[Another 'Expert', who is so clever he left out the most important factor in breastfeeding, mother-child Bonding (emotional health)! As documented by James W. Prescott, Ph.D. How is that for a perfect example of the hazards of academic intelligence? Assuming, of course, it isn't part of the WHO and UNICEF on-going genocide programme. Similar to the promotion of circumcision (e.g.). "Encoding the developing brain with the smell of motherís body through breastfeeding is essential for the later development of intimate sexuality." James W. Prescott, Ph.D.
Last updated at 1:17 AM on 21st July 2009
Professor Michael Kramer believes the evidence behind the 'breast is best' message is flawed
The benefits of breastfeeding have been greatly exaggerated, according to a leading expert.
Michael Kramer, a professor of paediatrics, claimed that much of the information used to persuade new mothers to breastfeed was either wrong or out-of-date.
Professor Kramer, who has spent more than 20 years studying the subject and been an adviser to the World Health Organisation and Unicef, believes a significant amount of evidence behind the claims is flawed.
Those promoting the 'breast is best' message, including the Department of Health, say a mother's milk wards off a host of ills.
NHS leaflets given to pregnant women and new mothers claim that breastfeeding protects against obesity, allergies, asthma and diabetes.
Professor Kramer's own work has failed to demonstrate that breastfeeding protects against asthma, allergies or childhood obesity.
The Royal College of Midwives and the National Childbirth Trust also actively encourage women to choose breast milk over formula.
However the professor claims that many of the supposed advantages can be explained by differences in lifestyle, with women who breastfeed being more likely to pass their healthy habits on to their family.
The paediatrician, from McGill University in Montreal, also has further concerns. 'The public health breastfeeding promotion information is way out of date,' he added.
There is very little evidence that it reduces the risk of leukaemia, lymphoma, bowel disease, type 1 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
'I don't favour overselling the evidence - we should not be conveying false information.
'I think some of the advice promulgated on obesity or allergies is false information.'
However, studies showing that breast milk wards off ear infections and stomach bugs stand up to scrutiny.
The professor also believes breastfeeding may be good for the developing brain, leading to a slight increase in IQ.
He said the confusion was being exacerbated by competition between the formula milk industry and the breastfeeding lobby. Doctors, unwilling to side with big business, are being 'brainwashed' by those in favour of taking a natural approach.
'The formula milk industry jumps on every piece of equivocal evidence,' he said.
'But the breastfeeding lobby have a way of ignoring the evidence. Both sides are not being very scientific.'
Clare Byam-Cook, a former midwife who has spent the past 20 years teaching thousands of women - including celebrities such as Kate Winslet and Natasha Kaplinsky - how to feed their babies said that breastfeeding was not the 'be all and end all'.
She said that while breast is best, women who are unable to breastfeed should not be made to feel like failures.
'My stance has always been that breastfeeding in the Third World is not just good, it is lifesaving,' she added.
'In Britain, it is important that every mother tries it but it isn't as essential for perfect health as everyone makes out.
'If a mother can breastfeed, that is best for the baby.
'But it isn't a guarantee that you will have a permanently thin, beautiful, intelligent, healthy child.
'Breastfeeding is good but it is a very small part of your child's overall health.'
The Department of Health first advised that breast milk gives babies the best start in 2003.
It invests up to £7million a year in promoting breastfeeding.
In England, 78 per cent of mothers attempt to breastfeed, but just 22 per cent continue for the recommended six months. The Department of Health said the recommendation that mothers should feed babies breast milk alone for at least six months is based on WHO guidance.
A spokesman added: 'The Government is fully committed to the promotion and support of breastfeeding, as it is the best form of nutrition providing all the nutrients a baby needs for the first six months of life.
'Our ambition is to encourage and support more and more mothers to initiate and continue breastfeeding, and particularly to support mothers belonging to the disadvantaged groups.'
Jacque Gerrard, of the Royal College of Midwives, said: 'Breastfeeding is the
right way to produce healthy babies.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1200943/So-breast-NOT-best-Expert-claims-benefits-breastfeeding-hugely-exaggerated.html;jsessionid=E48A919D7BE8C1D550205DCC1DB086B2#ixzz0LuZ46UPt