Conversations among friends and between strangers fueled my pumping obsession. Every time I thought I was ready to skip a session or wean my son, I felt this peculiar sense of failure. "Not yet..." nagged a little voice. I'd ask other people how their feeding was going and then persist with my own despite my frustration and annoyance. I also made the crucial mistake of reading popular parenting blogs where I'd see talk of only weaning well past the 12-month mark. I feel like I passed the first parenting test and when people converse about infant nourishment, I feel proud stating that I did whatever it took to give him the "best" start.
A new study debunks the idea that extended exclusive breastfeeding wards off childhood obesity. Maybe we should use these results as an opportunity to ask ourselves whether having all mothers breastfeed exclusively for four or six months should really be the ultimate goal? Shouldn't other considerations about mother/child bonding, maternal sanity, child thriving and family unity be taken into account? Isn't it possible that we may have reached the level of exclusive breastfeeding that reflects the portion of the mother/child population for whom this is the best option, all things weighed?
Baby formula is a big killer in less developed countries, but even where access to health care is good, not breastfeeding increases illness. Yet companies are still allowed to use advertising to convince parents to use their products. Those looking to make a buck from the product have no business "educating" about it.