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html How to Win Any Breastfeeding Argument

Its a touchy subject, this feeding lark. When breastfeeding mothers and formula feeding mothers lock horns, the result bares likeness to a libyan battleground. On internet message boards across the globe, formula feeders are attracted to breastfeeding threads like moths to a flame. One group must offer a disclaimer before they open their mouth; the opposing group is ready with their straw men. Woe betide any breastfeeding mother who openly admits to having preference, knowledge and even *gasp* pride in nursing her child. Whats more, the melee doesnt end online. In day to day life the mother in law, the health professional and the random bod on the street jump in on a regular basis. They offer advice fuelled by their own prejudice, defensiveness and lack of knowledge. Sometimes the advice is cloaked in the farce of concern; other times it is tantamount to brazen bullying. Heres my timely guide on how to tackle each irritant, one by one.

Formula feeders:
Argument: Most of our generation were formula-fed and we are all healthy. Comeback: This is untrue. The long-term effects of not being breastfed are only beginning to be understood. Blood pressure, cholesterol levels, obesity, allergies, diabetes and academic performance are all starting to be linked with how we were fed as babies. We have more vision problems, intestinal problems, colds and flu, dental problems, heart problems, and cancer than we need to; And we're a few IQ points lower than we would have been if we had been breastfed.

Argument: My formula-fed kid turned out just fine and went to college and university. Comeback: Numerous studies have shown that breastfeeding is associated with significantly higher scores for cognitive development than formula feeding (see for example Horwood LJ and Fergusson DM). A difference of at least 3.16 points has been measurable through 15 years. It is important to realise that a child with a genetic potential for an IQ of 150 will probably not notice a 3.4 point deficit. A child with a potential for an IQ of 100 would benefit from 3.4 points. In other words, breastfeeding allows an infant to reach his/her full potential. Argument: My formula-fed kid has never had an allergy but my friends breastfed kid has several allergies, really bad eczema, hives, a bad cough and a low IQ so breastfeeding cant be that protective [or insert other personal anecdote here]. Comeback: Anecdotal evidence is not necessarily representative of a typical experience. Statistical evidence more accurately determines how typical something is. For example I know a breastfed baby with eczema does not disprove the proposition that breastfeeding significantly reduces a childs risk of eczema. A study of one, or two, or three or even four, does not negate a collection of studies which look at thousands of cases - as any schoolchild knows, surely? Also, a breastfeeding mother who has a baby with eczema can be virtually certain that her feeding choice did not contribute to the development of eczema. A formula feeding mother cannot be so sure.

Argument: Why do breastfeeders try to make us feel guilty? Comeback: The continued denial of the risks of not breastfeeding and the value of breastmilk supposedly to spare women's feelings, is a patronising deception (Palmer.G). Why is it that advertising formula is just business, but promoting breastfeeding is "pushy"? Mothers should have the opportunity to make an informed choice based on fact rather than anecdote. As parenting blog, An Unschooling Adventure has maintained: Please mothers. Inform yourselves about the risks of formula. Stop blaming women who promote breastfeeding for trying to make you feel guilty, and target your anger towards the formula companies that have lied to you, or the health professionals that undermined your instincts. Argument: Breastfeeders that drone on about the benefits of breastfeeding are smug, selfrighteous and judgemental. Comeback: The level of associated smugness/judgeyness depends on the agenda of the person hearing the information not the person giving it. If someone finds criticism in statistics, I would suggest they are feeling defensive about their choices. Medics, the government, scientists and researchers have a duty to tell us what they know, and that is the obvious - that human mothers provide optimal nutrition for human babies. As parents don't we have a duty to engage with such information? Argument: "I really wish lactivists would stop implying that people who dont breastfeed do so because they think it's less convenient or as some kind of lifestyle choice". Comeback: From the UK Department of Health Infant Feeding survey (which involves around 8000 mothers and is done every 5 years): "The most common reason for choosing to breastfeed was that breastfeeding was best for the babys health, followed by convenience. The most common reason for choosing to bottle-feed was that it allowed others to feed the baby, followed by a dislike of the idea of breastfeeding." Argument: Its none of your business how I feed my baby. Comeback: To see a whole catalogue of comebacks to this argument, click here.

