Hannah Martin, December 10, 2017
…But the idea that mothers should breastfeed at all costs is being challenged by a vocal group of parents, doctors and researchers around the world, and now in New Zealand.
They argue mums feel pressured into breastfeeding when it isn’t working for them or their babies, and in some cases women who are unable to make enough milk unintentionally starve their newborns, leading to dehydration, brain damage and even death.
Their biggest concern is not whether a baby is given breast milk or formula, but whether they are getting enough nutrition: That being “fed is best.”
‘REDEFINING A SUCCESSFUL FEED’
“Formula has become a bad word – but there is no denying it has saved lives,” co-founder of the Fed is Best Foundation, Dr Christie del Castillo-Hegyi says.
While preparing for the birth of her first baby, del Castillo-Hegyi “read all the books and took all the classes” she could about breastfeeding.
Her son took to the breast with no trouble, but became jaundiced and would cry inconsolably after feeding.
After he lost 15 per cent of his body weight in three days, the American newborn brain injury specialist was told she’d expressed no milk in that time.
Her son developed a severe form of dehydration called hypernatremia and required hospitalisation.
“I knew the moment I saw his labs, even though people all around me were telling me he was fine, that I had disabled him for the rest of his life…”
del Castillo-Hegyi says Fed is Best want more women to talk about the issues and risks of breastfeeding in the hopes it will normalise mixed and formula feeding.
“They’re told it’s their fault, they did it incorrectly, they didn’t try hard enough or weren’t given enough support – when it’s a matter of biology.”
Read more at Stuff.Co.NZ.