From Baby Cues Nurture with Nature: Fed Is Best

Author Philippa Murphy

13 May 2017

You may have heard the expression ‘Breast is Best’. In fact if you are a mother, you can’t help but hear that mantra. Well, now there is a new mantra on the block, which I am personally thrilled about – ‘Fed is Best.’ While I am a strong advocate for breastfeeding when it is working well in both a physical and mental capacity for the individual family and it is there choice, I am also a strong advocate for ‘Fed is Best’ when breast feeding is not the right choice for the baby’s physical health or the mother’s physical and/or mental health…

…However, there is a rapidly growing number of health professionals and practitioners, including myself, that are starting to openly talk about the mental and physical effects that the BFHI policy can create. One such research paper published in 2016 that investigated the ‘Interventions Intended to Support Breastfeeding, Updated Assessment of Benefit and Harms’ stated, ‘Using clinical judgement individualised for each mother and infant may result in better outcomes, than following a rigid system of practice. Any intervention, no matter how well-intentioned carries a risk of adverse effects.’2 Some of these effects may include jaundice, dehydration and in some cases death.

Another factor is dramatic weight loss. We are widely taught that ‘it is normal for a baby to lose 10% of their weight after birth’ and this is true to a degree because they have fluid retention. However, according to a Dr Brian Symon, ‘the hospitalisation of newborns for jaundice and dehydration caused by lack of food in those early days has steadily increased and are now the leading cause of newborn hospitalisation worldwide.