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Liquid Gold

Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Breastfeeding is the optimum method of feeding a baby. It delivers huge benefits to both mother and child. That's indisputable. But until the social supports are in place to make it possible for every woman to obtain proper assistance troubleshooting any breastfeeding problems (a lactation consultant is an unaffordable luxury to many women, after all) and for every woman to take a reasonable length of time off work after the birth of a baby (12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave is all that US employers are required to provide by law, and many mothers in both Canada and the U.S. -- including many self-employed moms -- don't qualify for maternity leave at all), is it really fair to lay the mother of all guilt trips on moms who are unable to measure up to what has become the new gold standard of mothering?

When health officials make statements like "Our message is that breast milk is the gold standard, and anything less than that is inferior" as Dr. Suzanne Haynes of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services does in today's New York Times, will mothers make the distinction that it's breastfeeding -- not them -- that is being judged. Or will that message get lost along the way?

| posted by Ann D @ 10:30 AM