Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Name......

Quick: what's your definition of breastfeeding? Is it a baby being nourished at the breast, receiving his mother's milk? What if mom is pumping and feeding her milk to her baby via a bottle? Is that child being breastfed? And how much human milk does a baby need to receive in order to be considered a breastfed baby? One feeding a day, which is the definition at WIC? Or at least 50/50? Some other ratio of breast milk to formula? Or only breast milk?

And while we're at it, what about exclusive breastfeeding? If your baby was supplemented in the hospital, can you consider him "exclusively breastfed"? Some moms start solids as early as 4 months but will say they "exclusive breastfed" for the recommended 6 months. This is not to downplay how difficult it is to breastfeed your baby for this long or the kudos that moms deserve. But what of the research? How we can talk about the protection offered by exclusive nursing if we can't study it because no one's really doing it?

And is it breastmilk, breast milk or breast-milk? Breastfeeding, breast-feeding, breast feeding? Why is all of this so convoluted and complicated anyway? And why can't we agree on any of it?

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