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Parenting, Pediatrics, Public Health, Women's Health

Breastfeeding: "Not only a lifestyle choice"

Breastfeeding: "Not only a lifestyle choice"

Given my history of writing about – and my passion for – this issue, I couldn’t let more time go by without flagging a recent Time Healthland piece on the health benefits of breastfeeding. In the article Bonnie Rochman highlights a “quietly worded statement” in which the American Academy of Pediatrics earlier this week called breastfeeding a “public health issue and not only a lifestyle choice.” And she explains why that’s such a big deal:

Much of the statement on infant nutrition doesn’t differ radically from previous versions. But the recognition on behalf of the group’s 60,000 pediatricians that breast is best for mom, baby and the nation’s general well-being is creating buzz in the breast-feeding community.

At Best for Babes, which promotes support for breast-feeding, co-founder Danielle Rigg praised the AAP for equating breast-feeding with public health. “In framing it that way, it becomes all of our responsibility — not just moms — to provide both the infrastructure and the social support to see to it that as many moms and babies as possible can do it,” she says. “If we can do it for breast cancer, we can do it for breastfeeding.”

Dr. Richard Schanler, chair of the AAP’s section on breast-feeding and director of neonatology at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Long Island, is even more candid. “It’s not should I or shouldn’t I?” says Schanler. “Of course you should. It’s important for the health of your baby. And it’s important for your health too.”

Previously: More breastfeeding support needed in hospitalsVictory for nursing moms: IRS now says breastfeeding is a medical expense, Surgeon general calls for more breastfeeding support and Breastfeeding called a “secret weapon to save billions of dollars”
Photo by myllissa

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