The Other Extreme

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
The Other Extreme
6
Sun, 02-10-2013 - 8:08pm

Extremist #1

Formula is fake food like other procesed food. Formula is extremely deficient. It hardly has any ingredients in it (less than 3 dozen). Breastmilk has thousands of essential ingredients that formula is MISSING. For example, formula has only 2 of the 200 essential fatty acids available in breastmilk. But these are not even human essential fatty acids. They are fake ones that the baby's body has to use energy to convert to a human form! Here is a recent report.... No breastfeeding = doom? No. Remember, babies need much more than food. They need your prompt responsiveness to their needs, lots of positive touch, loving communication and tenderness. Being a responsive caregiver will help their bodies and brains grow well too.

Extremist #2

One of the most highly effective preventive measures a mother can take to protect the health of her infant is to breastfeed. However, in the United States, although most mothers hope to breastfeed, and 75% of babies start out being breastfed, only 15% are exclusively breastfed 6 months later. Additionally, rates are significantly lower for African-American infants.

The success rate among mothers who want to breastfeed can be greatly improved through active support from their families, friends, communities, clinicians, health care leaders, employers, and policymakers. Given the importance of breastfeeding for the health and well-being of mothers and children, it is critical that we take action across the country to support breastfeeding.

Extremist #3

Women who can’t breastfeed, or don’t have the time to breastfeed — you go for the formula, but I think most public health officials want to encourage women to breastfeed for the first couple weeks, because the outcomes are better, and if they can do it, that’s great, and if they can’t, they can’t.

Extremist #4

We should not change the public health message that breast-feeding is the physiologic norm. Soft-pedaling medical advice because we might hurt someone’s feelings is patronizing at best, and unethical at worst. Further, backing away from evidence-based medical recommendations for 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding gives policy makers permission to cut back support for mothers and families.

In so many cases, a terrible breastfeeding experience is the downstream effect of subpar maternity care, unsupportive family and friends, poor medical advice and unrealistic expectations of motherhood. But there is a major difference between a public health message on a billboard and a conversation between a struggling mother and her medical provider.

In routine care, we need to ask each mother how she feels about how feeding is going, and then we need to take time to listen to her response. And if, for this mother, and this baby, extracting milk and delivering it to her infant have overshadowed all other aspects of their relationship, it may be that exclusive breastfeeding is not best for them – in fact, it may not even be good for them.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Sun, 02-10-2013 - 8:16pm

Do you think the quotes represent typical Lactivists? Are they more extreme or more balanced than typical? Which Extremist is the most extreme, IYO?

Can you match the author to the quote? Authors are: Mayor Bloomberg, Alison Stuebe, Darcia Narvaez, and the CDC

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-01-2002
Mon, 02-11-2013 - 10:32am

I would say Points ##1 & 2 are the most extreme.  Point #4 is extreme, however, I did like this twist at the end:

<< And if, for this mother, and this baby, extracting milk and delivering it to her infant have overshadowed all other aspects of their relationship, it may be that exclusive breastfeeding is not best for them – in fact, it may not even be good for them.>>

I watched my friend's baby go hungry for an entire year of "breastfeeding."  My friend was determined to BF but simply could not.  When she "breastfed," I could hear the poor hungry and frustrated shell of a baby suck in air as she nursed.  Clearly there was a serious problem!!  Yet it continued for an entire year.  The baby was hairless and underweight with veins showing.  Yet, this highly educated mom (a lawyer from Canada) was adamant.  It was tragic.  Mom could not be "reached" with my few offers of formula packets and even went through a slew of lactation consultants who themselves said, It's just not working.  LCs never say that unless it's true.

Does Mayor Bloomberg ever weigh in on the breastfeeding debate? Surprised  If so, I'd say he may have said Point #3.  The CDC may have issued Point # 2.  I can't tell who said the other points.

Good question.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
Wed, 02-13-2013 - 3:24am

I'm going to summarize each position in simple terms so I can better illustrate why I believe none of these statements are extreme.

Extremist #1 - Formula is not natural but a man-made attempt to replicate breastmilk. As such, it does not completely replicate breastmilk, in fact far from it. There are hundreds of important beneficial ingredient in breastmilk not in formula. Some of the ingredients in formula are less then ideal substitutes for those in breastmilk and as a result the harder for the baby's system to process. All that being said, not breastfeeding generally does not equal doom as their is much more to raising a baby then just what you feed them such as being a responsive caregiver.

I generally agree with the position #1 but I would take issue with the use of word fake food. I don't think anything that the average baby can survive on qualifies as fake food. I don't think processed food is fake food either even though I agree it's not as healthy as non-processed food. Fake food would be something like plastic fruits and vegetables or other prop food used in movie or play, basically anything that looks like food but is not designed to be consumed. Formula is more like artificial infant food rather then fake. Artificial is defined as "made or produced by human beings rather than occurring naturally, typically as a copy of something natural" which fits formal perfectly. Because I can see how use of the term "fake food" could make the statement come across as the opinion of an extremist so I would avoid it. Other then that quibble, I don't see the overall position here as being extremist.

