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Breast Is Best

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The Mantra at the Gold Coast Hospital is most definitely

Breast Is Best

and they won’t let you forget it..!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not against breast feeding and in fact it could be argued that I’m all for it BUT at what cost?

The Gold Coast Hospital (and I’m reliably told all Australian public hospitals) has been given the directive to promote the Breast over the Bottle when it comes to feeding a newborn. The arguments of the physical benefits of breast milk versus formula, of increased paternal bonding, of economic savings and the like, are all well documented and are not part of today’s discussion. However what is up for debate today is the level of tenacity and determination employed to ensure the directive of ‘Breast Is Best’ is enforced.

Every mother is different and comes to the table with very different ideas, arguments, beliefs and to some extent physical qualities. Some mother just physically cannot produce breast milk, other cannot produce enough, others may have physiological issues with their nipples, areolae, ducts and glands, etc. in short breast feeding for this group is always going to be an uphill struggle right from the start.

Following the current government directive of promoting breast feeding over any other feeding, the mothers are pressured into trying every avenue in the vain hope of ‘succeeding’ with breast feeding. The end result is often no different from that of the outset, she cannot breast feed… BUT what is different is she has been made to feel inadequate, perhaps humiliated or has been literally, physically tortured by the equipment in the process.

Questions have to be asked about the delivery of this ‘Breast Is Best’ directive in our hospitals. It is still possible to achieve an acceptable outcome for society (the fundamental of the directive is – To re-educate the Australian population about the merits of Breast Feeding) without resorting to such a myopic delivery method. ‘Blanket bombing’ may achieve the strategic objective but the ‘collateral damage’ has to be considered and in my opinion, that damage is too great.

Perhaps the Gold Coast Hospital could try a ‘Less Is More’ approach when it comes to educating new mothers about the merits of breast feeding, all the while remembering that the mantra of ‘Breast Is Best’ is NOT a fact but rather just another opinion.

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