Sunday, October 02, 2005

Breastfeeding Down Under

Two interesting stories from Australian papers this week. The Mercury reports that babies who are breastfed grow into more beautiful adults, according to Dr. Brian Palmer, a US dentist who spoke at a conference in Tanzania:
"I believe the best chance for an individual to have a beautiful natural smile -- no need for orthodontics -- with a nice occlusion is if that individual was breastfed as an infant," he says.
The Australian discusses extended breastfeeding in Price of Premature Weaning. In particular, the article discusses the social stigma faced by those who are breastfeeding a toddler:
A number of women taking part in an online chat at the parenting website to mark World Breastfeeding Week last month told of their negative experiences feeding babies of all ages in public and unwelcome reactions from family and friends.

"My sister-in-law has a beautiful, healthy breastfed one-year-old and she has been bombarded with (comments such as) 'Gross', 'When are you going to stop that', 'What a disgusting thing to be doing at her age'," one said.

This despite the World Health Organizations' reccomendation that babies be breastfed until the age of two.

Breastfeeding rates in Australia are higher than those in the US and the UK, but still fall far short of the goal. For instance:
A 1997 study estimated that $11.5 million could be saved each year in Australia if the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding at three months was increased from 60 per cent to 80 per cent (Breastfeeding Review 1997;5(1)).
Norway has the highest breastfeeding rates among the Western nations, with 80 per cent of babies still breastfed at six months.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

It is so sad how people respond to bresastfeeding!

I was blessed to be able to nurse my son for 13 months. During those 13 months, someone close to me often remarked at how unnatural it is, disgusting, barbaric, and so on. I KNEW she was wrong, but it still hurt.

I am glad to see you comment on this issue. The more we talk about it, the more (I hope) people will respond positively about breastfeeding.