Welcome to the Sunday Surf, a tour of the best blogposts I've read throughout the week.
|Hope you're having a very happy Easter! Per Mikko's request, we're having an Easter piñata (well, of course), as well as heading over to his aunt's for dinner and egg dyeing. What fun are you having?|
This week's Sunday Surf is dedicated to a specific topic: the recent Healthy Life Summit and a controversial presentation by Sarah Pope (The Healthy Home Economist) on nutrition as it relates to breastfeeding, as well as the position the Village Green Network (sponsors of the Healthy Life Summit) and the Weston A. Price Foundation (a related organization) take on the topic.
Over the last few days there have been a lot of heated debates, controversial posts, and social media outcry because of the strident messages being put forth. While VGN and WAPF do present sound information on the ideal diet for breastfeeding mothers, they do so in a manner that brings about guilt, fear, and confusion.
On Thursday, bloggers from around the world came together in a show of support for breastfeeding mothers. New mothers have enough challenges without having to feel guilty for how they feed their baby, especially when they are choosing the most natural of means — breastfeeding.
The bloggers who participated in the Breastfeeding Support Blog Party are not trying to create a divide between mothers. They simply want to offer support, in the form of blog posts, as to why breastfeeding should always be the first choice both for baby and mama.
We hope you take some time to read the posts that were written as part of the Blog Party, which I've pasted below. There are also over 140 posts linked up as part of this. Take some time to check them out here or link up your own breastfeeding support post!
Since I didn't post on Thursday, here are my thoughts on the subject:
The WAPF position is a suggestion that women without an ideal Weston Price-approved diet have breastmilk no better nutritionally than commercial formula. For those not familiar with Weston Price, he was a forward-thinking dentist who in the 1930s traveled extensively and noted that people eating the traditional foods of their culture as opposed to the typical Western diet had stronger teeth and better overall health. He wrote the book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration as a result. The WAPF have codified his observations into very strict rules of traditional foods eating (ignoring, in my opinion, Price's own rules of eating your own culture's foods, though I find that very challenging in any case as an American mutt!).
The WAPF and Village Green Network have been encouraging the use of their homemade formula recipe, and one of their sponsors sells a kit and the hard-to-find ingredients. This is not only a clear violation of the WHO Code, but it is also dangerous: There are no peer-reviewed studies showing their formula is safe or beneficial for infants and children long term — whereas there are tons showing breastfeeding is not only safe (regardless of the mother's nutritional status) but also highly beneficial beyond the use of commercial formula. My statement here is not meant to stir up "Mommy Wars" of breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding; I'm only pointing out that breastfeeding has an established safety and value record (of millennia!), and commercial formula as well has many checks and balances in place in terms of safety and research. This homemade version does not have those advantages, and I think it's foolhardy for an organization to promote it so cavalierly.
My other problem with denigrating American women's breastmilk composition is that it misses the point that breastfeeding is about more than breastmilk. There has been much speculation that increases in IQ among breastfed babies, for example, has less to do with breastmilk nutrition and more to do with the face-to-face bonding time that breastfeeding ensures. There are so many benefits to breastfeeding, for both the baby and the mama, that have nothing to do with what precisely the baby is drinking. (Speaking of which, there are ways to bottle feed in a breastfeeding manner.)