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Stand Up For Breastfeeding

Don't be dissuaded from what's best for babies

Part two of two

Don’t let medical personnel undermine breastfeeding. What mothers feed their infants is very important for their child’s lifetime health and well being.

Mother's milk, developed through evolution with thousands of ingredients to build the human brain, body and immune system, is incomparable with a man-made product of a couple dozen ingredients that are non-human and in wrong proportions1-3.

How medical personnel undermine mothers’ decisions about breastfeeding

  • Acting as if formula and breastmilk are comparable
  • Staying neutral about feeding choice decision
  • Not informing pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding
  • Using medical drug interventions during a normal birth
  • Separating baby from mother right after birth
  • Sending babies to nursery at night
  • Not encouraging regular skin-to-skin contact and 24-hour mother-child togetherness
  • Not collaborating with lactation support
  • Not encouraging breastfeeding on demand
  • Giving newborns infant formula, sugar water, or pacifiers
  • Giving free samples of formula to moms who are uncertain or say they want to breastfeed
  • Giving inaccurate information about prescription medication instead of using Thomas Hale’s, Medications and Mothers


Breastfeeding should be started as soon as possible after birth, even with cesareans. During the first hour of life, babies' instincts prepare them to breastfeed. 63,64 Medical interventions like an epidural or a baby's physical or neurological difficulties can hinder babies' ability to latch onto the breast right away.65,66 Even so, babies who have initial difficulties latching can learn to breastfeed efficiently in due time, especially with the help of a lactation consultant. 67,68

Continuous touch, even with dad, encourages breastfeeding.69 Feeding within the first hour of birth is extremely important for long-term breastfeeding success.70When babies are taken away from their mothers during the crucial first hour, they are often fed formula.71

Breastfeeding on demand, even at night, right after the child is born helps to ensure that mothers will not run out of milk later.51 95% of women are physiologically able to breastfeed. Mothers’ breast milk actually adapts in both quantity and quality to the changing nutritional needs of the child.60,61

Frequent feeding is vital. Babies need to eat frequently to keep the body nourished during its rapid growth. Just like growing children, babies go through growth spurts, causing them to eat more or less frequently at varying intervals during their growth.61 Frequent feedings signal the needs of the baby to the mother’s body, which will produce what is needed.61

Lack of support is the one of the top reasons that moms don’t breastfeed.73 Although 95% of moms are physiologically capable of breastfeeding, being neutral about breastfeeding is a lack of support.

Breastfeeding Exclusively is important.

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that mothers breastfeed exclusively for the first six months after birth.74,75 Breast milk supplies the vitamins, minerals, nutrition and hydration that babies need.74-76 Formula populates the infant’s gut with pathogenic bacteria.77

Breastfeeding Length

It is normal and natural to breastfeed for longer than one year. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for at least two years.75 Even though the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that moms breastfeed for at least one year, only one in five women in the US are breastfeeding at all when their child is one year old.78 Breast milk builds the child’s immune system which does not reach adult functioning until age 6 or so. The health benefits the child gains through extended breastfeeding last a lifetime.3

Premature babies benefit from breastmilk

Breastmilk is the best medicine for all babies, including premature babies.74,79 A mother's milk is specially designed to nourish her premature child, preventing infections, even death.74, 79-85

Breastfeeding is correlated with:

REMEMBER, Lactation consultants have the knowledge and teaching skills to help moms and babies successfully breastfeed. Consultants can help moms navigate challenges that come and go.

Check out the CDC guidelines for baby-friendly hospitals:

World Health Organization’s Ten Steps To Successful Breastfeeding.

The BFHI promotes, protects, and supports breastfeeding through The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding for Hospitals, as outlined by UNICEF/WHO. The steps for the United States are:

1 - Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.

2 - Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.

3 - Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.

4 - Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.

5 - Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.

6 - Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated.

7 - Practice “rooming in”-- allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.

8 - Encourage breastfeeding on demand.

9 - Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.

10 - Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

Go to Part One

Other informational posts on breastfeeding:

Post #1discusses why you should care about breastfeeding, no matter who you are.

Post #2 discusses assumptions about infant formula that are wrong.

Post #3discusses myths about infant formula.

Post #4discusses the TREMENDOUS benefits of doing what is normal: breastfeeding.

Post #5 addresses myths about breastfeeding.

**Check out our YouTube video on breastfeeding vs. formula.**

Post #6 discusses real truths about breastfeeding.

Post #7 provides links to resources for breastfeeding.

Post #8 summarizes the prior posts' main messages in blunt terms.

Post # 9 gives the bottom line about breastfeeding vs. formula.


63) Small, M. (1998). Our babies, ourselves: How biology and culture shape the way we parent. New York: Random House.

64) Colson, S., Meek, J., & Hawdon, J. (2007). Optimal positions for the release of primitive neonatal reflexes stimulating breastfeeding. Early Human Development, 84, 441-9.

65) Rowe-Murray, H. & Fisher, J. (2002). Baby friendly hospital practices: Cesarean section is a persistent barrier to early initiation of breastfeeding. Birth, 29(2), 124-31.

66) Baumgarder, D., Muehl, P., Fischer, M., & Pribbenow, B. (2003). Effect of labor epidural anesthesia on breast-feeding of healthy full-term newborns delivered vaginally. JABFP, 16(1), 7-13.

67) Sisk, P.M., Lovelady, C.A., Dillard, R.G., & Gruber, K.J. (2006). Lactation counseling for mothers of very low birth weight infants: Effect on maternal anxiety and infant intake of human milk. Pediatrics, 117(1), e67-e75.

68) Bonuck, K.A., Trombley, M., Freeman, K., & McKee, D. (2005). Randomized, controlled trial of a prenatal and postnatal lactation consultant intervention on duration and intensity of breastfeeding up to 12 months. Pediatrics, 116(6), 1413-26.

