Sunday, March 02, 2014

Why do these few negative studies receive so much coverage?

Cynthia Colen did a study using data collected for another purpose, with poor definitions of breastfeeding and based on a couple of years recall, she then assess the association of breastfeeding yes/no with a variety of behavioral and a couple of health outcomes later in childhood and adolescence. Not a word about the health outcomes under 4 years of age, nor coverage of the many health areas impacted by breastfeeding, only obesity and asthma.  Further, she combines children by this yes/no feeding so that no matter how many children, the aggregate is one. Then, controling for more than 30 variables and 11 outcomes, there are no significant findings when she then compares within family.

This study does raise several questions, primarily whether this approach to doing sibling studies is appropriate, and whether studying the issue of breastfeeding over a period of decades when the patterns of breastfeeding were mostly quite minimal is appropriate. But the biggest question is why this got so much press interest.

Why? perhaps because it supports industry's contention that there is no benefit to breastfeeding? The forgiving side of me says, well, we have had so much good news about breastfeeding that anything that disagrees is of note. However, most of me says that there are those who strive to get any bad news out and about as much as possible.  For example, this is the first breastfeeding study that is fully covered by the Dairy press, and it is also hyped by certain feminist groups that feel that anything a female body can do is to be dismissed as "biological determinism" rather than as a source of pride and empowerment.

I think that another reason these rare studies get so much press is that we still make it so hard to breastfeed successfully in the US, that folks get a bit energised on both sides. If we had paid maternity leave, which by the way is associated with fewer premature births and more exclusive breastfeeding, there would be little reason for women to have the emotional overlay that we have in the US.

At the Breastfeeding and Feminism International Conference each March, we try to have discourse rather than finger pointing, discussion rather than accusation.

So, until we can help all researchers to look for data with solid definitions of exclusive breastfeeding, and until we have enough data to answer these questions without covering decades of time with all the differences this implies, we will continue to see misleading headlines from the very few studies with negative outcomes.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Interview with Marie Biancuzzo

Dear Friends:

Marie interviewed me about Innocenti, LAM and the SACIM. I hope you find it of interest.

Voice America Interview - Marie and Miriam on "Born to be Breastfed"
(I hope this works - I've never linked on a blog...)

Warmest regards and much health and happiness in the New Year!
Miriam (DocLabbok)

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Happy 21st World Breastfeeding Week!!

This annual celebration keeps this vital issue for mothers and babies alive! While some may say that we have too many "days of..." and "weeks of..." and even "years of...." I have been impressed with the impact of World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) over the years since the original Innocenti Meeting and Declaration of Aug1, 1990, gave birth to the idea.

The Innocenti Declaration called for 4 operational targets: interdisciplinary national breastfeeding policy, the Ten Steps for Successful Breastfeeding in the Maternity Setting, Implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (and subsequent WHA resolutions) and Maternity protection, including paid leave and paid breastfeeding breaks for feeding co-located children.

This four pillars stand on a base of community involvement, awareness and action. This is what WBW is all about - sustaining that base.  Last year, the 20th WBW was dedicated to the Ten Steps, and this year it is Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers, underscoring the need for peer support for every woman, whether she is working, at home, or even the doctor delivering the services!

Let's pick ourselves up this week and re-pledge our efforts to ensure that, within our lifetimes, we see a day that every mother is fully supported and enabled to succeed in optimally breastfeeding her children, through support for the four pillar, and by continually energizing the community.


Warmest wishes to all,

Friday, March 15, 2013

Poor Mayor Bloomberg!!

Poor Mayor Bloomberg (Is this an oxymoron?). Oxymoron or no, the Mayor of NYC deserves our empathy and support as he has taken several solid public health stands. And what does he get for it? Blastings from conservative and liberal press alike. Government overstepping its bounds, individual rights, etc etc etc.  Please note that the healthiest countries in the world have government supported health care....

Reformers must stick their necks out, and sticking one's neck out is often associated with getting it chopped off if your not very subtle.  I applaud the Mayor for trying to do what is in his power to reduce barriers for breastfeeding moms, and to reduce unwitting overindulgence in sugars.  I wish folks would worry about our high infant mortality rate and obesity epidemic rather than attack someone for taking small steps to a better future.

Until the next irritant or provocation, signing off, DocLabbok

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Great article in TIME magazine, with quotes from good friends and fellow ABM Fellows!

I loved Alison's comparison to the treatment for ED (erectile dysfunction), opining that physicians have no code for dysfunction associated with feeding, and there is no associated reimbursement.

We must do more to ensure physician training, use of LCs, and reimbursement for "BD:" breast dysfunction.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Breastfeeding and Feminism has a 7 year itch....

It truly is amazing how quickly - or slowly - things change. When CGBI first opened its doors in 2006, the main breastfeeding issue in our region was... whether or not we should work on the issue (!)

Today, the issues are increasingly complex and rewarding to address: How long should we breastfeed? Can we co-sleep and breastfeed? Which of the Ten Steps has the most impact? Is every business and every child care sufficiently supporting mothers in mik expression and feeding?

Perhaps my favorite headache-provoking question is: IS SUPPORTING BREASTFEEDING A PRO- OR ANTI-FEMINIST ISSUE?

Paige Hall Smith and I have been discussion the Breastfeeding and Feminism Series as we are planning its 8th iteration, March 21/22, 2013, and we are muddling around with - what should we call it? Somehow, we have not been able to find resources for this conference under the current title, but we know we have a unique and special series that has the specific intent to explore breastfeeding from women's perspectives, not as a child nutrition issue.

Our book based on the 5th conference in the series is out: Smith PH, Hausman BL, Labbok M. Beyond Health, Beyond Choice: Breastfeeding Constraintes and Realities, Rutgers Press.  We are hoping that this book will be used to address some of the macinations coming from recent news articles that complain that supporting breastfeeding is a form of entrapment for women. Dear friends, the feminist movement was born to gain respect for women and the things they have to offer.  Instead, we see writings in which feminist are disrespecting women's own abilities, disrespecting each family's desire to have healthy children, disrespecting  that women should be enabled to act on their best judgement based on non-biased information: these are not feminist ideals that we were fighting for 40-50 years ago, and such disrespect for other women should not be part of feminism today.

So, should we change our name to Women and Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding: A women's issue, or should we stay with Breastfeeding and Feminism?

Personally, with the way so-called feminists are writing about the issue these days, I wonder....

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Helps to look around the world to find ourselves!!

Dear Fellow Frustrated Friends and Colleagues:

Marketing of formula brands is increasing, no question. Somehow, we need to raise consciousness again, or we will have a major downturn in breastfeeding rates...again.

I was delighted to read this blog:
that provides a UK view on the marketing practices we see here, and here and matter where here is to you!!

Please read and relate to your own country's marketing issues...there may be some that you have missed.

Here at CGBI we have research showing how much the ads and labels can undermine women's confidence - we are hoping to share these data as soon as they are accepted for publication.
It seems if it is not one thing, it is another:

And, at least one formula manufacturer now sells water...please tell me that that isn't a scam and a half in countries with a good water supply... and they are getting their brand into everyone's hands. If Mom is drinking that brand, she obviously assumes that it is good for all...

Until I feel the need to rant again, signing off, DocLabbok