are all “me” aspects, no harm is negative aspects for the baby)

What are some ways that we could possible reduce the negative aspects of breastfeeding in order to increase the number of women to breastfeed?

For example, to enforce all hospitals to have a policy for the first time of breastfeeding for a new mother, a lactation consultant or specialist be there in order to provide answers to possible questions about breastfeeding and provide some guidance in order to reduce the risk of infection or discomfort.