Thank you for the article called "When and how to start babies on solid foods" in your 2016 Health Care Guide.
Clarifications of a few points would be beneficial to mothers who might be pregnant and seeking information on safe infant feeding.
Your article said "Breast milk or infant formula should be the food of choice for infants younger than six months."
According to the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics, healthy and preferred infant feeding has a very definitive hierarchy of feeding choices that does not equally compare the two choices you placed side-by-side.
Breastfeeding is the resounding norm, as a first choice, with very few exceptions. Breast milk is the perfect food made especially for human babies. Obviously, the second choice, after breastfeeding, is pumped breast milk from the mother. Third would be donor breast milk or banked breast milk. As a fourth choice there is artificial milk products or chemical infant formula.
Artificial milk/formula has many proven risks and your article presented it as an equivocal substitute to human breast milk. Formula has been proven, via evidence-based studies, to increase many types of infections, cancer, diabetes, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, obesity, asthma and skin disorders.
Even one meal of formula can alter the infant's intestines for up to seven weeks and disturb the baby's ability to absorb the mother's antibodies found in the breast milk. Antibodies are the protection our body makes against diseases that we have been exposed to our whole life.
Unfortunately, some mothers have difficulty breastfeeding. I understand. I was unable to breastfeed my second child. At Delta County Memorial Hospital we have lactation counselors available 24 hours a day to answer your questions. No matter where you have your baby, we can provide encouragement and help with some common hurdles.
It is time to move away from the non-offensive happy statement "Breast is best"... of course it is! That is like putting a warning label on cigarettes that says "Fresh air is best." It's time to tell it like it is and protect the babies. Formula/ artificial milk is dangerous.
Kimberlee Eckhart RN, BSN, Certified Lactation Counselor