Yesterday, I ran across a small post by Peaceful Parenting about a one piece outfit that was being manufactured by Old Navy. Needless to say, as a mother who nursed her baby, and was told her baby was not growing fast enough for the (formula-fed) growth charts and to supplement with formula (only to have my daughter grow no faster than she did previously), I was pretty disgusted. I promptly wrote an email to them, telling them of my disgust.
There are so many reasons I am disgusted by this product, and the act of a baby receiving nutrition from a bottle is the least of them. It is what is put into those bottles (formula) that is my concern, and the concern of breastfeeding advocates everywhere. Breast milk is the best and most nutritionally sound food for a baby, no matter who the baby is. Babies are mammals, and SHOULD be breastfed. Now I understand that formula is there as a choice, but with all of the barriers out there to breastfeeding as it is, this onesie is like a slap in the face to the people who are so desperately trying to make any head way at all toward making breastfeeding less taboo, less negative, and more acceptable in a nation that loves instant gratification.
Currently, in the United States, children who are formula fed are experiencing the following at higher rates than breastfed babies: ear infections, diarrhea, asthma, respiratory problems, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), Type-1 Diabetes, multiple sclerosis, breast cancer in girls, Hodgkin’s Disease, Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), urinary tract infections, vision problems, tooth decay, to name quite a few.
And for a company to manufacture a product with a mention of being “Formula Powered”, whether it was an intentional or unintentional political or social statement, or a simple graphic logo meant for “fun”, it shows a lack of knowledge toward the current problem in our nation. Many people I know are not aware of the benefits of breastfeeding, and further, are not aware of the health problems associated with formula feeding.
So here are some benefits of breastfeeding:
- Lowers rates of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
- Reduces infant mortality rates by 21% in the first year
- Enhances the effectiveness of some vaccines
- White blood cells through breast milk act as immune system boosters to help fend off disease and illness
- Reduction in the diseases and illnesses listed above
- Less environmental impact (no packaging, and does not contribute to factory farming)
- Less work missed, and lower public and private insurance costs for families who breastfeed
- Reduces high blood pressure, obesity, and bad cholesterol rates later in life
- For premature babies, helps the brain stem to mature
- Less bleeding postpartum for mother, because of oxytocin helping the uterine vessels to clamp down properly
- For some mothers, delayed ovulation for 20-30 months
- Bonding between mother and baby enhanced
- Lowered risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes (in women without a history of gestational diabetes), pre-menopausal breast cancer, and ovarian cancers. These risks lower the longer a woman breastfeeds
And some Costs of Formula Feeding:
- Obesity is on the rise. According to Breastfeeding Fights Obesity, 15-20 % of obesity could have been prevented by breastfeeding
- Childhood diseases and illnesses listed above are higher risks with formula fed babies
- Not breastfeeding can cause health problems in the mother, to include: excessive bleeding after giving birth (this is caused because oxytocin is not produced to help the blood vessels in the uterus clamp down properly), ovarian cancer, breast cancer before menopause, for mothers who had gestational diabetes, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is higher, and osteoporosis.)
- Environmental impact (factory farming and product packaging)
Obviously I am an advocate of breastfeeding. I think you all knew that by now. And this blog post is not intended to point fingers at Old Navy for manufacturing such a product, but it is to bring attention to the issue at hand. Formula feeding HARMS babies. Babies do NOT deserve to be formula fed, and more support and education needs to be given to women during pregnancy about breastfeeding. As was written in my blog before about breastfeeding awareness, here are some things you can do:
Write to your local legislature concerning breastfeeding.
Learn more about your state laws about breastfeeding.
Write to your local school, school board, all the way up to the Department of Education to inform them of the importance of breastfeeding being taught in schools, and of a breastfeeding policy in schools.
- Do not purchase products that are in support of formula feeding.
Educate the people who make negative comments.
Teach your children that breastfeeding is appropriate, normal, natural, and healthy.
Write to your local hospitals and encourage them to stop passing out formula to every woman who gives birth.
Attend local La Leche League meetings to learn more.
Become a lactation consultant, counselor, or even just a friend who is helpful to new breastfeeding mothers.Pass on information, literature, education, support, etc to those new to breastfeeding.
A special thanks to If Breastfeeding Offends You, for offering some awesome alternatives to the Old Navy one piece outfit, for breastfeeding mothers.
As always, thank you so much for reading what I write. Please give me your opinion about this. The floor is open, now is your chance!