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Response to a Weaning “Guide”

I was monitoring my twitter account today and kblogger posted this: “Hi Sofia, Quite a bit of misinformation in that article. 😦 @ssofia: just wrote: When & How 2 Stop Breastfeeding http://cli.gs/2sYaH”  I took a look at the article and was stunned.  So, I had to share my thoughts with the author.  I just couldn’t let this type of information go without speaking up.  Here is what I submitted, in case it is not approved as a comment.  Please share your thoughts on the article, and also here to ensure they are posted.  I would  love to hear what you think of the article and what I wrote in response.  Thank you all!


Submitted as a comment to http://momsnbabies.com/when-and-how-to-stop-breastfeeding-2/ on November 13, 2009 at 11:28pm EST

 

After reading this article I have several items to comment on.  First of all, it is unclear who wrote this.  At the top it states that it was written by Sofia S, but the bottom states that it is by Alan Murray.  What are the credentials of the person who wrote this?  I ask these questions for several reasons as stated below.

I feel that every person that writes about breastfeeding has an obligation to be informed about the facts because breastfeeding is closely tied to the health of a baby/toddler. Yes, breast milk is necessary for optimal health of toddlers too.  Unfortunately, your author is misinformed about the benefits and necessity of extended nursing.  La Leche League International, an organization that disperses widely used and valued information on breastfeeding, states “All the benefits of human milk—including nutritional and health—continue for as long as your baby receives your milk. In fact, as your baby takes less human milk, these advantages are condensed into what milk is produced. Many of the health benefits of human milk are dose related, that is, the longer the baby receives human milk, the greater are the benefits.” http://www.llli.org/FAQ/bflength.html The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends “Exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months and support for breastfeeding for the first year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and child.” http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/feb05breastfeeding.htm The World Health Organization recommends “Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.” http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/
You will notice that no one recommends weaning due to breast milk eventually getting ” to a point in which is does not matter whether or not the child takes breast milk or regular milk.”  This is a complete fallacy and goes against all scientific studies.

I also have a very big issue with any article about babies and toddlers which refer to the child as “it”.  These children are people and not things.  This shows a level of respect for the child missing in the article.

I do appreciate the attention to weaning slowly, as it IS very important for a mother to wean in a gentle and slow manner, preferable led by the child.

It is also not very helpful to encourage women to wean to a bottle, requiring them to wean yet again.  Since the author is talking about weaning to “regular milk” (by the way, human milk would be the “regular” milk of a human being, but I understand that in this article the author is referring to  cow’s milk as “regular milk”) I can assume that the author is talking about children over the age of 1 year since it is widely accepted that cow’s milk should not be introduced before the age of 1.  http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002448.htm It is also recommended that bottle use be discontinued by 12-18 months of age, so this is again, poor guidance.  http://www.ucsfchildrenshospital.org/education/baby_bottle_weaning/#2 And it is also worth pointing out that many pediatricians will tell you that your toddler does not need cow’s milk at all.  http://www.askdrsears.com/faq/fn1.asp

I believe that by providing inaccurate information regarding breast milk the author of this article is doing a great disservice to the mothers and babies he or she is reaching.  Inaccurate breastfeeding and breast milk information can easily equate to shorter lengths of breastfeeding and, in turn, higher risks of health issues for the child.  I hope that in the future the author will take their responsibility to mothers and babies personally and research thoroughly before providing advice or any type of “guide”.

Thank you.
Crystal Gold
TheVervePath.com

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  1. November 14, 2009 at 1:27 AM

    That weaning article is BANANAS. I think I commented once on the post and it was never approved.

  2. November 14, 2009 at 1:37 AM

    What an irresponsible article. I’m just outraged that they view cow’s milk as “regular milk” and something that people should be drinking instead of HUMAN milk.

    • November 14, 2009 at 1:53 AM

      That has always been one of my biggest difficulties with those that are opposed to breastfeeding. It is Human Milk made for Human Babies. Why would we rather feed our young food based on milk made for baby cows? Baffles me…

  3. November 14, 2009 at 1:45 AM

    Wow. I could not even begin to comprehend where the person writing this “guide” got their information. Perhaps from Nestle?! LOL. Maybe that’s a whole different post in and of itself.

    I will admit that I am not as well versed in breastfeeding knowledge as I would like to be, but I am working on it. I am a breastfeeding mother of a 7 month old and in these past 7 months I have been educating myself so that I can offer the help that I would have loved to receive with my first child (who I formula fed because not even the nurses at the hospital would help me.)

    With that said I would like to point out that I have read a few guides on weaning. I’d say 5-7 different takes on it. The first thing I noticed on this guide was the length. Or lack thereof. Every single one of the guides I’ve read previously took me a good hour to get through. There is a lot of information to be shared when it comes to the topic of weaning your child. There are a lot of methods and a lot of reasons to be addressed. The guide you are responding to offers none of these.

