Kate CP - posted on 02/03/2011 ( 182 moms have responded )
This article is rather long so I only pasted the first couple paragraphs. Have at it, ladies!
"Joan B. Wolf is an assistant professor of women’s studies at Texas A&M University and the author of the controversial new book Is Breast Best? Taking on the Breastfeeding Experts and the New High Stakes of Motherhood.
Q: The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. In your book, you argue that human breast milk is being falsely touted as a magical elixir.
A: The discourse surrounding breastfeeding is extraordinary. We’re told it can protect against everything from ear infections and diabetes to leukemia and heart disease, and can even improve social skills.
Q: Various studies have concluded that babies fed “non-human milk” have a higher incidence of respiratory disease, including pneumonia and bronchitis, diarrhea and other digestive illnesses, ear infections (up to four times more), urinary tract infections, meningitis and sudden death syndrome. One study says that during a baby’s first three months, exclusive formula feeding increases infant mortality by 61 per cent. Can all these studies be wrong?
A: They are all misleading because they are based on associational or observational research. You look at two variables and realize there is a connection and make the case that the connection is causal. But the leap to causal inference is in most cases not justified by the evidence.
The primary problem with breastfeeding research is this: these studies compare babies who have been breastfed with babies who were formula-fed. But they can’t control for critical confounding variables—something associated with breastfeeding that is itself also associated with better health outcomes. For example, one thing we know is that women who are middle class or more highly educated are more likely to breastfeed. So more recent studies say, let’s control for class and education and see if they make a difference, and in some cases they do. But none of the studies have been able to control for the decision to breastfeed. This is to say that mothers who choose to breastfeed usually do so because they have been persuaded that it has health benefits. These are the kinds of mothers who are willing and able to go the extra mile to provide the healthiest environment for their child..."
continued at http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/01/10/autho...