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Breastfeeding: Good for Moms, Too

Posted on Apr 21, 2009

There have already been various studies about the beneficial effects of breastfeeding vis-à-vis infants, and now there’s evidence that this essential maternal activity can help protect mothers from heart attack, heart disease or stroke. Salud!


A US study found women who breastfed for more than a year were 10% less likely to develop the conditions than those who never breastfed.

Even breastfeeding for at least a month may cut the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

The research features in the journal Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

The study adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting breastfeeding has health benefits for both mother and baby.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 23, 2009 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

Oh CRAP!  I closed the html bold wrong.

SORRY!  If a moderator could change the }to ] it will be fixed.

But this is the ONLY site I know where you can’t edit out obvious mistakes after you post them.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 23, 2009 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment

What is NOT stated is that the breast-feeding nazis get women at their most vulnerable—just before and after they’ve had a baby.

My wife was in the hospital, after a c-section and the baby couldn’t get enough milk and was crying because he was hungry in the middle of the night.  My wife called the nurse and asked her to bring a bottle with formula in it. The nurse said “But if I do the lactation nurse will be very angry.” 

Wrong thing to say.  Very wrong thing to say.  That woke up Mother Tigress: “This is MY baby, not the lactation nurse’s! I’m the MOTHER and I want you to bring me a bottle for MY hungry baby NOW![/b}  And if that lactation nurse has a problem with that you can send her to ME and I’ll straighten her out.”

A bottle was brought and not another word was said to my wife.  And the lactation nurse never showed her face.

The moral: Breast feeding isn’t ALWAYS the right thing.  It’s not the ONLY thing.  An informed mother can and will make the decision of what’s best.

That doesn’t excuse Nestle’s actions.  But it is another side.

If women have the right to decide when to reproduce (and I believe 100% that they do) then they should have the right to decide on breast-feeding as well—without the PETA mentality in their face.

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By Edward Lark, April 23, 2009 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

I sent this comment yesterday, but it either has yet to be moderated or was deemed “unworthy” by whoever is moderating this thread. I have now registered with the site and will try again:

While not trying to pick any fights with the breast feeding evangelists, I feel compelled to point out that the headline here and on the BBC article is a classic case of the kind of over-reporting that often occurs around scientific studies and topics.

The study does not show that breast feeding provides benefits for mothers. It has only discovered a correlation between breast feeding and women that have a reduced incidence of certain health problems later in life. The key graph comes at the very end of the BBC article:

“However, it only showed an association between breast feeding and these health benefits. We will need further research to understand why this is the case.”

There very well may be a causal connection between extended breast feeding and later positive health outcomes for mothers who do so. The mechanism by which this might happen that is spelled out in the BBC article is plausible. However, there are also lots of other reasons for why such a correlation might exist that have nothing to do with the act of breast feeding being the cause of the positive health outcomes.

One obvious reason for such outcomes that springs to mind is that it is probably true that mothers who live lower stress lives are more likely to breast feed and breast feed longer than mothers who live in higher stress situations. We know that there is a causal connection between lower stress and better health. The association found in the above study may just be seeing a side effect of lower stress lives (increased incidence of breast feeding) with the lower stress itself being the cause of the better health outcomes.

Again, not trying to pick a fight. I have no problem believing that breast feeding is generally the optimal solution for early infant nutrition. Mothers who want to and are able to breast feed should do so. There are probably also a lot of incidental benefits to breast feeding that do not necessarily directly affect the long-term health of the mother. Breast feeding advocates do have a tendency to present breast feeding as the only viable option and demonize - whether intentionally or not - mothers who for whatever reason do not or cannot breast feed.

Accurate information is always best, and the study cited simply does not show what the articles are claiming it does. As the BBC article states, more research is needed.

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By samosamo, April 22, 2009 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

Corporate america meddling in people’s business where profits take priority over all else. And just as some corporate shrill on another post commented:

“”“Incorporation is a valuable vehicle for good, as well as bad. Cooperative organizations, corporations, facilitate self-governance within the context of our ‘chosen’ system. Similarly, it’s not the television that’s bad…it’s how it’s used.”“”

Yeah, fat lot of good they do with how they control and operate those corporations and how much good those tvs are being controlled by the MSM. Poisons are ‘good’ when used to eradicate vermin.

