Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Happy 2018! And Why Does Breastfeeding Need to be Exclusive?

This exclusive breastfeeding initiative bothers me for several reasons:
- The goal is a healthy baby. Demanding a specific path to that goal is unnecessary and produces rules and policies in line with exclusive breastfeeding that are not necessarily in line with the real goal of a healthy baby. It's like locking 3 out of 4 exits in a burning building. Sure, maybe it's not ideal that people go through the kitchen to escape the building, but the goal is that they get out alive, right?
- Is there any evidence that supplementing with formula in addition to breast milk is not as good as exclusive breastfeeding? Why this emphasis on exclusivity?
- An unknown percentage of women are unable to breastfeed for various reasons. This unnecessary emphasis on exclusivity sets them up for disappointment and feelings of failure, during a particularly challenging time both physically and mentally.
- When studies controlled for factors like economic status, education, and mother's IQ, there was very little difference between exclusive breastfeeding vs formula feeding.

Much more info here at


D. said...

Hi Claire,

I completely agree! I exclusively breastfed, but only because my little one wouldn't take a bottle, not even now for water. Even then, I felt "bad" trying to get him to take a bottle. Yet at the same time, women are shamed for nursing in public. You just can't win!


P.S. Sorry I had to delete my first comment because of a typo.

kuri said...

No worries; I deleted the remnant heh.

Yeah, all this shaming of women is really really crazy. Way too many people are trying to get other people to feel guilty. And there's the inherent mommy guilt too!
I was talking to a friend today and I accused her of feeling guilty about her baby crying when she leaves him at the nanny share and daycare. Gotta shed that stuff asap; only gonna weigh you down.

I gotta say, people are pretty cavalier about nursing here though. A lot of people don't use covers or anything. In Tokyo they're pretty fanatical about using nursing covers, aren't they? Can't remember since at the time I didn't pay too much attention. I remember when women wearing short shorts was kind of risque...