Entries in Breastfeeding (22)


AU Professor Defends Classroom Breastfeeding

George Doyle/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A single mother and professor at Washington, D.C.’s American University who sparked controversy after she breastfed her toddler in class says that she wasn’t trying to start a revolution, but was trying to manage an untenable situation.

Adrienne Pine, an assistant anthropology professor at American University, was scheduled to teach her “Sex, Gender and Culture” class on Aug. 25 when her 1-year-old daughter, Lee, woke up with a fever.  Her daycare, which doesn’t accept sick children, was not an option.  Pine was encouraged by a friend to take Lee with her to class and use it as a “teachable moment,” so Pine did just that.

“It wasn’t the ideal option but the fact is there were no ideal options and it was the best of the options available to me,” Pine said.

As described by Pine herself in a posting on her blog, the baby was “dressed in her comfiest blue onesie, alternately strapped to my back and crawling on the floor by my feet” while Pine lectured the 40 students.

Baby Lee was fine at first, but soon she started to fuss.  Pine did what she always does -- at home, on buses, at restaurants: breastfed her.  And she continued with her class while she did it.

“People seemed largely charmed -- you know, by the humanity that I think children can bring to a workplace environment, without necessarily detracting from the seriousness,” Pine said.

Later, Pine said she learned of a tweet from one of the students in her class about her behavior.

“Sex, gender, and culture professor, total feminist, walks in with her baby, midway through class breast feeding time #wtf,” the tweet said.

When the school paper got wind of the story, the campus started buzzing,  with some students voicing that they were offended.

Pine received an email from a reporter with the school’s newspaper asking for comment.  Anticipating any coverage would provoke headlines, Pine decided to take the issue head-on herself in the blog posting, titled “Exposing My Breasts on the Internet.”

“So here’s the story, Internet: I fed my sick baby during feminist anthropology class without disrupting the lecture so as to not have to cancel the first day of class,” she wrote in the Sept. 5 post.  “I doubt anyone saw my nipple, because I’m pretty good at covering it.  But if they did, they now know that I too, a university professor, like them, have nipples.  Or at least that I have one.”

Some students at American feel that what Pine did was not appropriate in a classroom.

“I think what’s inappropriate is that she brought her child to class in the first place.  It’s very distracting to a lot of the students,” AU student Sarah Miles said.

Still, many students say that they were not at all offended by Pine breastfeeding her baby in the classroom.

“She let us know that she was about to do it, so I wasn’t too surprised.  I think she handled it in the most professional way that she could,” said AU student Nia McCarthy.

Pine told ABC News that when she decided to breast-feed Lee, she wasn’t trying to spark a debate -- she was just attempting to manage, like so many moms do, a shaky situation that was thrown into her lap.

“I’m surprised at the hostility that is clearly aimed at women in the workplace and women who breast-fed in the workplace in particular,” Pine said.

She’s hoping, at least, her actions will spark not just controversy, but a deeper discussion about how wrenching these childcare struggles can be, especially for people with no cushion.

“Can we set up a sort of collective childcare system, so that not every single woman in the workplace is facing these issues as an individual, but rather, we’re discussing them together?” she asked.

American University officials declined to comment directly to questions from ABC News, saying the university “does not comment on personnel matters.”

The university later issued a statement saying they “support faculty and staff as they face challenges of work life balance” but disagree with Pine’s blog posting.

“AU does not agree with Counterpunch blog post,” the statement read.  “The views expressed in the blog were those of the faculty member.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mom Sues After Breastfeeding Video Used in Porn Clip

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A suburban New Jersey woman thought she was contributing to an educational video on breastfeeding only to learn, months later, that someone apparently stole footage of her and her newborn daughter and incorporated it into a pornographic video that was attracting thousands of hits on YouTube and elsewhere.

Now MaryAnn Sahoury, 35, worries that the stigma of being associated with Internet pornography will shadow both her and her daughter -- referred to in legal documents as A.S. -- for the rest of their lives.

"A.S. is not even two (2) years old. She will be faced with continuing damage as she engages in elementary school, middle school, high school and then college. This may haunt her for years to come because what has occurred can never entirely be removed from the Internet," according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court against Meredith Corp., the Iowa-based media and marketing giant that filmed Sahoury and her daughter.

Sahoury has sued Meredith Corp. for fraud, misrepresentation and negligence in connection with a video that Meredith said was stolen from its website and misused. In an opinion issued last week, a federal judge wrote that Sahoury's lawsuit could move forward despite Meredith Corp.'s argument that a release form signed by Sahoury allowed Meredith to use her and her daughter's names, and freed Meredith from "any and all claims."

