Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I need to preface this post. I am very pro-breastfeeding. However, I know that some women really struggle with it, and that breastfeeding may not be possible for them. I am for education and support for woman when it comes to breastfeeding. I am not anti-formula. I signed up for all the free formula and diaper samples before Charlotte was born, and I'm glad I did, because we needed formula when I had to go to the hospital for gall bladder surgery and then with the complications afterward. (My medication was not compatible with breastfeeding the second time I was in the hospital and I had to pump and dump while DH had to learn the ins and outs of bottle feeding! Thank goodness for an amazing friend who came to help him and teach him all about it. And stayed up in the night with my girl.)

So this is my problem. I received a pamphlet and coupon from a formula company yesterday. I usually pass on the coupons to people who need them, and glance through the pamphlet quickly to see if there is any interesting information. There was a section on "weaning tips" which caught my eye and I was astonished to read this:

"For older babies (9 months +) nursing is more about comfort and contact than feeding."


I agree that comfort and contact are a huge part of breastfeeding. But, really??? Are you serious??? I would say that Charlotte's main source of food is breastmilk. She feeds often, on demand. At least every 2 hours, probably more most days. (Depending on the time of day.)

Being the gullible and easily influenced person that I am, I started to wonder......
I have heard people mention that nutrients diminish out of breastmilk. (In particular, iron. Which is why Charlotte still eats iron fortified baby cereal and finger cereals such as Cheerios and Nutrios.) Maybe there is something to this........

So I looked up information on Dr. Sears' website. I really agree with his outlook on breastfeeding and attachment parenting. (I'm not sure if you will be able to see the site without signing up for the newsletter, but it is worth it in my opinion!) I came across this page where someone asked the exact question. And of course I discovered that breastmilk is still a wonderful source of nutrition and antibodies for babies and toddlers. Also, check out this page which explains the nutrients in breastmilk. Fascinating!

So why would a formula company put false information in their pamphlet? I am pretty disturbed by this, and I do not think this is right. Many, many mothers will be receiving this, it is a form of education, really. Why discourage breastfeeding after 9 months? The only reason I can think of is money. They make money when women choose to stop breastfeeding.

I think I will write a letter to the company. I hope you will too! (Send me an e-mail if you want more info!)


  1. I had a teacher in high school who was really interested in a lot of global issues and was very anti Nestle in particular because of what they had done in third world countries to discourage breast feeding. One of my best friends who is still breast feeding her son who's almost 2 found out that it decreases your risk of breast cancer by 50% which is not something that's widely known but she feels strongly that it should be. When she first had her baby I did some research and I was amazed at the amount of misinformation that was out there and the sort of negative attitude that seems to be out there. I agree that it shouldn't be forced on people but I think there should be more positive information out there.

  2. Great blog post, Pamela. After reading this the other day I was flipping through my "What to Expect, The Toddler Years Edition". Wasn't actually looking for anything about weaning but I came across a few shocking things they have written in response to some questions mothers have about the right time for weaning from breastfeeding. In the thirteenth month chapter they say a very similar thing to what you've found. "...Unless you want to see her rush home from school for a snack at the breast, you should consider initiating the weaning yourself..." They also suggest that children over a year old that continue to breastfeed don't do as well health wise as others that have been weaned onto cows milk. It also goes as far to say that women who breastfeed are not able to nurture their spouses as much as they need, they suggest to "save some nurturing for your partner". "...besides making spousal intimacy inconvenient at best, it may, on a subconcious level satisfy both emotional and physical needs for closeness, diminishing your interest in sex..."
    I was shocked and appalled by all this I was reading. There was much more than just these few things I've quoted.. Sad that there is such negativity towards the continuation of breastfeeding after the first year! I know all us mamas can see firsthand the benefits it has provided our babes with, and it certainly doesn't cause such problems in our marraige as the book suggests. Ridiculous! Thanks again, always good reading your blog :)

  3. Wow, I haven't looked at the "What to Expect the Toddler Years" and I can't believe those quotes are from the book. It's AMAZING what culture dictates to us through current literature. I can't believe the "save some nurturing for your partner" bit......... as if breastfeeding diminishes your sex life!!! Thanks so much Kate for sharing this and exposing what is false.

    I just finished reading an article in the newest issue of "Mothering" (a magazine I think you'd love!) about breastfeeding in Mongolia and how it is the cultural NORM. So, so good. I will have to lend it to you sometime!

    Here's a quote from the article: "In Mongolia, breastfeeding isn't equated with dependence and weaning isn't the finish line." -Ruth Kamnitzer

    In my opinion, North America has a long way to go in terms of public acceptance of breastfeeding, especially when held in the light of another culture.