When it comes to breastfeeding, it seems everyone has an opinion on it, whether it’s the standard breast vs. bottle debate, or where and when it’s OK to “whip it out.” This past weekend, the New York Times published a new article, “Overselling Breastfeeding,” where writer Courtney Jung argues how breast isn’t always best.
Jung describes in succinct detail the dizzying bombardment of information on breastfeeding from classes and friends, compared to a general lack of information on formula. Apparently, her birthing class refused to do lessons on formula feeding because it was “against hospital regulations.”
While Jung mentioned that 79% of American mothers initially breastfeed, she stated that new studies don’t actually confirm many of the glowing benefits that people often associate with breastfeeing:
“Just last month, a British study found that breast-feeding has no effect on I.Q. from toddlerhood through adolescence. And a meta-analysis of the research on breast-feeding done by the United States Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in 2007 concludes that much of that research is weak: Some studies are too small, or they fail to control for confounding variables. The findings themselves are often inconclusive. One study will find evidence of an effect and another won’t — so we just don’t know which results to trust.”
What is most compelling about the article, however, aren’t just the statistics, but some of the issues Jung raises–how the fervor can sometimes result in the policing of women’s bodies, unfairly question others’ lifestyle choices, limit access to resources for other options, and assume all women can breastfeed.
Regardless of how we each personally feel about breastfeeding, it’s important to remember to support other women, even if their choices are different.
Read the rest of Jung’s article here. Do you agree with Jung’s conclusions? What did you choose when it came to breastfeeding?