Author: Suzanne Barston
Suzanne Barston always planned on breastfeeding her first-born. It came as quite a surprise and disappointment then, when it turned out she couldn’t. After turning to formula, she began to wonder why the “breast is best” mentally had turned into “any other way means you’re a bad parent”. She scoured medical journals and scientific studies and interviewed countless lactation consultants, statisticians and scientists to determine why.
This well-researched book is the culmination of her efforts. It is an attempt to pull apart the fact from fiction, the truth from statistics and ultimately, provide support to mothers no matter what their situation or how they feed their baby.
Parts I Liked Best:
I was impressed with how Barston presented the information in such an unbiased fashion, given that this can be somewhat of a volatile subject. The book doesn’t approach the issue as anti-breastfeeding or pro-formula. While affirming that breastfeeding is usually the optimal choice, many women, due to emotional or physical problems or work restraints, cannot breastfeed. What support can be given to these mothers?
Among some of the issues discussed in the book are:
- Conditions and situations that make breastfeeding difficult or impossible. It also explores how difficult it can be for nursing mothers to pump in the workplace despite government codes and the best of circumstances. Women who use formula are not necessarily anti-breastfeeding and it’s unfair to judge them as such.
- Why the formula industry has a “bad name” in infant feeding. It turns out it’s mostly due to a Nestlé marketing debacle that led to infant deaths in developing nations.
- Will formula feeding really make your child obese or have less-than-average intelligence? Barstow examines how we need to identify confounding factors and distinguish between causation and correlation when we examine studies or read statistics. Some scientists are also advocates and that can also cloud conclusions made.
- In an effort to increase breastfeeding, why are we using scare tactics? Why not offer more support? Instead of pressuring women, let’s help them make informed choices based on their personal health.
- Since breastfeeding is best, why don’t we put more energy into making formula more like breast milk instead of studying why formula is “bad”? Let’s help the mothers and infants who cannot breastfeed. We need to demand better research and better options.
How This Book Made an Impact In My Life, Especially as a Mother (or why I just really liked it):
I found this an utterly fascinating read despite the fact that I have breastfed my two children. It helped me to understand both sides of the “feeding frenzy” and feel more empathy towards all mothers. I think it is a useful read no matter how you feed your baby as it attempts to pull mothers together rather than tear us apart.
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