A open letter to the Journal of Pediatrics,
Well, Journal of Pediatrics you have really outdone yourselves with this one. A recent article (abstract can be found here
) from your publication has been making waves on social media and the media around the world with your outrageous statement where you are, “calling on health professionals to stop saying that breastfeeding is natural, arguing that doing so gives the impression that natural parenting practices are healthier”. You then go on to state that, “it is associated with such ‘problematic’ practices as home birth, homeschooling and the rejection of GMO foods, and that natural parenting movements are interfering with vaccination efforts”.
Do pediatricians think mothers are so idiotic that we cannot live in a world where we combine the two “worlds” or natural and medical? Do you picture all of us breastfeeding women as tree-hugging, home-birthing, non-vaxing, organic eating, Prius driving HIPPIES?? Because if the doctors actually looked at the data and statistics, you would see that what the stats show is the complete opposite of your “fears”. Because you know…how scary a world it would be if it was filled with just hippies right?! Oh and just a side note…yes I fit in to some of the commonly thought “hippie” stereotypes however there are also some that I do not. And the statistics show that MOST of us don’t fall into all of these described, “problematic” practices. So basically what you are worried about literally isn’t happening. Your comments within this article are 100% NOT supported by the evidence and what the numbers tell us are happening within American (where I’m from) and Australia (where I live now). Let’s look at the numbers…
Here in Australia (where I live) the homebirth statistics
are LESS THAN 1%. Yes you read that right, less than 1%.
In America it is only just over 1%
. Yes, you read that right. 1.3%.
of fully vaccinated children by the age of 12 months is at almost 95% in Australia. Yes, almost the entire population is vaccinated.
In America, when the CDC looked at vaccination rates
in 2014 of children aged 19-35 months old they found that over 90% were fully vaccinated (so the majority of the population) and 99% of children had received vaccinations at some point. So that is over 99% of children who received vaccinations!
How Australians eat…did you know that around 60 per cent of adults and one in four children are overweight or obese, and the National Health and Medical Research Council predicts that by 2025, 83 per cent of men and 75 per cent of women will be overweight or obese if current trends continue?!
But the people over at the Journal Of Pediatrics are concerned that people will want to eat organic and non-GMO foods! Who cares about all of the obese people. Le’ts worry about all of the people who are going to eat organic and non-GMO.
Should we stop calling vaginal birth natural?
Are we so afraid of the biological norm and nature that we’re going to only accept science as the normal in our society? I love science, I love evidence based research, I love the medical advances that have come about over time. But I also love nature. I also respect our bodies amazing ability to birth, grow and nurture our children. Why can’t we respect nature while also using science when needed? Why does it have to be one or the other? I’d like to argue that we don’t. I’d like to argue that mothers are not idiots. I can call breastfeeding natural while also suggesting formula when necessary. I can call my vaginal births natural even though I had an epidural with my first and a vacuum to help at the end. I can call organic food natural while giving my kid a sprayed apple and juice from a GMO orange. Today I took ibuprofen and I also breastfed my 3 year old. My milk may have trace amounts of a man made substance in it…but it’s still natural. WE ARE NOT IDIOTIC robots with pea sized brains.
This is just another way to try to start a “mommy war” of opposing sides. Nature vs. medicine. So let’s stop making it so complicated…and just enjoy what our bodies do naturally. Make and then nourish our babies. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. We can recognize that breastfeeding literally fits the definition of natural. If you could please spend time continuing to publish evidence based research instead of insisting that breastfeeding not be called what is actually is… “natural”, that would be great, as your fears of the impending “problems” associated with this is neither logical, nor evidence based.
The Milk Meg
Meg Nagle, IBCLC
Mother of 3 naturally breastfed, sometimes organic eating, vaginally birthed, occasional non-natural potato chip eating, sometimes take pain relief or medications when necessary children.
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