Using the guilt issue to undermine breastfeeding

“Do not make the mother feel guilty for not breastfeeding” is a common argument used by formula advocates for not supporting and promoting breastfeeding. Formula company manufacturers and health professionals make use of the “not making mothers feel guilty” ploy to deflect attention from their lack of knowledge and understanding regarding breastfeeding. This allows them not to feel guilty regarding their ignorance of how to help women overcome difficulties with breastfeeding. The many difficulties which women experience with breastfeeding could have been overcome and prevented in the first place if mothers were not undermined in their attempts to breastfeed.

Formula Feeding versus Breastfeeding

Formula company manufacturers make use of effective advertising to try and convince mothers that formula feeding is just as good as breastfeeding; therefore there is no need to make such a big deal about women not breastfeeding. However, clinical studies show that this is not the case. To the contrary, it shows that breastfeeding is much more appropriate than any formula feeding. Breastfeeding, thus breast milk, has many theoretical advantages over formula feeding. Together with the theoretical advantages, clinical data shows that both breastfed babies and their mothers are much better off than formula fed babies. Breastfed babies have fewer gut infections, fewer ear infections, and also have a lesser chance of developing juvenile diabetes, among other illnesses. The breastfeeding mother has a lesser chance of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and is also protected against osteoporosis.


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Approaching Breastfeeding without making Mother feel Guilty

It is important for all pregnant women and their families to have knowledge regarding the risks of formula feeding. All women should be encouraged to breastfeed; they should receive the best possible support to begin breastfeeding once baby is born. Supporting the mother is necessary once breastfeeding problems arise and the mother thus wants to give up breastfeeding altogether. Sore nipples, engorgement of the breasts, thrush, etc. should not influence breastfeeding mothers switching to formula feeding. They should keep the long-term health of their babies in mind.

Promoting Breastfeeding amongst all Women

Who does really feel guilty about breastfeeding? It is not the women who make an informed choice to formula feed, but rather those who wanted to breastfeed, who tried, but ultimately failed. In order to eliminate the guilt issue in women regarding breastfeeding, what is necessary is not avoiding promotion of breastfeeding, but rather promoting breastfeeding together with good, knowledgeable, and skillful support. Sadly though, this is presently not the case in most countries.

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