    Pretty much everything else I noticed you said better than I could – and you mentioned this, but I’d like to touch back on the subject of the assumption that the author is suggesting weaning after a year: The title of the article is “When and How to Stop Breastfeeding.” The only suggestion to the “when” as you mentioned above was, “it gets to a point in which is does not matter whether or not the child takes breast milk or regular milk.” Not only is that vague, but, as you say above, it’s also false!

    Honestly, I would be more upset and angry about this if it wasn’t just so poorly an stupidly written. I mean, I am upset and angry – don’t get me wrong, it sucks (to put it lightly) that this misinformation is being spread, and the damage it could cause sucks too. The whole guide just seems ignorant or stupid. I don’t know how to explain what I am feeling… I guess I would be more intensely upset if the author offered “sources” to back up his/her guide and made it look like it was actually researched and not written on a whim by an undereducated high school student.

    • November 14, 2009 at 2:00 AM

      I completely understand what you are saying. I too felt that it was poorly written (in addition to the inaccuracies), so I totally get that. It was still a good opportunity to counter myths that are, unfortunately, still popular. And you are so right about how short it is. It leaves out so much important information.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. And CONGRATULATIONS on your successful nursing relationship and thank you for your commitment to helping others!!!

  4. November 14, 2009 at 1:46 AM

    Brilliant response. You addressed with detail the things I found concerning as well. I hope all of our comments are posted… Or that the article is edited for accuracy!! Thank you for responding. & for the mention! 🙂

    • November 14, 2009 at 2:01 AM

      Thank you for getting it out there so I knew about it!! It will be interesting to see if the comments are approved.

  5. November 14, 2009 at 2:01 AM

    Here is the response I posted (and thank you for outing this, btw!)

    I would like to see some sources for this information. I don’t see where any of this (aside from taking weaning slowly) lies in reality.

    First of all I’d like to address the name of the article: “When and How to Stop Breastfeeding.”

    — The only “when” offered is, “it gets to a point in which is does not matter whether or not the child takes breast milk or regular milk.” Not only is this statement vague, but it is also false. When is this point exactly?! As far as I knew, the health benefits of a child receiving breast milk continue so long as the child is receiving it.

    — There are multiple ways to wean your child. I suggest you check out http://www.home.kellymom.net/bf/weaning/how_weaning_happens.html to see further what I am talking about.

    Also, why on earth would you want to wean your child from the breast to a bottle when you’re just going to have to wean them from the bottle within a few short months anyway? Have you ever tried to wean a child from a bottle? It’s not easy.

    I wonder if you are aware of the damage that can be done by publishing misinformation like this. There are women out there who are struggling every day to do what is right for their baby by breastfeeding. These women don’t need an excuse to just throw it away. I highly suggest that you do a little more research next time before you submit an article such as this.

  6. November 14, 2009 at 8:57 AM

    You and many others did a great job responding. I’m glad your responses are there with that horrible article. I’m not sure the blog owner herself is worth wasting too much breath on (it seems to be primarily a content scraping/repurposing site), but I do think it was important for comments to be left for the benefit of lurkers that may come by.

  7. November 18, 2009 at 12:42 AM

    Hi Crystal, thank you for the comment on my blog. Glad I turned you on to Not Me! Monday 🙂 I just came to check out your blog and read this post of yours and the article you wrote about. I read it and left this comment:

    “It seems to me that you published an article from someone else that should have been scrutinized a lot more, that it clearly was a mistake, but that you don’t want to admit that and therefore keep going back and forth with the people who commented. I do get that there is a lot of great information in the resulting avalanche from educated breastfeeding advocates and lactation consultants, but the fact still remains that you should just pull the article and learn from the comments yourself for the future.

    If you want to provide information for new moms, then provide accurate information! Otherwise your website is useless and a waste of time. I am sorry to be this harsh, but I am working very hard as a breastfeeding advocate to educate and support breastfeeding mothers, and this kind of careless behavior does a lot of harm to the work of breastfeeding advocates. If you breastfed your children, then you should have known that all of that information in this article is false! I assume you didn’t even read it before you posted it.

    Not many people will read all the comments after an article, so I am very concerned, as others before me have voiced, that incredibly incorrect and potentially harmful information is being perpetuated via this article. If you want to write for new moms, then please write your own, educated and educational article and don’t rely on other people’s articles.

    Who is Alan Murray? Why is he writing an article about breastfeeding? He clearly has no ideas what he is talking about, I am sorry.

    Please consider finally pulling this article.

    Dagmar Bleasdale
    Dagmar’s momsense

    Oy, I hope she pulls that article! How irresponsible!

    • November 18, 2009 at 12:54 AM

      Dagmar- Thank you so much for following up again. I feel this blog owner just doesn’t get it! I hope another push will make a difference. I was just stunned when I read it! Interestingly, I submitted my post to the site twice as a comment and it has never been posted. Not sure if it is an issue with the post or if she is not allowing any more comments. If it is the latter that seriously discredits her point of maintaining and sharing all the great comments. Who knows. I just wish it was gone! Thanks again for taking the time to chime in and to share your words here too!!

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