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By Edward Lark, April 22, 2009 at 9:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m sorry, but this is another key example of over-reporting on science news. This study does not prove that breast feeding is beneficial for mothers, it only shows an association between breast feeding and certain positive outcomes. The key graph (buried at the bottom of the BBC report and omitted here):

“However, it only showed an association between breast feeding and these health benefits. We will need further research to understand why this is the case.”

There could be many other reasons why mothers who were able to breast feed longer would show other positive health outcomes later in life. One easy one that immediately pops to mind is that mothers who are in lower stress life situations would be most likely to be mothers that could have the time and health to breast feed for longer periods and would naturally also be women who would more be more likely to show positive health outcomes later in life.

I am not saying that breast feeding does not provide benefits to mothers, but rather that an accurate account of this study does not prove any such benefit. This is a correlation, not causation. As the scientists themselves stated, further research is needed. Mothers who can and want to breast feed should do so, but there is no need to demonize mothers who for whatever reason cannot.

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By NYCartist, April 22, 2009 at 8:40 am Link to this comment

I usually dislike the BBC News’ articles on health.  There is a point I’d like to make about breastfeeding/nursing, from the mother’s point of view:it’s easy, relaxing (due to hormone release)and the baby makes more milk as s/he needs more by “demand”.  The LaLeche League was wonderful in the old days, and may still be around.

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By G.Anderson, April 22, 2009 at 8:17 am Link to this comment

There is little money to be made with healthy people, living healthy lives.

It’s much more profitable, to make everyone as sick as possible, then sell them drugs, invasive medical procedures, and costly insurance premiums.

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By Tom Semioli, April 22, 2009 at 6:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m a 49 year old male and breast feeding is still quite ejoyable.

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By nestoffour, April 22, 2009 at 1:49 am Link to this comment

Good job, Truthdig, posting this article!

Of interest might also be how the baby formula companies have been hard at work for decades in shaming and discouraging mothers from breastfeeding their infants.  The formula companies’ actions are criminal, the difference between breastfeeding and not breastfeeding is a matter of life or death for millions around the world. 

Here’s a little about Nestle, one of the many manufacturers of formula:

  The Nestle Boycott

In order to sell more of its infant formula in third world countries, Nestle would hire women with no special training and dress them up as nurses to give out free samples of Nestle formula. The free samples lasted long enough for the mother’s breast milk to dry up from lack of use. Then mothers would be forced to purchase the formula but, being poor, they would often mix the formula with unsanitary water or ‘stretch’ the amount of formula by diluting it with more water than recommended. The result was that babies starved all over the Third World while Nestle made huge profits from this predatory marketing strategy.

In 1977, a world-wide boycott was launched against the Nestle Corporation, which was found to be the most unethical of the several companies selling baby formula at the time.  Consumers all across the world stopped purchasing Nestle products.  The World Health Organization drafted the International Code on the Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes, which was signed by much of the world in the early ‘80’s and finally by the United States in 1994.

After a brief hiatus the Nestle boycott was relaunched in 1988 and continues to this day.  A recent report called “Cracking the Code” outlines the many present-day violations of the W.H.O. code.  This report is available from UNICEF at:

Unit 1, Rignals Lane
Chelmsford, Essex
United Kingdom
Tel: (01245)476315

Presently, the International boycott of Nestle products covers 18 countries:  Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK and USA.  The International Boycott is presently being coordinated by Baby Milk Action.

What You Can Do
Nestle is the world’s largest baby food company and increases it’s profits by promoting artificial infant feeding in violation of the W.H.O. code that has been signed by the US and many other nations.  Nestle knows that once a bottle has become between a mother and her child breastfeeding is more likely to fail and the company has gained a customer. Because of Nestle’s continued disrespect for the International Code and infant health the best thing you can do is stop purchasing Nestle products.

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