Breast is al­ways best!

The Church of England - - ENGLAND -

In­fant For­mula Milks should carr y a health warn­ing, ac­cord­ing to the Save the Chil­dren char­ity. The lead­ing char­ity de­clared that a cig­a­rette-style health warn­ing declar­ing that breast is best should cover at least a third of the pack­ag­ing. Crit­ics say that this would only pile ex­tra guilt on new moth­ers who want to breast­feed but are un­able to do so.

The report, ‘Su­per­food for ba­bies’, is quite clear on its find­ings: they point out that Colostrum - the rich milk that is pro­duced in the first few hours of life, has huge ben­e­fits for new­born ba­bies and can help with life­long im­mu­nity. They also point out that some for­mula milk com­pa­nies use mar­ket­ing prac­tices that could seem to per­suade the mother that for­mula milk is best.

What a tragic state of af­fairs when some­thing so nat­u­ral as breast­feed­ing has got mixed up with mar­ket­ing and PR spin. As pa­tron of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Breast­feed­ing Moth­ers (ABM) I am passionate about en­cour­ag­ing new mums to breast­feed but also well aware that this is such an emo­tive topic and hardly likely to be solved by some cap­i­tal let­ters plas­tered across pack­ag­ing.

Surely we need to go back to ba­sics and look at all the prac­tices around pre­na­tal care, birth and be­yond to en­sure that the nat­u­ral ap­proach is taken through­out. Women have been hav­ing ba­bies for mil­lions of years and what was a per­fectly nat­u­ral event has been turned into a med­i­cal con­di­tion, re­quir­ing the in­fi­nite wis­dom of sci­en­tists and doc­tors. In fact moth­ers know best, preg­nancy is not an ill­ness but it can throw up some mis­er­able symp­toms. Over the years in­ter­ven­tion and med­i­cal­i­sa­tion of the birthing process has be­come the norm. In some cases an un­sat­is­fac­tory birth ex­pe­ri­ence can have an ad­verse knock on ef­fect in the very nat­u­ral process of breast­feed­ing.

It’s also doc­u­mented that the in­creas­ing pop­u­lar­ity of Cae­sarean births is con­tribut­ing to a dra­matic rise in cases of di­a­betes in young chil­dren. Of course I’m thrilled that Cae­sarean births have saved lives but I’m un­sure that they should be a life­style choice.

Back on the breast­feed­ing, breast milk must be one of the most amaz­ing food­stuffs known to man: not only is it top in the nutri­tion charts but it’s a liv­ing food de­signed to match ex­actly the in­di­vid­ual re­quire­ments of your baby at each and ev­ery stage of his early devel­op­ment. What is more, it con­stantly changes its chem­i­cal na­ture, not only over days and weeks but on an hourly ba­sis, tai- lor­ing it­self to your baby’s rhythms and needs through­out each day and it’s de­liv­ered at ex­actly the right tem­per­a­ture. You can’t buy any­thing to ri­val it. Its free, re­quires no ad­di­tives, preser­va­tives, bot­tles or waste­ful pack­ag­ing – and no health warn­ing needed!

Of course not ev­ery­one can breast­feed but I do be­lieve that if the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion as a whole took a more nat­u­ral ap­proach to preg­nancy, birth and be­yond, women might feel sup­ported to at least give breast­feed­ing a try. There are ex­cel­lent trained coun­sel­lors on hand 24/7 to of­fer sup­port.

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