69) Erlandsson, K., Dsilna, A., Fagerberg, I., & Christensson, K. (2007). Skin-to-skin care with the father after cesarean birth and its effect on newborn crying and prefeeding behavior. Birth, 34(2), 105-14.

70) Mikiel-Kostyra, K, Mazur, J., & Boltruszko, I. (2002). Effect of early skin-to-skin contact after delivery on duration of breastfeeding: a prospective cohort study. Acta Paediatrica, 91(12), 1301-6.

71) Perez-Escamilla, R., Pollitt, E., Lonnerdal, B., & Dewey, K.G. (1994). Infant feeding policies in maternity wards and their effect on breast-feeding success: An analytical overview. American Journal of Public Health, 84(1), 89-97.

72) Arke, J. (1991). Infant feeding: the physiological basis. Bulletin of the WHO 1989. World Health Organization, Geneva, 67(suppl.) online at:

73) Ahluwalia, I.B., Morrow, B., & Hsia, J. (2005). Why do women stop breastfeeding? Findings from the pregnancy risk assessment and monitoring system. Pediatrics, 116, 1408-12.

74) Gartner, L.M., Morton, J., Lawrence, R.A., Naylor, A.J., O’Hare, D., Schanler, & R.J., Eldelman, A.I.; American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding. (2005). Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Pediatrics, 115(2), 496-506.

75) Fifty-Fifth World Health Assembly. Infant and Young Child Nutrition: Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2002.

76) Goldberg, N.M. & Adams, E. (1983). Supplementary water for breast-fed babies in a hot and dry climate-not really a necessity. Arch Dis Child, 56(1), 73-4.

77) Penders, J., Thijs, C., Vink, C., Stelma, F.F., Snijders, B., Kummeling, I., van den Brandt, P.A., & Stobberingh, E.E. (2006). Factors influencing the composition of the intestinal microbiota in early infancy. Pediatrics, 118(2), 511-21.


79) Schanler, R.J. (2001). The use of human milk for premature infants. Pediatr Clin North Am, 48, 207-219.

80) Horwood, L.J., Darlow, B.A., & Mogridge, N. (2001). Breast milk feeding and cognitive ability at 7- 8 years. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed, 84, F23-F27.

81) Amin, S.B., Merle, K.S., Orlando, M.S., Dalzell, L.E., & Guillet, R. (2000). Brainstem maturation in premature infants as a function of enteral feeding type. Pediatrics, 106, 318-322.

82) Hylander, M.A., Strobino, D.M., & Dhanireddy, R. (1998). Human milk feedings and infection among very low birth weight infants. Pediatrics, 102(3).

83) Schanler, R.J., Shulman, R.J., & Lau, C. (1999). Feeding strategies for premature infants: beneficial outcomes of feeding fortified human milk versus preterm formula. Pediatrics, 103, 1150-1157.

84) Blaymore, Bier, J., Oliver, T., Ferguson, A., & Vohr, B.R. (1999). Human milk reduces outpatient upper respiratory symptoms in premature infants during their first year of life. J Perinatol, 22, 354 -359.

85) Chen, A., & Rogan, W. J. (2004). Breastfeeding and the Risk of Postneonatal Death in the United States. Pediatrics, 113(5), e435-e439.

86) Horwood, J. and Fergusson, M. (1998). Breastfeeding and Later Cognitive and Academic Outcomes. Pediatrics, 101(1), e9.

87) Richards, M., Hardy, R., & Wadsworth, M.E. (2002). Long-term effects of breastfeeding in a national birth cohort: educational attainment and midlife cognitive function. Public Health Nutrition, 5(5), 631-5.

88) Victora C.G., Barros, F.C., Horta, B.L., & Lima, R.C. (2005). Breastfeeding and school achievement in Brazilian adolescents. Acta Paediatrica, 94(11), 1656-60.

89) McCreadie, R. G. (1997) The Nithsdale Schizophrenia Surveys 16. Breast-feeding and schizophrenia: preliminary results and hypotheses. British Journal of Psychiatry, 170, 334-337.

90) Peet , M., Poole, J. & Laugharne, J. (1997) Infant feeding and the development of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 24, 255-256.

91) Hoefer, C. & Hardy, M. (1929). Later development of breast fed and artificially fed infants. JAMA, 92, 615-9.

92) Pollock, J.I. (1994). Long-term associations with infant feeding in a clinically advantaged population of babies. Dev Med Child Neurol, 36, 429-40

93) Mortensen, E., Michaelsen, K., Sanders, S., Reinisch, J. (2002). The Association Between Duration of Breastfeeding and Adult Intelligence. JAMA, 287(18), 2365-71.

94) Bauer, G., Ewald, S., Hoffman, J., & Dubanoski, R. (1991). Breastfeeding and cognitive development of three year old children. Psychol Rep, 68(3 pt. 2), 1218.

95) Taylor, B. & Wadsworth, J. (1984). Breastfeeding and child development at five years of age. Dev Med Child Neurol, 26, 73-80.

96) Alati, R., Van Dooren, K., Najman, J.M., Williams, G.M., & Clavarino, A. (2009). Early weaning and alcohol disorders in offspring: Biological effect, mediating factors or residual confounding? Addiction, 104, 1324–1332.

*From the brochure, Facts about FEEDING BABIES: For medical personnel by the University of Notre Dame Breastfeeding Education Project (Members: Dr. Darcia Narvaez, Stephanie Sieswerda, Elizabeth Ledden, Abbey Warkentin, Karly Denkhaus; 2011) in consultation with the Saint Joseph County Breastfeeding Coalition, Indiana, USA.