Shortly after her daughter was born on Dec. 9, 2009, Sahoury was recruited to be a part of a breastfeeding educational video by her lactation consultant, who had been engaged by Parent TV, a Meredith Corp. brand.

After some initial trepidation, Sahoury agreed to participate, without compensation, "because she felt her own personal experience would be insightful and helpful to other first-time mothers who are considering breastfeeding," according to the complaint filed in federal court last year.

Sahoury and her daughter were videotaped at the lactation consultant's New Jersey home in January 2010. During the taping, Sahoury demonstrated how she breastfed her daughter and answered a series of questions. Sahoury has alleged that the woman in charge of the video production said that neither Sahoury's nor her daughter's name would be disclosed in the video. Sahoury said she was told the video would be shown on a Parent TV website and on cable television.

After taping was completed and Sahoury was about to leave, the woman in charge asked her to sign a release, according to the complaint. Sahoury has conceded that she signed the release without reviewing it. In her complaint, Sahoury claims that she believed the release simply confirmed what she was told the morning before shooting began.

In July 2010, Sahoury, a former public relations company employee, did a Google search of her name and was mortified by what she found: multiple links to a video that combined the footage of her breastfeeding her daughter with pornographic footage of a woman who looked like Sahoury.

Sahoury "was mortified and shocked to learn that the defendants filmed, edited and produced the breastfeeding video using M.S's first and last name, contrary to the representations made to M.S. before the video shoot," according to the complaint. "Had the defendants not used M.S.'s last name, the creator of the pornographic video would not have been able to link up the breastfeeding video and the pornographic video with M.S. and A.S., connecting both of them to pornography."

Sahoury did not immediately return calls from ABC News seeking comment from her.

In a motion to dismiss Sahoury's lawsuit, Meredith said that "a rogue faceless person named 'Nizarddd'" stole the breastfeeding video off Meredith's website and posted it to pornography-related sites.

In a statement, the company said it was "appalled that someone would misuse a video meant to help new mothers."

After finding the video online, Sahoury and her lactation consultant contacted Meredith. It was her lactation consultant, Sahoury said, who first determined that someone going by the Internet handle "Nizarddd" had posted the video.

A recent Internet search of the name "Nizarddd" yielded a profile on the photo-sharing site flickr that included galleries of photos of women nursing, as well as one gallery labeled "tits," showing well-endowed women in cleavage-baring outfits. A post on the site by "nizarddd" included three links to videos of women nursing and using breast pumps -- parts of the videos appeared to be slowed down from their original speeds -- and a link to a "nizarddd1" YouTube channel. Clicking on the channel link leads to a message from YouTube advising that the account "has been suspended due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube's policy on nudity or sexual content."

In her complaint, Sahoury said Meredith at first "exhibited a sense of urgency" in helping her, but by August 2010, its interested had waned.

In a statement, Meredith defended its efforts to help Sahoury.

"Meredith took immediate and substantial action when made aware of the situation, and we have gone above and beyond any contractual responsibilities, expending a substantial amount of time and money," the company said. "We have hired leading law firms to file take-down demands, and retained top Internet specialists to both clear online caches and create positive references. We are confident that the steps we have taken are helping to mitigate the issue. We are continuing these good-faith efforts even after Ms. Sahoury filed her lawsuit."

Despite the efforts of Internet experts, links associating Sahoury and her daughter with pornography continue to pop up online, Sahoury has alleged. "Nizarrrd" also sent Sahoury a friend request on Facebook, prompting Sahoury to delete her Facebook account.

As a result of the Internet video, Sahoury has experienced panic attacks, vomiting and depression, according to the lawsuit.

"Having been told that this will never completely go away has only made matters worse," the complaint said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NYC Hospitals’ Baby Formula Plan Rankles Mommy Bloggers

Image Source/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Breastfeeding experts are applauding New York City’s “Latch On NYC” initiative, which aims to encourage breastfeeding and curb baby formula use in hospitals, but some mommy bloggers are not happy, and they are taking their grievances online.

One of these bloggers is Katherine Stone, a 42-year-old mother who lives in Atlanta. In her Babble blog post on Monday -- titled “Back Off of the Mamas, Mayor Bloomberg!” -- she criticizes the additional monitoring of formula use in hospitals.

