From well known pediatrician Jay Gordon following the enthusiastic comments by Gisele Bundchen about her breastfeeding experience:
Gisele Bundchen, Nutrition Expert?
Yes!In a recent magazine article, Ms. Bundchen was quoted saying that breastfeeding should be the legal norm for all babies for the first six months of life.
Of course, this generated a storm of protest about "feeding choices" and whether or not we should listen to someone with her lack of credentials. Lost in the fabricated drama and controversy is the fact the we must listen if her advice and high profile can save babies’ lives. I’m sure that this one famous mother’s words will be heard and heeded by more mothers than we pediatricians can possibly reach. (Ms. Bundchen’s statement that post partum weight loss is faster because of breastfeeding is very much in line with current medical literature and will certainly appeal to most new mothers.)
It’s easy to misinterpret a forceful metaphorical statement about "chemical food"--infant formula--and the crucial lifesaving value of breastfeeding for six months. And, that’s exactly what pundits did to turn this into an "us against them" issue. "How dare she . . . "
While it is tragic that a supermodel-mom dispenses better advice than many doctors and most governmental agencies, it’s impossible to misinterpret what the World Health Organization says about these artificial (chemical) feeding options.
...No parent in America is allowed to let their infant travel in a car in the "second best" way possible: Car seats are the law in all 50 states. A breastfeeding law will not be passed soon, but there is a moral, ethical and medical imperative to get this nutrition information to mothers and families any way we can. Hyperbole is easy to ridicule but, in this case, the hyperbole will prevent the deaths of many, many babies worldwide.
The World Health Organization estimates that one-and-a-half million babies die from lack of breast milk each year. 1,500,000.
If Gisele Bundchen’s magazine interview, comments and the resultant furor cause more mothers in developing nations to breastfeed, thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of babies will be alive a year, two years or five years from now who might otherwise have succumbed to diseases caused or fatally exacerbated by lack of mother’s milk.
I certainly wish that this legal proposal/metaphor had been issued by the government, health insurers or the American Academy of Pediatrics. In lieu of those recommendations, the very intelligent suggestion of a really smart mom will have to do.
HERE to read the entire article in the Huffington Post