Argument: Formula and breastmilk are not THAT different Comeback: Are you sure? Click here. Argument: Of course formula is safe; They wouldnt be allowed to sell it otherwise. Comeback: fireworks/cigarettes/stuff packed with e-numbers are sold every day. They are potentially dangerous, as is formula (see here). Argument: Well at least I wont have breasts down to my ankles. Comeback: So-called saggy breasts are a common consequence of pregnancy, not breastfeeding. During pregnancy, your breasts prepare for lactation, even if you have no intention of breastfeeding and these changes are sometimes permanent. Excessive weight gain during pregnancy, hereditary factors, age or going bra-less can also result in breasts that are less than firm. Breastfeeding is blame-free.

Argument: "I stopped breastfeeding because I wanted more sleep." Comeback: Some women introduce formula hoping that if they do so their baby will go longer between feeds or sleep through. Sometimes the first few formula feeds may bring that effect as the babys stomach is not accustomed to the tougher composition of the milk. Often the quantity

of formula will need to be increased to maintain the effect. This can cause stomach stretching and lead to obesity in later childhood. In some cases, adding formula has no effect on the babys sleeping habits and for some it can lead to an upset stomach and greater night time disturbance (Moody et al). Breastfeeding mothers get more sleep and their sleep is of higher quality. A breastfed baby can eat as soon as he is hungry. If co sleeping, that means before the baby even starts to cry. A formula-fed baby has to wait for formula to be prepared and warmed, in the meantime getting more and more distressed and agitated as well as waking others in the household. When breastfeeding, even the mother does not need to wake up fully to nurse her baby. Furthermore, the hormones produced during nursing have a relaxing effect, and the mother is likely to sleep even better when she nurses her baby. Studies have shown that parents of infants who were breastfed in the evening and/or at night slept an average of 40-45 minutes more than parents of infants given formula (Doan et al). Parents of infants given formula at night had more sleep disturbance than parents of infants who were exclusively breast-fed at night. If you wanted more sleep, breastfeeding would have been the way to go. Argument: My boobs were too small to breastfeed. Comeback: Even if a woman is flat as a pancake her breasts will be able to do the job they were intended for. It is a myth that women with big breasts will be better at breastfeeding. They may have more fatty tissue inside their breasts, but fat does not have a function as far as breastfeeding is concerned. Anatomically speaking, all lactating breasts perform in the same way. In no way does outward appearance affect the production of milk or a mothers ability to dispense it.

Argument: I couldnt breastfeed because I was returning to work early. Comeback: A few weeks of breastfeeding are far better than none at all. Even breastfeeding for a few days has immense benefits. Colostrum provides not only perfect nutrition tailored to the

needs of the individual newborn, but also large amounts of living cells which will defend the baby against many harmful agents. Furthermore with dedication and planning most mothers can work out a system for continuing to breastfeed even after they have returned to work. Argument: If you looked at a class of primary school children, you wouldnt be able to tell which were breastfed or formula fed. Comeback: If I knew a little more about the children (any allergies, amount of doctors visits in the last 6 months, prevalence of ear infections, obesity, etc) I could make an intelligent guess using statistical likelihood. Argument: You have to eat a special diet when breastfeeding because breastmilk doesnt contain all the vitamins that formula companies add to their milk. Comeback: As a breastfeeding mother, I do not need to eat any special foods, neither do I have to avoid certain foods. Unlike formula, all of the vitamins and minerals in my breastmilk are in a form that my baby can easily absorb. This means that even seemingly minute levels of vitamins and minerals in my breastmilk are bioavailable - able to be efficiently utilized by my baby. This is why breastfed babies have less frequent stools as they mature; they literally absorb more of their mothers milk. Many of the highly concentrated ingredients in manufactured formula are simply excreted from a babys body as waste (Rubin. S). As for the assumption that I need a special diet, in the absence of a family history of food allergies, there is no benefit to eliminating foods from my diet.