“It’s a thin line,” she said. “I think it’s a little bit scary because it begins to infer that it’s a bad, bad thing to feed your child formula.”

Meredith Carroll is a 39-year-old mother and Babble blogger who lives in Aspen, Colo., and she, too, takes issue with the impending New York City policy.

“This isn’t morphine,” Carroll said. “I’m not a drug addict that needs to be kept away from a drug. I just want to feed my baby.”

Both bloggers said they realized that the initiative would not affect them directly, as they do not live in New York. But the plan will see 27 of New York City’s hospitals implementing its policies on Labor Day, which include keeping formula in locked storage rooms and monitoring its use.

The initiative will also discontinue the practice of hospitals distributing free infant formula at the time of discharge, prohibit the display of formula promotional materials in hospitals, and encourage greater enforcement of existing regulations prohibiting the use of formula for breastfeeding infants unless medically indicated.

It is not the first time the availability of baby formula in hospitals has been put under the spotlight. An August 2011 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lambasted hospitals for not adhering to steps designed to encourage breastfeeding in hospitals spelled out by the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.

The initiative, sponsored by UNICEF and the World Health Organization, suggests that hospitals “[h]ave a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff” and “[g]ive no pacifiers of artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.”

At the time of its report, the CDC noted that only four percent of hospitals had adopted at least nine out of 10 of the steps included in the initiative, and that nine percent of hospitals had adopted two or fewer of the steps.

Breastfeeding experts said that in light of this dismal situation, the New York City plan is sorely needed -- and they say such policies will not restrict mothers’ choices in feeding their infants.

“Locking the formula up and paying for it does NOT mean it won’t be available for mothers who choose to exclusively formula feed or for mothers who want to supplement or for medically necessary formula supplementation,” wrote Dr. Lori Feldman-Winter, a pediatrician at Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper in Camden, N.J. “It simply helps keep track of usage and cuts down on indiscriminate use.”

Feldman-Winter, who is a published researcher on the topic of infant formula use in hospitals, said closer monitoring of formula has been demonstrated to make a difference.

“We have shown that once the formula is kept in a locked cabinet and used only when medically necessary, then the usage is cut in half, resulting in more infants exclusively breastfeeding, an outcome good for the infant, family and our society as a whole,” she said.

Dr. Miriam Labbock, director of the Center for Infant & Young Child Feeding & Care, also agrees with Bloomberg’s move to institute the plan.

“It is amazing to me that so many papers have somehow headlined that this deprives folks in some manner,” said Labbock, who was previously in charge of UNICEF’s efforts to encourage breastfeeding, in an email to ABC News. “All other nutraceuticals and drugs have been controlled under lock and key in all hospitals for ages -- formula had been the only unfortunate exception.”

The point on which everyone seems to agree is that breastfeeding is the ideal approach. Blogger Stone said most of the discussion she has seen online recognizes the fact regardless of position on Bloomberg’s plan.

“People who can have a reasoned discussion about this really do understand the importance of breastfeeding,” Stone said. “It’s important we promote breastfeeding…I support the idea of promoting breastfeeding and increasing the percentage of women who do it. It is crucial thing.”

And according to the Latch On NYC website, there is no requirement for new mothers to breastfeed while in the hospital. “While breastfeeding is healthier for both mothers and babies, staff must respect a mother’s infant feeding choice,” the website states.

But the site does encourage hospital staff to remind mothers of the health benefits of breastfeeding when they request formula. Among the recommendations offered on the website for hospital staff is advice that they can “[a]ssess if breastfeeding is going well and encourage the mother to keep trying” and “[p]rovide education and support to mothers who are experiencing difficulties.”

Stone said that for women who can’t breastfeed, the policy would represent another hoop through which these new mothers would have to jump -- possibly adding to their guilt at the worst possible time.

“I hear from moms who have all sorts of problems related to breastfeeding, whether it is the inability to produce enough milk, or medical conditions they have, or their baby having problems breastfeeding,” Stone said. “There are a lot of things that lead a mother to not being able to breastfeed."

“Many of them do go through the experience of having people judge them for that. People saying they are selfish, or that they don’t care about the baby.”

Carroll said she knows firsthand the guilt that comes with not being able to breastfeed as a new mother. She writes in her blog that, at the time her older child was a baby, she had tried unsuccessfully to breastfeed her.

