Breast. No Bottle.

To nurse, or not to nurse: that is not a question!

Social barriers to breastfeeding. Medical solutions?

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The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding lists 7 barriers to breastfeeding in the United States:

1.Lack of knowledge among women about breastfeeding, why it is important, what it is like and how to make it work.

2. Social norms that make formula feeding acceptable via widespread formula advertising.

3. Poor family and social support that manifests itself as disapproval of breastfeeding or lack of actual breastfeeding experience among women’s friends that can be replicated.

4. Embarrassment – breasts are portrayed as sexual objects only in the US culture. Women are harassed and discriminated against because of breastfeeding.

5. Lactation problems such as sore nipples, engorged breasts, mastitis, leaking milk, pain, and inability of the infant to latch onto a breast. 50% of women report insufficient milk as the reason not to breastfeed. Lack of confidence in breastfeeding is often the culprit.

6. Employment and childcare are major obstacles to breastfeeding – there is no maternity leave in the US and no legislation that protects mothers from discrimination. Inflexibility in work hours, limited access to children during work hours, fears over job security, and obstacles to expressing and storing milk when direct breastfeeding is not possible contribute to high breastfeeding abandonment and failure rates.

7. Barriers Related to Health Services include biased personal opinions of the medical professionals and damaging to breastfeeding policies and practices in the hospitals where majority of infants are born. Western birth practices also contribute to breastfeeding difficulties and failure.

Is it not peculiar that culture replicates itself in all spheres of US life, including medicine, yet most of the effort to promote breastfeeding lies in the medical, not social sphere? Medicine is a very powerful, perhaps, the most powerful tool of social control today. Yet it is very impotent in changing breastfeeding behavior of women. Think about it.


Written by Medical Nemesis

May 7, 2012 at 14:56

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To nurse, or not to nurse: that is not a question!

Breast. No Bottle.

To nurse, or not to nurse: that is not a question!

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