Argument: "I didnt breastfeed because I wanted my body back". Comeback: As Analytical Armadillo has pointed out, "instead of using breasts, we've moved on to hands (and bottles, sterilising, making up, cleaning) So more of a body part swap than actually getting anything back then?"

Argument: "You cant diet and exercise when breastfeeding".

Comeback: There is no reason why a healthy breastfeeding mother cannot consume a sensible calorie-controlled diet for weight loss. Mothers have breastfed successfully through history when food has not been plentiful. This is because a breastfeeding mother more effectively utilizes the food she ingests (Rubin. S). Furthermore, breastfeeding actually aids the process of weight loss. Over time, breastfeeding mothers tend to lose more weight than mothers who do not breastfeed. Moreover, sensible physical exercise does not harm the quality, quantity or taste of breastmilk. It is perfectly safe to breastfeed immediately after exercise. Argument: "Breastfeeding means that you have little choice over what you can wear". Comeback: Breastfeeding does not require any specialised clothing. A breastfeeding mother may simply lift her top. A vest can be placed under her top to conceal her stomach if desired. Also wrap dresses, shirts and any top with buttons are other viable options. Formula feeding dictates a mother's wardrobe to a greater extent than breastfeeding. As formula fed babies are more prone to posseting and reflux, their mother's clothing needs to be changed more frequently. Argument: Breastfeeding didnt work the first time so I'm not going to bother this time. Comeback: Even if you had trouble breastfeeding your first baby, research shows that youll likely produce more milk and have an easier time breastfeeding the second time around (Murkoff. H). Argument: Breastfeeding is only best for the baby if it is best for the mum (otherwise known as: Happy Mum - Happy Baby).

Comeback: Babies are not automatically happy just because their mothers are which is what this equation implies. A mother who finds breastfeeding inconvenient and so switches to formula could become deliriously happy, and yet her baby, who may develop colic, allergies, and reoccurring illness as a consequence of the formula switch, would be far from happy. Also, look at it from a different angle: babies don't get sad breastmilk when mum is struggling and happy breastmilk when breastfeeding is going well. There is even evidence that breastfed babies whose mums have PND don't have changed EEG (brain wave scans) whereas bottle fed babies whose mums had PND did (they had the same EEGs as adults with depression) so if you do have

depression giving up breastfeeding may not make baby happy (Jones. N et al). Furthermore, to state Happy Mum Happy Baby as some sort of 'general truth' is massively undermining and unkind to mothers who choose to continue breastfeeding in the face of pain, fatigue and anxiety. They may experience breastfeeding as not being 'best' for them at all yet continue because they want their baby to avoid disadvantage. Sometimes it's hard for a mother to struggle through in the face of terrible adversity and have other mothers say that she should give up because of her physical and mental wellbeing. So whilst Happy Mum Happy Baby sounds supportive and comforting, it is actually a disempowering, negative phrase. We should be empowering mothers to overcome their breastfeeding hurdles. Argument: Mothers are inundated with information about breastfeeding. There needs to be more information available about formula feeding. Comeback: Yes I agree. While there may be photos of rotten lungs on cigarette packets, and shocking pictures of alcohol-related car accidents on the TV, I've yet to see the risks of formula feeding being portrayed on the tins or TV adverts explaining what those risks actually are. I do think women should be informed - but when people say women should have information about formula feeding they tend not to mean risks of formula feeding. No - this is not permitted. Because that makes women feel bad.

Your mother/mother in law:

Argument: I couldnt breastfeed so don't be surprised if you can't. Comeback: Luckily, failure isnt inherited. I may have not had a positive breastfeeding example whilst growing up, but that has made me more determined to reclaim the breastfeeding tradition for the next generation. Argument: Is he feeding again? Comeback: Its called demand feeding. It keeps my milk supply strong. Plus, because my breastmilk is so nutritious it is absorbed quickly. What would you prefer? The sounds of a baby happily slurping or the sounds of a baby unhappily crying?

