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by Pam Jackson


April 07, 2005

Dear Editor,
As a Community Health Nurse, I am so saddened by Mr. Glassman's commentary.  Finally, now after many years, the American Academy of Pediatrics is promoting breastfeeding in a more progressive way.  It is so upsetting that his words regarding third world infant mortality are taken as fact.  Does he realize that only 1 in 3 human beings on Earth have clean water?  And that particular type water is needed for infant formula to be utilized correctly?  Often it is watered down and/or has harmful bacteria--which is exactly what causes the death that WHO is trying to prevent.  While in this country, one can "afford" the option of breastfeeding or giving artificial baby's milk, it is not a viable option for the third world.
I will not even begin to argue about all the advantages of breastfeeding since this email could become book-like.  Obviously, Mr. Glassman was not breastfed any length of time.  But I do proffer that WHO does care about babies and moms and realizes what companies like Nestle care about:  their bottom line--MONEY.
As with many things in medicine, we are constantly finding that what is practiced is not exactly evidence-based.  Perhaps the majority of the American public do not realize that.  As for proven studies on infant formula, I am still a skeptic.  Maybe looking at some of the studies on first year of life doctor's visits that compare breastfed babies to formula fed babies might enlighten Mr. Glassman.  Yes, certainly infant formula is better than NO milk, but really it is a poor substitute and technically should be used only as a last resort--sort of like medicine.  Alas, there have been almost two generations of formula fed babies.  And the formula companies continue with their brilliant marketing strategies.  And please let us not forget the mega dairy surpluses that need to be processed into formula.
In summary, I respectfully have to differ with Mr. Glassman.  And his article alone will convince many women to not even try breastfeeding, since a published person says that formula is just as good.  He should be thankful that WHO cares so much for infants and mothers.  A thought came to my mind:  Is it possible that Mr. Glassman is in the pocket of the American Agriculture Lobby?
Thanks for your time.

Pam Jackson


Related Commentary:

Time for Congress to get serious about WHO's excesses by James Glassman


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