Trick or Treat: Give Me Something Good to Eat!!!


by Nicole Bloomberg, MBA
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Well, with Halloween around the corner, many new parents are wondering what treats they will allow their children to eat after the big night.  After all, families, schools, and many corporations have spent weeks in preparation for this big event.  How can parents refuse their children their right to all these delicious sugar, chocolate, (“dentist’s dream”) treats, of all their hard work of “shell-outing”.

Conscientious parents will sift through these treats like Sherlock Holmes, making sure that only the healthiest of treats are kept, perhaps a few real good chocolates will be allowed, and the rest will be hidden away, and most likely end up in the parents’ intestinal tract!

As a Lactation Consultant, I wish parents would put as much angst into their decision of breastfeeding when they are pregnant.  Although there really shouldn’t be any difficulty in making this decision.  Just as their is no study that supports smoking, there is no study to date that supports formula feeding ( except with certain medical conditions).

Recently, Mayor Michael Bloomberg received such an outcry of hate and anger from his program to  “Latch-On NYC”.   It is a new initiative to help increase the breastfeeding rates in New York by restricting free formula during the postpartum period in hospital. I have found that whether I am teaching a prenatal class, helping a new mother to breastfeed, or simply being at a party, I am often drawn into a discussion about “breastfeeding nazis” and our zeal to encourage women to breastfeed.  Comparing health providers to Nazis is rather an insane comparison, but demonstrates the emotion and passion that is evoked when breastfeeding is involved.

There is only one reason health care providers want women to breastfeed their babies.  It is simply way better for both baby’s and mother’s health.  I could now go into a diatribe about all the multitude of reasons why it is better for both your health.  But you will probably just roll your eyes, stop reading this, and end up calling me a breastfeeding Nazi!

When people make decisions that don’t have the best outcome for their health (or their baby’s health), someone has to receive the blame.  Often it will be placed on the advocates of breastfeeding.  I am sorry if the facts of breastfeeding make you feel guilty, upset, angry or sad.  That isn’t the original intent of encouraging women to breastfeed.

As an advocate of breastfeeding, I simply want you to breastfeed because of health. However, one thing I will dispute.  It is not as easy as the books will lead you to believe.  It can be very challenging and very demanding!  The mother is making all their baby’s meals for 1-2 years.  I can’t even handle the thought of cooking 4 dinners a week, yet alone every meal of everyday!

New mothers are not lactation consultants.  If you are having problems with breastfeeding, get help from the pros; and that means a Lactation Consultant!  The sooner, the better!  Women should be very proud of breastfeeding their babies.  And probably even get a present for just this feat (just as you finally received the right to a “push” present!).

So if you really want to give your offspring something good to eat, choose breastfeeding.  Get help.  Do the best you can, as long as you can and don’t worry about the halloween treats so much.  That is only for one night.  The benefits of breastfeeding last a lifetime!

Wendy Goodman, R.N., IBCLC

For Baby and You

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