Physicians' influence & responsibility..
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|Mon, 05-19-2003 - 9:46pm|
What influence do doctors have on women when it comes to ff vs bf? And, what is their responsibility when it comes to giving correct & current information regarding either?
I don't have any hard stats to back me up, but it seems to me, from what I have heard/read IRL, that doctors are giving out A LOT of mis-information when it comes to breastfeeding. It also appears that this mis-information is leading them to recommend/cause mothers prematurely wean their babies. It seems that if anything is going wrong with baby (gassy, spitting up, fussy, not gaining quickly, etc) breastfeeding is automatically to blame & the first recommendation is to wean to formula - instead of looking more closely at what is going on with mom/baby and trying to correct that (whether it be bf'ing related or not) first.
Shouldn't doctors be responsible for KNOWING what they are talking about if they are going to spout off advice & information about breastfeeding? It seems to me that there are a lot of doctors are giving out breastfeeding advice and don't have adaquate knowlege about it. The may *think* they know - but they really don't (yes, there are exceptions). Of course, I don't expect surgeons or other specialties that don't deal with babies and/or mothers on a regular basis to know these things (but they should be the first to admit it & defer the questions to those who do know) - but I would expect that Pediatricians, Ob/Gyn's and even Family Practice docs to have a basic knowlege of breastfeeding issues - and know where to get information if they don't know the answer, instead of just assuming or faking it.
What do you think? If breastfeeding is "best" why don't more physicians take the time to actually learn about it before they start giving advice on bf'ing issues? Instead, it seems they are generally quick to blame bf'ing if something is not going quite right & are fast to suggest either supplementing with formula or weaning instead of trying to solve the problem. Shouldn't they be responsible for having at least a basic knowlege? They really do influence mothers' feeding choices - if they don't know much about bf'ing/bf babies, they are more likely to suggest ff'ing or at least not try to encourage a mother to bf (or continue bf'ing if she runs into troubles)....and possibly even (intentionally or unintentionally) sabotage a mother's attempts to bf.
I can't comment on the knowlege of doctors about formula feeding since I don't have any experience with it. But, with all the information that formula companies hand out, I have to assume that docs have easier access to materials on ff & may be more "comfortable" talking about ff'ing. There really aren't that many "issues" surrounding ff - not much to know (or is there?).