Argument: "I noticed the baby didn't have a dummy so I've bought one". Comeback: A dummy could cause my baby to confuse their sucking technique as dummies require a different type of sucking to breastfeeding. Also, a dummy would obscure my babys hunger cues and thus lead to less time spent at the breast. This will interfere with my establishing a solid milk supply. Moreover, babies who use dummies are more prone to oral thrush which could be transferred to my nipples and make them incredibly sore. Thanks, but we'll pass on the dummy. Argument: "Don't let your baby fall asleep at the breast. You'll make a rod for your back" Comeback: It's very normal and developmentally appropriate for babies to nurse to sleep. "For many babies at the height of exploration or distractibility, nighttime or naptime can often be the ONLY time the baby will nurse well. Allowing him to nurse at these times when he is more focused on nursing and less intent on other things helps ensures that he gets enough milk, that your supply is maintained" (Kellymom).

Argument: But youre depriving your husband of the chance to bond with the baby Comeback: Babies have a habit of hanging about the house for 20 or more years, so there is plenty of scope for paternal bliss. Besides theres bathing, massaging, playing, reading to, singing to, babywearing and co sleeping which are far more efficient at enriching the parentchild bond than sticking a plastic bottle and silicone teat in the babys mouth. Argument: Youre preventing your child from gaining independence if you breastfeed for too long.

Comeback: Children who breastfeed are generally more independent, and, perhaps more importantly, more secure in their independence. Forcing a child to stop breastfeeding before he is ready will not necessarily create a more confident child. Argument: It will be impossible to get into a routine. Comeback: Routine works when it emerges naturally. Schedule feeding is tough on babies whose digestive systems are not set on a four-hourly cycle from day one. A satisfied, contended baby is likely to be less demanding than one whose demands for food are routinely thwarted. A natural feeding pattern will emerge as my baby becomes more settled. (For evidence of greater insecurity as a result of strict sleep routines, see Higley.E and Dozier. M; for evidence of greater irritability and fussiness as a result of routines, see St James-Roberts et al).

Argument: You should stop breastfeeding now that your baby has teeth. Comeback: When a baby is latched on to the breast correctly, his lips are flanged and his gums land far back on the areola (the dark area around the nipple). His bottom teeth are covered by his tongue and do not come in contact with the mother's areola at all. For this reason, a baby who is latched on correctly and actively nursing cannot bite (La Leche League). Argument: Once they can talk, they are too old to breastfeed. Comeback: The emotional and physical benefits of breastfeeding do not diminish as a baby becomes a toddler or preschooler. The World Health Organization and UNICEF strongly encourage breastfeeding through toddlerhood. My milk is still providing my child with essential proteins, nutrients antibodies and other protective substances and will continue to do so for as long as I continue nursing. Some of the immune factors in breastmilk even increase in concentration during the second year (Goldman. A et al). In fact, human biology is geared to a weaning age of between 2 1/2 and 7 years (Dettwyler. K). Also, extensive research on the relationship between cognitive achievement (IQ scores, grades in school) and breastfeeding has shown the greatest gains for those children breastfed the longest (van den Bogaard, C. et al). Furthermore, the reassurance that breastfeeding provides to a child may be more important than ever as my child begins to explore the world and tackle new developmental milestones. Extended breastfeeding serves to lessen temper tantrums and helps a child to quickly fall asleep at naptime.

The consistency of the breastfeeding relationship can serve as a stabilizing force within the childs life.

Health care professionals:

Argument: Its good that youre going to try to breastfeed, but bear in mind that many women cant. Comeback: In many less-developed societies, the idea of being unable to breastfeed does not exist. Argument: I want to know exactly how often baby feeds and for how long at each breast. Comeback: Asking a woman in rural Africa how often she breastfeeds is like asking someone with an itchy rash how often they scratch. Id rather not turn something natural into something regimented.

