Save the Children on Monday released a report (.pdf) examining "[t]he four major barriers that prevent mothers from breastfeeding" -- community and cultural pressures, the shortage of health workers, a lack of maternity legislation, and inappropriate promotion of breast-milk substitutes." According to the report summary, "a series of recommendations -- to governments, international institutions and multinational companies -- [are put forward] to ensure that every infant is given the life-saving protection that breastfeeding can offer" (February 2013). The following is a summary of opinion pieces addressing the report.
Carolyn Miles, Huffington Post's "Parents" blog: "The real scandal is not breastfeeding late, but that too many moms don't get the support needed to breastfeed early -- or to keep breastfeeding, should they want to," Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children, writes. "So let's change the conversation and pose a different question. Are we supporting moms enough? In too many places, the answer is no," she continues. Miles discusses a number of the findings from the report and adds, "As moms, we all want the best for our children -- but any of us can tell you we cannot do it alone, especially right after birth. Motherhood is not a competition, but a sisterhood and we do much to help each other tackle the challenges we face. That can extend beyond our own communities, where moms and their babies face the greatest risks" (2/17).
Ros Wynne-Jones, Guardian's "Comment Is Free": Noting "Save the Children has called for cigarette-packet style warnings on boxes of formula milk covering a third of the packaging that explain why breastfeeding is so important -- giving women in developing countries the chance to make up their own minds," Wynne-Jones, a journalist and author, writes, "U.K. packaging -- on which the 'breastfeeding is best' advice is written in the minuscule writing that used to appear on cigarette packets -- has to change not to attack British women, but because of import and export of the products." She continues, "In the end, it is every woman's right to be empowered, informed and educated enough to make our decisions about how we feed our children. At the moment, that is not happening in a substantial part of the planet -- and that should make us all feel like failures" (2/19).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.