“It’s not up to me or Mayor Bloomberg to pass judgment on any mother who makes a choice about how to feed her baby,” Carroll told ABC News. “It’s embarrassing for a new mother to go out of her way to ask for something she may need or may want. Maybe someone who hasn’t been in that situation is not aware.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Moms' 'Nurse In' Protests Breastfeeding Order

George Doyle/Thinkstock(ENGLEWOOD, Colo.) -- A group of Colorado mothers banded together in protest Friday after an employee at a water park asked a fellow mom to cover up while breastfeeding her son.

Charlotte Dirkes, 30, of Alamosa, Colo., was breastfeeding her 10-month-old son, Cillian, while watching her other children play in the kiddie pool at Pirates Cove, a city-owned water park in Englewood, Colo., on July 8, officials said.

She was approached by the park's customer relations representative, who told her she had received complaints from other customers and asked her to stop breastfeeding in public, according to a Facebook group of moms outraged by the incident.

"It's not sexual in any way," Dirkes told ABC News' Denver affiliate, KMGH. "You can ask any breastfeeding mother, and it's very unsexual."

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While it is legal in Colorado for women to breastfeed in any public or private location, Mike Flaherty, deputy city manager and public information officer for the city of Englewood, conceded that the park employee asked Dirkes to cover up.

In reaction, the group of mothers arranged via Facebook a "nurse in" demonstration at Pirates Cove, where they planned to nurse their children publicly to protest the park's disregard for Colorado breastfeeding laws, scheduled at 10 a.m. Friday morning.

Approximately 12 mothers showed up for the protest, the manager of the city's parks and recreation department told Flaherty.

The protest apparently did not include Dirkes, who told the forum she lives three hours from Englewood and could not make it to the park.

Flaherty said that the water park did not comply with Colorado's laws and, in the future, training would be implemented to ensure that all employees were informed of the state laws they are to obey.

"We made a mistake and, clearly, the woman was within her legal rights to do what she did," he said.

Flaherty emailed a personal apology to Dirkes on Thursday on behalf of the city of Englewood, saying, "We recognize that your situation was not handled property [sic] and it has provided us with a valuable training lesson for our staff."

Sara Dale-Bley, the Colorado-Wyoming liaison for La Leche League International, a breast feeding support group, said that Dirkes' experience at Pirates Cove is indicative of an employee training problem for the city.

"They should make sure that employees are aware of mothers' and babies' rights," she said. "It's a matter of management to ensure that new employees are aware of the law."

Pirates Cove manager Brad Anderson did not return ABC News' calls.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: Only One-Third of Moms Breastfeed for First Three Months

George Doyle/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Most new moms hope to exclusively breastfeed their babies for at least the first three months, but a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that, for a variety of reasons, only about one-third of those moms fulfill that breastfeeding goal.

CDC researchers surveyed nearly 1,500 pregnant women on their plans for exclusive breastfeeding after their babies were born, and then followed up with monthly surveys throughout the next year.  The scientists found that 85 percent of mothers planned to breastfeed exclusively for at least three months, but only about 32 percent were able to do so for the intended amount of time.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend that all women exclusively breastfeed for the first 6 months of babies' lives.

"While most of these women said they hoped to exclusively breastfeed for at least three months, very few actually succeeded in their goal," said Cria Perrine, co-author of the study and an epidemiologist in the division of nutrition, physical activity and obesity at the CDC.  "There is obviously a huge disconnect between these women's intentions and how they're able to follow through."

Perrine said many hospitals might not be as supportive as possible in helping women achieve these goals.  In the study, 15 percent of the women's babies had already been given some sort of supplement to their breast milk before even leaving the hospital, which can cause nipple confusion and make it difficult to breastfeed afterwards.

Moms who began breastfeeding within an hour of birth were more likely to breastfeed according to their goals.  Those who already had at least one other child and those whose babies were not given supplemental formula feedings were also more likely to reach their exclusive breastfeeding goals.

Women who were obese, smoked or had a longer intended exclusive feed time were less likely to reach their goals, the researchers found.

The study's authors concluded that increasing Baby-Friendly Hospital practices, which include giving only breast milk to babies in the hospital, might help mothers reach their breastfeeding goals.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.  Its mission is to encourage hospitals to offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding by giving mothers information, confidence and skills to successfully initiative and continue breastfeeding their babies.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Alanis Morissette Dives Into 'Attachment Parenting,' Breastfeeding Controversy

Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Alanis Morissette, known to be one of the angrier women in the 1990s pop scene, is speaking out about the controversy over "attachment parenting," saying she would allow her 17-month-old son to decide when he is ready to stop breastfeeding, even if it's not until he's six years old.

