I am not generally the least bit affected by random anti-breastfeeding posts I find online. This latest one though, I’m sure you’ve seen says that breastfeeding is a waste of time.
Sure, it’s from The Stir and we all know anything goes on there. It’s as though an editor thinks up post ideas simply to antagonize people with ridiculous ideas, begging for internet “air time.” That’s why I normally don’t even bother. They snagged me though with this article mostly because of the numerous supporters thanking this author for summing up their feelings on the matter.
I get that formula feeding is sometimes important. I, personally, wouldn’t even want a woman to breastfeed if she is so uncomfortable with the idea that it makes her not feel right. As a breastfeeding activist, I wish that women would breastfeed if at all possible, but I do recognize that because of our society and their upbringings, some women have emotional issues with breastfeeding. I am not going to judge that.
But a waste of time?!
A waste of time?! Breastfeeding?
6.6 hours, the author declares is the average amount of time that a breastfeeding mother spends feeding her child over a formula feeding mother.
Let’s look at it a different way.
Pretending that you couldn’t just strap your baby into a carrier and breastfeed on the go, let’s look at those 6.6 hours.
Why does breastfeeding take longer?
Ignoring the idea of “propping the baby” entirely, breastfeeding often takes longer because a baby can drink from a bottle faster. A baby can drink from a bottle faster because it’s easier, it uses less oral coordination and muscles… less effort. Because of this, a formula fed baby often eats more than a breastfed baby because they haven’t had the time to “feel full.” The muscle movements help brain development too!
What do those 6.6 hours buy you?
If you choose to formula feed because of time savings, you might argue any number of things you could do with the time. The author implores you to imagine all the possibilities! I implore you to imagine all the possibilities that spending that extra 6.6 hours a week breastfeeding may deliver.
If there were an exercise you could do that would take 6.6 hours of time each week with your child but offer a substantial pay off, would you do it?
6.6 hours extra a week:
- encourages growth in the brain in areas that are associated with emotional function, cognition, and language.
- reduces breast cancer rates in mothers in part from prolactin.
Plus, according to research from last year alone that 6.6 extra hours a week:
- reduces the risk of hospitalization for lower respiratory tract infections in the first year by 72%.
- eliminates the fourfold risk increase of pneumonia.
- reduces the incidence of otitis media (middle ear inflammation/infection) by 23%-50% depending on how long the mother invests that 6.6 hours a week for.
- reduces serious colds and throat infections by 63%.
- reduces incidence of nonspecific gastrointestinal tract infections by 64%.
- reduces SIDS risks by 36%.
- reduces diabetes mellitus risks by 30% if carried on exclusively for just three months.
- reduces the risks of acute lymphocytic leukemia by 20% and acute myeloid leukemia by 15%.
- reduces the risks of inflammatory bowel disease by 31%.
That same research found that that 6.6 hours a week would save more than 900 infant lives per year if 90% of mothers were able to exclusively breastfeed for six months.
Hardly a waste of time.