Argument: I think you ought to top up with formula to give yourself a break. Comeback: What, and ruin my babys virgin gut (see here) as well as sabotaging my milk supply? No thanks. Besides, how is sterilising bottles and teats, boiling kettles, mixing formula and waiting for it to cool giving myself a break? Argument: Your supply is low so you need to top up with formula. Comeback: If my babys hunger and thirst are satisfied by other fluids, he will want to suckle less at the breast. This is likely to make my milk supply even worse. If there is a problem with my baby not getting enough milk, pumped breastmilk is a better alternative to formula. Besides, what has makes you think that my supply is low? If you can prove that there truly is a supply problem can you refer me to a reputable lactation specialist and also supply me with a

supplemental feeding system? (Direct your health professional to this article: Look at the Baby, Not the Scale). Argument: One bottle of formula wont do any harm Comeback: (Again, explain to her what the virgin gut is). Argument: "There's no such thing as nipple confusion". Comeback: To get milk from the breast, baby must coordinate tongue and jaw movements in a sucking motion that's unique to breastfeeding. On the otherhand, thanks to gravity, milk flows from a bottle so easily that baby does not have to suck "correctly" to get milk. As hungry babies will take whatever is easiest to fill their tummies, if a flowing bottle that does the chugging for them is offered, many will decide that they don't want to work for their dinner after all. Hence why it's so important to not allow hospital's to push bottle supplement feeding on newborn babies- who are especially vulnerable as they haven't learned how to latch and feed from the breast yet (Informed Parenting). (Direct the health professional to my article here which explains how bottles and dummies can sabotage breastfeeding). Argument: Theres no nutritional value in breastfeeding past 6 months. Comeback: After six months, breastmilk still contains protein, fat, and other nutritionally vital components. Breastmilk still contains immunologic factors that help protect the baby. In fact, some immune factors in breastmilk that protect the baby against infection increase as the child gets older. If my baby becomes unwell, breastmilk is easily digested and nourishing. Also if my baby becomes a fussy eater, my breastmilk will make an important contribution to his restricted diet it may become his only decent source of vitamins! As babies cannot digest cows milk, if I were to stop breastfeeding now I would have to switch to formula at least until my baby is a year old. Why would I want to have the extra cost and hassle of that? Argument: Theres not enough iron in breastmilk. Comeback: Iron stores are laid down during pregnancy and are enough to last my baby until he is six months old, when complimentary solids can be introduced (Lim. P). Although the iron content of breastmilk is small, it is absorbed more efficiently because it is helped by the natural form of vitamin C also present in breastmilk. Breastfed babies absorb nearly 50 percent or the iron in breastmilk whereas formula fed babies absorb only about 10 percent of available iron from formula (Rubin. S). Furthermore, unnecessary iron supplementation can lead to diarrhoea and adversely affect a babys growth. This is because it stops lactoferrin from being effective as it cannot be mopped up and so can be used by the harmful bacteria in the gut to grow and reproduce. This has happened with formula (see the articles in Reuters and Bloomberg).

Argument: You need to introduce solid foods before 6 months because your babys growth has slowed down. Comeback: It has been noted that, by the time they are ready for solids breastfed babies are often gaining less than many of the growth charts say they should (Lim. P). Up until 6 months breastfeeding provides my baby with a perfect balance of easily digestible proteins, fats and vitamins. If I were to begin feeding my baby solids too early the food would displace a certain volume of nutrient-dense breastmilk from my babys diet. Feeding my baby solid food early will not increase my babys overall growth. (Direct the health professional to this Le Leche League factsheet). Argument: "Let's pump to see how much milk you're making." Comeback: A breastpump cannot be used to gauge the effectiveness of my milk supply. Most mothers do not let down well with the breastpump - it is hard, cold and mechanical, and will give me none of the stimulus that my warm, living baby does. Commonly a mum will spend 30 minutes attached to a breastpump and obtain a measly 3oz for her troubles. Babies obtain much more. Argument: Youve got inverted nipples so you will need to use a nipple shield if you insist on breastfeeding. Comeback: Babies do not breastfeed on nipples, they breastfeed on the breast. The shape of my nipples is not important. As far as my baby is concerned, it is highly unlikely that she will ever meet or feed from another pair of breasts and, to her, my breasts are just perfect. Once feeding well, my babys sucking action can and will draw out flat and inverted nipples. If I use nipple shields, my baby may not able to compress my areola properly, which can lead to long-term milk production problems and increased nipple soreness and damage (Direct the health professional to this article). Argument: Breastfeeding twins will be too difficult to manage. Here's some formula.

