Friday, September 02, 2005

Katrina's babies

I caught the end of a news piece about one of the babies born during or in the aftermath of Katrina and was horrified to see the baby being fed a bottle. I am less of a rabid lactivist than I was when my first was born (and I had a heck of a time breastfeeding him, but that's another story). I'm more understanding now about the choices people make.

However, that said, I think that the health of these babies absolutely requires that they have a steady and sterile supply of breastmilk. There is no telling what conditions these babies will be living in. They may not have reliable supplies of clean water or formula. Those are the conditions under which breastfeeding is clearly safer, and where formula fed babies can face illness and death as a direct result of their feeding method. Will someone please tell anyone delivering babies near the Gulf coast to inform new mothers of the realities of their feeding choices and to encourage in any way possible that these mothers breast feed their babies? I want to tread carefully around the idea that the medical community controls or should control how babies are fed, since I believe strongly in parental choice/informed consent for a variety of medical issues. But I do believe that the medical community has a strong influence on how new mothers feed their babies, and that simply offering "breast or formula" to new mothers in the hurricane-struck area is negligent at least, and shows considerable lack of regard for the future health of the newborn.

1 comment:

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