Extremist #2 - Breastfeed has significant health benefits for babies and as a result it is "one of the most effective preventive measures a mother can take to protect the health of her infant". Many mothers start out breastfeeding but don't end to being able to breastfeed as long as they wish, due to various factors such as lad of good BF support, lack of emotional support, and lack of support for pumping at work. Given how beneficial breastfeeding is to babies, moms, families, society as whole, we should all work to improve BF support among hospitals, doctors, workplaces, etc.

This position seems perfectly reasonable to me. Some people will likely argue that the benefits are BF'ing are greatly exaggerated and that certain measures taken to improve BF support and BF initiation and duration rates unjustly inconvenience FF'rs and infringe on their rights. To those critics I disagree. Since I don't believe BF advocates are knowingly exaggerating the benefits of BF'ing or knowingly trampling over formula feeders or their rights in order to promote BF'ing. Sometimes the two sides "rights" or interests conflict and you have to determine whose rights are more important in that case. Since BF has proven health benefice then that I believe justifies sometimes an FF'rs might have to suffer minor inconvenience.

Extremist #3 - While recognizing that not all moms can BF and formula is their for those moms. That being said, BF does have proven health benefits and this is the reason pubic health officials promote breastfeeding, even if only for a couple of weeks.
 
Again, I don't see how anyone could interpret this as extremists unless you really believe their are no health benefits to BF and think public health officials know this but promote BF anyways.

Extremist #4 - Breastfeeding should be seen as the physiological norm as their is no good argument for not doing so. The argument that we should soft peddle medical advice because it might hurt some mom's feelings is patronizing at best and unethical at worst. Backing away from evidence-based medical recommendations regarding breastfeeding gives policy makers permission to cut back support for mothers and families, which will only worsen the situation for moms who wish to BF but can't due to poor support an advice. Basically, we need to improve support for BF'ing moms to reduce the number of moms feelings guilty over not breastfeeding in situations where better support would have helped them BF successfully. We can address moms who can't BF regardless of what kind of support they have by better means other then downplaying the risks of formula. A distinction need to be made though between BF promotion billboards and such and individual conversion between a doctor and a mother struggling with breastfeeding. While the generally message about BF'ing should not be toned down, it can be beneficial to use somewhat different language when counseling a mom struggling with BF'ing. There also can be situation where BF no longer is best choice for a mom struggling with it and switching to formula would be better.

I don't see the above position as extremist either. Women deserves the honest truth about BF vs FF based on medical science. Efforts should be focused on improving BF support rather then downplaying the risks of formula. For any moms that can't BF even with the best support, there are better ways to address their guilt, regret, sadness, etc.

As to who gave each stament, the answer is the following: 1. Darcia Narvaez, Ph.D. ,  2. CDC, 3. Mayor Bloomburg, 4. Allison Stuebe

Photobucket

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Wed, 02-13-2013 - 8:47am

I understand what you are saying, but I think each of these can rightly be considered extremist. Mayor Bloomberg is attacked regularly for his "nanny state" breastfeeding ideas. Narvaez is accused of "throwing fuel on the fire" by PhD in Parenting, in the midst of the "breastfeeding is being oversold" era a comment such as "one of the most effective preventive measures a mother can take to protect the health of her infant"
comes off as extreme and Alison Steube is singled out by Amy Tuteur as extreme.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-01-2002
Wed, 02-13-2013 - 11:27am

Nisupulla (or anyone) : Would you know if the esteemed Darcia Narvaez, Ph.D. is a parent?  I took a few seconds and looked for the answer.  Beyond finding how prolific she is, I could not find whether she is a parent.

Thanks.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
Wed, 02-13-2013 - 9:16pm
I understand why some people might consider those positions extreme but that does not make them extremist in the sense I use the term. In the sense of someone "advocating severe or drastic measures; far from moderate" then yes these positions could be considered extreme. In some cases I think the issue is more about choice of words rather then the underlying position. I see the above positions as a little like the how the arguments for recycling or against sexual harassment would have been received in the 50's vs today. I do think that in some cases we should work on improving how we word certain viewpoints so they don't come across as so extreme or anti-FF'r. But I don't agree that the underlining POV is extreme or wrong in the above examples. Part of the problem as I see it is that formula company PR is trying is almost certainly trying to turn reasonable views in improving BF support in extreme anti-FF positions and rile FF'ing moms into pushing back. I remember reading about how the formula companies where arguing against hospitals allowing rooming in the late 80's or early 90's becuase I believe they know it promotes BF'ing. They lost that argument fortunately. They have since turned to trying to protect free formula samples by paying people to run websites defending the free samples while not being completely upfront that they receive funding from the formula companies. Fortunately, hospitals are realizing that free formula samples do indeed negatively impact BF duration rates (as supported by several studies) and thus the formula companies are starting to loose that argument too. I really believe that formula companies are trying to influence what is considered extreme. They do not want BF to be considered the norm or formula to be seen as something of last resort or for medical necessity only.

Photobucket