Comeback: Breastfeeding twins is easier than bottle feeding twins. A mother will require four hands to bottlefeed twins simultaneously. Not so with breastfeeding. Also, because twins tend to be born prematurely, they especially benefit from the nutritional composition of breastmilk. Argument: Premature babies need to learn to take bottles before they can start breastfeeding. Comeback: Premature babies are less stressed by breastfeeding than by bottle feeding. In fact, weight or gestational age do not matter as much as the baby's readiness to suck, as determined by his making sucking movements. There is no more reason to give bottles to premature babies than to full term babies. When supplementation is truly required there are ways to supplement without using artificial nipples.

Ignorant members of the public:

Argument: You shouldnt breastfeed in public; you may offend men or arouse them.

Comeback: Many men are simply curious about female breasts and breastfeeding since society has made it a taboo. It is well known that if you make a taboo available and expose it, then it gradually loses its attractiveness. At a certain time woman's ankle was a fetish - today men are not turned on by seeing womens ankles. Covering up makes it something forbidden, which produces feelings of curiosity (Female Intelligence Agency). Besides, men are not primitive animals who become overcome with lust at the sight of womens skin, no matter what FHM and Nuts may suggest. Such assumptions are an affront to men. Argument: You shouldnt do that in public; children could see. Comeback: Yes children could see. When they go to a zoo, or a farm, or have pets in their homes should their parents make sure they never see animals nursing to avoid scarring them? Mammals nurse their young. Humans are mammals. Nursing in public is one of the best things a breastfeeding mother can do for society as a whole - not just to give her own child a healthy start, but to give other people's children the opportunity to see mothering and nurturance at the breast as normal, healthy, and enjoyable (Nursing Freedom). Argument: Breastfeeding mothers are exhibitionists; why cant they just feed their baby before they leave home? Comeback: Contrary to what trash Gina Ford makes her living spouting, babies are not aware of the clock. They cannot time their hunger around the convenience of their parents. Argument: OK well why cant they just pump milk and give it in a bottle whilst theyre in public? Comeback: Expressing breastmilk is tedious and can reduce supply as well as risking nipple confusion. Also some mothers who have perfectly good breastmilk supplies cannot express much milk, even with the most modern of breastpumps.

Argument: Yes, breastfeeding is a natural bodily function vital for survival. So is taking a dump. But we dont rant on about peoples right to do THAT in public. Comeback: The fantastic Analytical Armadillo has fashioned an appropriate response here. Argument: After a certain point, the breastfeeding relationship is more for the mother than the child. Comeback: There's no denying that breastfeeding provides emotional and physical benefits to a mother as well as a child. To continue to nurse an older baby and hate it tends to become martyrdom - a poor basis for any family relationship (Bumgarner. N). Besides, if there weren't anything in the relationship for the child (comfort, nourishment), he simply wouldn't nurse (La Leche League). Argument: If you breastfeed for too long, you will give your child breast fixation issues. Comeback: There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that children who are breastfed for extended periods develop Oedipus complexes, become gay or develop an abnormal fixation with breasts. If that were the case, then a huge proportion of the world's population would fall into these categories, thereby redefining the parameters of normal (Mothers Over 40). Thus concludes my whistle-stop tour of infant feeding warfare. I hope I have covered the most prevalent arguments that persistently crop up in the life of the breastfeeding mother.

Why the way you feed your baby is MY business

My baby, my choice.

Its got nothing to do with you how I feed my baby. Live and let live.

These are classic lines youll hear from some defensive formula feeding mothers whenever a breastfeeding advocate points out the flaws of formula. The message from those who give formula to their babies is clear: Its none of your business. Yet I argue that the way a mother chooses to feed her baby IS my business. Read on to discover what motivates my judgy stance.

