Government documents are rarely produced overnight. They go through herculean processes of committee outlining, writing, committee reviewing, rewriting, committee oversight, public relations committees, rewriting, etc. All that said, the timing of the latest Surgeon General advice couldn't be more interesting.
Just last week, a controversial British study appeared to contradict an established breastfeeding policy set by the World Health Organization. The WHO advocates exclusive breastfeeding of infants to at least six months of age (which means that infants are not given solid food or rice cereal until after six months of age). However, the British study claimed that infants who received solid foods between four and six months of age were healthier, less prone to obesity, and less at risk of celiac disease.
The American health community has now joined the fray, and has landed solidly in line with WHO guidelines. The Surgeon General's publication, The Surgeon General's Call To Action to Support Breastfeeding, could not be clearer. Not only does the Surgeon General support the six-month exclusive breastfeeding policy for the health of the child, but advocates 20 different concrete ways in which various sectors of society should support mothers in their informational gathering and desire to breastfeed. The Surgeon General, therefore, sees breastfeeding not just as a positive and important step for a baby's health, but has actually placed this debate in the realm of public health.
This is an important distinction. If breastfeeding is not a public health matter, then every parent would be justified in choosing their own infant's nutritional path. However, by making it a matter of public health priority, the Surgeon General has basically declared that there is one "right" way to feed your children: exclusive breastfeeding for six months. The Surgeon General makes an important note, however, that "the decision to breastfeed is a personal one, and a mother should not be made to feel guilty if she cannot or chooses not to breastfeed. The success rate among mothers who want to breastfeed can be greatly improved through active support from their families, friends, communities, clinicians, health care leaders, employers and policymakers."
Many mothers, especially first-time mothers, are understandably confused and nervous about breastfeeding. How do I do it? Can I do it at work? Will I have to wake up several times every night to do it? What if my baby doesn't want to do it? Will there be long-term health implications if I do it? All good questions. Fortunately, there are many resources right here in Peoria to support mothers who are looking for information or who have already decided to breastfeed. One new and exciting Peoria resource is OSF's Breastfeeding Resource Center.
There is no doubt that, when possible, breastfeeding has very important health benefits for both mother and child, such as the greatly reduced chance of breast cancer in the mother and the greatly enhanced natural immunity of the child. I am always happy to field questions on breastfeeding. If I don't know the answer, I will certainly find out from someone who does.
Unless otherwise attributed, all content is written by Kyle Johnson, DC, of Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria.
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Although every effort has been made to provide an accurate description of our chiropractic care and its benefits, the information given on this website and blog is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, medical advice for any condition.
If you have any questions regarding your condition, you should seek the help of Dr. Johnson in person, so that he may properly assess your condition.
This blog is provided by Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria, S.C., proudly located in Peoria, IL.