The seven-time Grammy winner, best known for her downright anger on her 1995 breakout hit "You Oughta Know," is now, at 37, in a much different place. Morissette is now happily married to rapper Mario "MC Souleye" Treadway, and is a devoted mother to their son, Ever.
Fueled by that infamous Time magazine cover depicting a 3-year-old feeding at his mother's breast, Morissette is now stepping head-on into the raucous over "attachment parenting," specifically, how long mothers should breastfeed their children.
"I don't even really consider it 'extended,'" Morissette told ABC News. "I just consider it appropriate for that particular child and that mom and that family."
Like most supporters of "extended breastfeeding," she's still nursing her son, who's almost 2, and has no plans to stop.
"[Ever's] particular style is that -- wherever we are, if he sits down and looks at me, it's time to snuggle, you know? It's peppered throughout the day, more and less, depending upon what he needs," she said.
Morissette said she'll only stop breastfeeding when Ever says it's time.
"I know some children who have weaned naturally at two years, some kids wean naturally a couple of years later. I mean, it's up to every child," she said.
But attachment parenting is not only about breastfeeding. Attachment parenting can, in some cases, mean 24-hour devotion to a child, with the parent rarely leaving his or her side. And not everyone agrees that's such a good idea.

"I think what they are talking about is extreme, and I don't think it's what attachment parenting was meant to be. It was meant to be that 'mindfulness,' being with your kids and nursing your kids those first few months of life," Corky Harvey, owner and founder of the California-based Pump Station and Nurtury breastfeeding centers told ABC News.

Morissette said her style is not for everyone, and not everyone's lifestyle could accommodate her and Ever's way of bonding.

"I'm in a privileged position, where I can afford the time and to pay for the resources that would support this kind of lifestyle. That's not possible for a lot of families," Morissette said.
Morissette said that she barely left the house for the first six months of Ever's life, and hardly ever let him cry. She told ABC News that the most he had ever cried was six minutes. She said that she spent as much time as she could by Ever's side, even while she was recording her new album, out this summer.
"I basically have built a makeshift studio in our house," she said. "And when Ever needed me, I was in and out the door, was knocking constantly."
She told ABC News that when she goes on tour soon, the whole family will come along. Chances are next time Alanis Morissette is rocking out on stage, her little boy won't be far away.
"Other than in the middle of the show, if he needs me, of course, if it's an emergency, I'm available," she said.
The family's philosophy is to have as much skin-on-skin contact with Ever as possible. And then there's what this world-renowned musician called the musical beds.
"The bed is -- consistent in that Ever is always with one of us," Morissette said. "I'm always available if he needs me, period.  I love snuggling and sleeping next to him."

Which raises the obvious question: How does that affect her marriage and sex life?

"When don't we get it on?" Morissette asked, laughing. "To be totally transparent, after a baby is born, hormonally, physiologically, [it's] not necessarily the time the woman is moving toward low-cut dresses and wanting to get pregnant again."

The rock star mother admitted her style of parenting might not be for everyone, but in the end, she wants what all parents want -- for her child to feel safe and protected. Some might wonder what happened to that angry young woman who took the country by storm 17 years ago.

"I'm healing," she laughed. "I'm healing."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


“Time” Cover Shows 3-Year-Old Breast-Feeding

TIME(NEW YORK) -- Should a mom continue nursing her child even after he’s too big to be held in her arms? For mothers who practice what’s known as “attachment parenting,” the answer is an emphatic “yes” — and some are more than happy to demonstrate.

This week’s cover of Time Magazine shows Los Angeles mother Jamie Lynne Grumet nursing her 3-year-old son, who reaches her breast with the help of a step stool.

“When you think of breast-feeding, you think of mothers holding their children, which was impossible with some of these older kids,” photographer Martin Schoeller said in a Time Magazine online story explaining the cover photo. “I liked the idea of having the kids standing up to underline the point that this was an uncommon situation.”

The cover story illustrated by the photo takes a look at the philosophy of attachment parenting today — which, in addition to extended breastfeeding, also promotes co-sleeping and using slings to “wear” infants — and its roots in the 1992 parenting guide, The Baby Book by Dr. Bill and Martha Sears.

ABC News Nightline correspondent Juju Chang recently interviewed sitcom star Mayim Bialik about her practice of attachment parenting. Watch and read about the interview here.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: Pacifiers May Encourage Breastfeeding in Newborns

George Doyle/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- For years, pediatrician and physician organizations have advised against regular use of pacifiers for newborns.

