March 1, 2012
This week, the AAP updated its breastfeeding policy statement. Reading it took me back to my previous corporate life when I would try to glean seismic shifts in policy through subtle changes in wording (in corporate Annual Reports or combing through new legislation on Russian privatization, for example). In the corporate world it's called "reading the tea leaves."
Breastfeeding is About Public Health
Hygeia's blog does a great job of reading the AAP's tea leaves to see an overarching shift towards stronger support for breastfeeding over formula.
One of the changes that particularly stands out is the declaration that breastfeeding is not a lifestyle choice; it's about your baby's health! If more pediatricians (and OB/GYNs) follow this guidance, they can shift the conversation of "to breastfeed or not" to "the risks of NOT breastfeeding", which could dramatically impact breastfeeding rates. This is actually not a subtle change!
I'd even take it a step further and say that breastfeeding is not just about baby's nutrition. It's also about the visual and tactile contact between mother and baby. This part of breastfeeding also stimulates development. But I am happy to see how far the AAP has come with this new policy statement.
Let's Put it in Perspective
Let's face it - we still have a long way to go to break down all the social barriers to breastfeeding that Best for Babes calls "booby traps." Just one example is extended breastfeeding and the natural age of weaning - watch for future blog posts on the topic. But today I'll celebrate this change of course for the slow moving policy ship, and then return to supporting breastfeeding mothers through the HadleyStilwell "effortlessly elegant" clothing line.
These breastfeeding moms are warm, comfortable, and fashionable...everywhere they go!