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Does Exclusive Breastfeeding Really Make a Difference?

June 2020

"Give infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated," per Step 6 of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.  Although this is our goal, there have always been those, both staff and families, who say it won’t make any difference if the infant gets just this one bottle or one day or one week of formula.  Does it really make any difference?  Let’s look at the work of Marsha Walker, IBCLC, from 2016.

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In her review of the research, Walker found that "just one bottle" can:
• Change the gut flora and pH for 2 to 4 weeks
• Decrease protection against overweight and obesity
• Increase the potential for infection and inflammatory states
• Increase allergic sensitization
• Decrease immunity to illness
• Increase risk for lifelong diseases such as Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

Given that parents have the right to make a fully-informed decision, and knowing that even one non-medically indicated or unnecessary feeding of breast milk substitutes can have a profound difference in the health of the infant, how do you provide judgement-free teaching?

Withholding the negative effects of formula supplementations does not allow parents to make an informed decision in the best interest of their family. Using the wrong wording, body language, or tone of voice can often imply negative judgement and could create difficult decision-making scenarios.

So how do you provide truthful, research-based information to encourage informed decision-making and to follow the guidelines of the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative? Remember that the decision is ultimately in the hands of the parents, and they will need factual information to make a truly informed decision for their infant.

Kathy Parkes, MSN-Ed, RN, IBCLC, FILCA CHC

Professional Development Educator

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

https://www.step2education.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Step2Education/

 

References:

1. Baby-friendly USA. (2019). Interim guidelines and evaluation criteria for facilities seeking and sustaining Baby-Friendly Designation. Albany, NY: Baby-Friendly USA.

2. Walker, M. (2016). Just one bottle won’t hurt - or will it? Free to download at https://massbreastfeeding.org/just-one-bottle/

 

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PERSONAL INFORMATION WE COLLECT

When you visit the Site, we automatically collect certain information about your device, including information about your web browser, IP address, time zone, and some of the cookies that are installed on your device. Additionally, as you browse the Site, we collect information about the individual web pages or products that you view, what websites or search terms referred you to the Site, and information about how you interact with the Site. We refer to this automatically-collected information as Device Information."

We collect Device Information using the following technologies:

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When we talk about "Personal Information" in this Privacy Policy, we are talking about Device Information, Order Information and Student Access Information.

HOW DO WE USE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION?

We use the Order Information that we collect generally to fulfill any orders placed through the Site (including processing your payment information, arranging for shipping, and providing you with invoices and/or order confirmations). Additionally, we use this Order Information to:

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We use Student Access Information to provide accurate tracking to Users and Clients on completion and use of the courses, as well as for analysis on how to improve our services.

We use the Device Information that we collect to help us screen for potential risk and fraud (in particular, your IP address), and more generally to improve and optimize our Site (for example, by generating analytics about how our customers browse and interact with the Site, and to assess the success of our marketing and advertising campaigns).

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Last Updated: September 2018