Given new scientific data that exclusively breastfed newborns are in fact at significant risk for brain-threatening hypoglycemia, jaundice and dehydration, mothers are asking how they can supplement in the first days of life without compromising their long-term breastfeeding success. What they don’t realize is that supplemented breastfeeding in the first days of life transitioning into full breastfeeding or combination feeding was in fact the norm before the WHO/UNICEF Baby-Friendly exclusive breastfeeding guidelines. In fact, the historical evidence shows that all native breastfeeding countries, before the Baby-Friendly guidelines, supplemented their newborns with the milk of wet nurses, sugar water and other forms of liquid nutrition, also called “pre-lacteal feeds,” almost universally until a mother’s milk came in. The reasons for supplementation were to prevent newborn hunger, starvation, jaundice, dehydration and hypoglycemia. Despite widespread mother-led supplementation of newborns in places like Bangladesh, mothers successfully breastfed the vast majority of their babies up to one (98%) to two years (89%) of age. We used common sense to feed our babies and that is how we protected them in the first days of life and beyond. Sadly, since the publication of the exclusive breastfeeding guidelines, hospitalizations for jaundice and dehydration have steadily increased and are now the leading causes of newborn hospitalization worldwide.
Here is Dr. Brian Symon talking about supplemented breastfeeding in the early days and how to transition over to full or combination breastfeeding.
By Dr. Brian Symon, General (family) Practitioner, Adelaide, South Australia
My heart goes out to the mothers writing about their struggle to breast feed and in some cases, babies ‘failing to thrive‘. Landon Johnson’s story is a tragedy.
As a Family Physician my work is largely focused on the care of pregnant women and newborn babies.
My stance is very simple.
1. The ONLY logical reason for having a child is ‘the joy of parenting’.
We don’t do it because it’s easy.
We don’t do it for the “life style”.
We don’t do it for the “money”.
We do it for the deep joy of raising a child and seeing that baby thrive and develop.
If it’s not being joyful for the mothers whom I care for I want to change things so that the pleasure and joy returns. Continue reading