AAP's New Breastfeeding Statement

Actual words from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Statement (emphasis is my own):

"...breastfeeding and the use of human milk confer unique nutritional and nonnutritional benefits to the infant and the mother and, in turn, optimize infant, child, and adult health as well as child growth and development. 
Recently, published evidence-based studies have confirmed and quantitated the risks of not breastfeeding
Thus, infant feeding should not be considered as a lifestyle choice but rather as a basic health issue
As such, the pediatrician’s role in advocating and supporting proper breastfeeding practices is essential and vital for the achievement of this preferred public health goal."
I am so glad that a group of doctors has finally said that "infant feeding should not be considered as a lifestyle choice"!  It takes such a weight off of me because I know that to be true, but I don't want to go around guilting women into breastfeeding their children.  Yes, it takes more commitment from the mother since dad can't whip up breastmilk on his own, but honestly, it is so important for health!

I've heard not breastfeeding compared to not using a carseat (but I can't remember where).  Hospitals require even unemployed, impoverished people to have a car seat (which is expensive) to take the baby home, but they don't require all moms to be breastfeeding?

 A quick google search shows moms on discussion boards bemoaning the fact that most hospitals in the UK have stopped giving out free formula.  An article in the Manchester Evening News from September 2011 discusses one hospital's policy for parents to bring their own formula into the hospital if they plan on feeding their infants comercial formula.  The hospital does still have formula on hand in the event that it is necessary, but it does not give it out routinely.

Here's an article from the ABC News Australia discussing whether infant formula should be available by prescription only.  The argument is that if a mother cannot just go buy formula from the shelf then she will get medical help when breastfeeding is going poorly.  She has to make an appointment with a doctor to get formula so that doctor can refer her to a Lactation Consultant.


Also in this statement, the AAP now endorses the WHO's recommendation of exclusive breastmilk feeding for 6 months not 4 to 6 months, as previously stated.  This leads people to think that it is ok to start solids at 4 months, but the data shows that the longer exclusive breastmilk feeding is continued, the greater reduction in risk of a variety of childhood and adulthood illnesses.

The AAP Statement says:

"Compared with infants who never breastfed, infants who were exclusively breastfed for 4 months had significantly greater incidence of lower respiratory tract illnesses, otitis media, and diarrheal disease than infants exclusively breastfed for 6 months or longer.

Maybe now Gerber will take their "supported sitter" labels off of their babyfood containers?

The company doesn't give age ranges, but if a baby cannot sit up and put food
in his or her own mouth, maybe it's not time yet.

The Baby Center website says, "Your baby will probably learn to sit independently between the ages of 4 and 7 months."  But, the ability to sit up alone is not the only indicator of solid food readiness.

Gerber doesn't give age ranges for their "Supported Sitter" line, but if a baby cannot sit up and put food
in his or her own mouth, it's not time yet.  Is Gerber just preying on those parents (and grandparents) who are eager to introduce their babies to food?  I think so.

I felt that pressure too!  I gave Ewan his first taste of food at 5 1/2 months because I was so excited and he seemed ready to me.  I am re-thinking this idea and with my next baby, I am going to try to hold out until the baby can actually pick things up and put them in his or her mouth with the "pincer grasp".  This seems to be the skill that babies need to really be ready for food.  If that takes 7 months, then that's how long we will wait.

For more information on when to introduce food, read "Is my baby ready for solid foods?" by Kelly Bonyata, IBCLC.