Saturday, May 29, 2010

Breastfeeding Saves Money. More Importantly, It Saves Lives

I would just like to share a recent article I wrote for POC. Breastfeeding Saves Lives may seem anti-formula. It really isn't. I am not even anti-milk companies per se. But I am against the measures they go to deceive consumers and undermine breastfeeding.

And sure, they are actually lucrative employers. And they do employ thousands of Filipinos. If they bail out, thousands will lose jobs. All true.

But the thing is, formula feeding already results in sick kids. Those who can afford medication and hospitalization will chalk it up only to bad luck and growing pains. After all, all kids get sick. That's how they build up their immune system. Few ever suspect that it could be the milk they're giving to their babies that are actually making their kids sick. And few definitely know that breastfeeding really offers protection. Few get past the liquid milk they see. To most people, it's almost the same banana.

But it's not.

Heck, even organic soy milk uses added cane sugar which makes it already totally different from breast milk.

And formula feeding results in death. Deaths that could have been prevented.

People might say, it's not anymore our fault if other people are too poor to afford sterile water and equipment. That it's not our fault if they dilute the milk they give to their infants. And yes, it really isn't our fault.

But it's still everybody's responsibility to make sure the truth is heard and known. And the poor seldom know things. It's very easy to undermine their remaining abilities and rights, like breastfeeding their child, because they seldom know better.

That's what the advocates are fighting for.

How can a woman say she made an informed choice if she didn't have all the facts? Formula companies keep saying they added this and that to their milk, but they don't say that adding those things do not really count because there isn't proof that those are absorbed by the body anyway. They have guides on how to prepare their milk but do they also say that not following that guide may result in a sick child?

And do they own up to containers containing chemicals or contaminants?

Breastfeeding saves money, and not just because you don't have to buy formula. Breastfeeding saves lives... I can't think of any higher purpose.

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