Using a pacifier may keep babies from exclusively breastfeeding, they advised.

But a new study found that newborns in one hospital that were restricted from having pacifiers were less likely to exclusively breastfeed and instead turn to formula. The findings were presented Monday at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in Boston.

Researchers from Oregon Health & Science University looked at feeding data of over 2,000 infants born at the university's hospital between June 2010 and August 2011. After a new hospital policy restricting pacifiers was implemented in December 2010, exclusive breastfeeding dropped from 79 percent to 68 percent, the researchers found.

Previous studies suggest that increased pacifier use may cause infants to wean off breastfeeding earlier. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding pacifiers until at least 1 month old so the infant is comfortable breastfeeding. Even the World Health Organization advises against pacifiers, saying that they can interfere with breastfeeding.

To encourage exclusive breastfeeding, the World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund recommend that hospitals stop providing formula and pacifiers. Hospitals that follow recommendations by the program are known as Baby-Friendly Hospitals.

"There is a great deal of energy nationally as well as internationally in support of increasing the number of Baby-Friendly Hospitals," Dr. Laura Kair, the study investigator and a pediatric resident at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital, said in a statement. "However, the effect of pacifier use on initiation and duration of exclusive breastfeeding has not been well-established in the medical literature."

But the study, which was not peer-reviewed or published, left many questions unanswered. It is not clear whether there were other reasons besides decreased pacifier use that may have contributed to the decreased breastfeeding rates. Additional and larger studies are needed to find confirm whether these findings apply to more newborns in other baby-friendly hospitals, Kair said.

"Our goal with publicizing this data is to stimulate conversation and scientific inquiry about whether there is sufficient evidence to support the universal recommendation of not offering pacifiers to breastfeeding infants in the first few days to weeks of life," said Kair.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


South Africa Ending Free Infant Formula, Encouraging Breastfeeding

Zoonar/Thinkstock(DURBAN, South Africa) -- South Africa’s high child mortality rates and low exclusive breastfeeding rates have prompted the nation to begin phasing out free infant formula for HIV-positive mothers.

At eight percent, South Africa has the lowest exclusive breastfeeding rates in the world. Infant formula does not contain the food and nutrients needed to protect babies from infection, says the South African Health Department which ended the free formula program on Sunday.

The department is encouraging mothers to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of a child’s life and HIV-positive mothers will receive antiretroviral drugs to reduce the chance of transmission from mother to child, reports UNICEF.

“We just needed to move ahead rather quickly and rapidly because of the issue of saving children’s lives,” said Leonore Spies from the Department of Health.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Moms Call Push to Breastfeed for Six Months 'Unhelpful'

George Doyle/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- While most moms would like to follow the World Health Organization's recommendations to breastfeed their babies for the first six months, a new study suggests many find the goal unrealistic, and the push to do so unhelpful.

"There are many competing demands on new parents: lack of sleep, crying, unsettled babies, other children to look after, and work commitments," said Dr. Pat Hoddinott of the University of Aberdeen, U.K., who lead the study published in the journal BMJ Open.  "Families very carefully weigh of long term benefits of breastfeeding with the family's immediate wellbeing."

The study, based on series of interviews with new parents, revealed a mismatch between expectations and the reality of infant feeding -- one that leaves mothers feeling guilty.

"It puts a lot of strain on new families," Hoddinott said.  "Instead of stating the World Health Organization guidelines, we should be telling women to breastfeed as long as they can.  There's accumulating evidence that breastfeeding for as long as possible has heath benefits for both mother and baby."

Breastfeeding may be natural, but it's far from easy, according to Dr. Marjorie Greenfield, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.

"On one hand, it's better for the baby to breastfeed.  On the other hand, you don't want it to interfere with the relationship between you and your baby or the rest of your family," she said.  "I wish people had adequate support so they didn't feel like they had to make a choice."

On top of the guilt, Greenfield said some moms feel judged by their peers who could keep breastfeeding for the recommended six months.

While the country is becoming more breastfeeding friendly, new moms still struggle to find the support they need to keep it up for the recommended six months.  In January 2011, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin released a "Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding" -- a plan to promote breastfeeding at work, at home and in the community.

But according to Hoddinott's study, some parents "view breastfeeding promotion as 'propaganda' and suggest that the 'breast is best message' has been overdone."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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