1. The abuse of developing countries riles me

...and the frustration is even moreso when that abuse is concentrated on infants. Formula feeding in developing countries can lead to serious illness and even death. Take the Philippines for example. Just 16% of children between four and five months old are exclusively breastfed. This is one of the lowest documented rates on earth. Every year, according to the World Health Organisation, some 16,000 Filipino children die as a result of inappropriate feeding practices. These deaths are caused only by feeding children with formula. An article in The Guardian has highlighted that:

Both the Government of the Philippines and the UN blame the manufacturers of baby formula for much of the decline in breastfeeding. These companies spend over $100m a year on advertising breastmilk substitutes in the Philippines. Those who appear most susceptible to this advertising are the poor, who are also the most likely to be using contaminated water to make up the feed. Some spend as much as one third of their household income on formula. Powdered milk now accounts for more sales than any other consumer product in the Philippines. Almost all of it is produced by companies based in the rich nations. Another issue is that the promotion of formula in developing countries results in a greater likelihood of closely spaced pregnancies, thus burdening women more and increasing the risk of their own deaths and that of their newborns and existing children. Formula feeding means that the contraceptive effect of breastfeeding is lost. Of course, the Oscar for abusing developing countries goes to Nestle and their milk nurses (click here for more info). Every time someone buys a can of formula, whether in the UK or abroad, they are fueling an industry which causes the death of thousands of babies. We live in a capitalist driven economy, so in effect, each pound/dollar we spend can be thought of as a vote. If I spend money on an industry that thinks it's acceptable to use unethical practices to promote their products, or an industry that causes severe environmental destruction or death of people, then I am in effect, voting with my pound, to say that such behaviour is acceptable.

2. I find the suffering of my nations children equally offensive

As I pointed out in 15 Tricks of Formula Companies (click here to view), the dangerous risks of formula are not limited to poor countries. Even in rich, industrialised countries such as the UK and USA, where formula is assumed to be safe, formula fed infants are more likely than breastfed infants to suffer from... Diarrhoea Meningitis Ear infections Blood infections Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (cot death) Diabetes Childhood cancers Obesity High blood cholesterol Asthma Reduced effectiveness of vaccinations Reduced effectiveness of organ transplants Candidiasis

Enteroviruses Gastroenteritis Giardia Haemophilus Influenza Necrotizing Enterocolitis Pneumococcal Disease Respiratory Infections (general) Respiratory Infections (protective effect against exposure to tobacco smoke) Respiratory Syncytial Virus Salmonellosis Sepsis in Preterm Infants Urinary Tract Infections Anemia and Iron Deficiency Autoimmune Thyroid Disease Constipation and Anal Fissures Cryptorchidism (undescended testicle) Gastroesophageal Reflex Inguinal Hernia Lactose Malabsorption Morbidity and Mortality Plagiocephaly Pyloric Stenosis Wheezing and Asthma More pain during medical procedures Impaired jaw and teeth development Allergies Eczema Reduced Development and Intelligence Bedwetting Reduced Brainstem, Cognitive, and Motor Development Reduced IQ Reduced Gastrointestinal and Immune Development Hormone imbalance Reduced Neurological, Psychomotor and Social Development Disturbed Sleep Cycles and Arousal Reduced Speech and Language Development Reduced Thymus Development Autism Appendicitis Poor Bone mass Cardiovascular Disease (Atherosclerosis, Cholesterol Concentration) Celiac Disease Helicobacter pylori infection Haemophilus Influenzae Meningitis Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis) Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA)

Poor Mental Health Menopause (timing of) Im not joking Multiple Sclerosis Reduced Oral and Dental Health Reduced Protection against toxins (environmental contaminants, chemicals, heavy metals) Schizophrenia Reduced Stress Resilience Tonsillitis

This bumper sticker was found on the window of a hospital nursery in America (John D. Archbold Memorial Hospital in Thomasville, GA):

In the population of the 596,122 babies born in England and Wales in 2002, the number of cases of asthma, coeliac disease and obesity that could be prevented over 7-9 years if all babies were breastfed was 33,100, 2655 and 13639 respectively (Akobeng.AK and Heller.RF). In the USA, 720 babies under 12 months of age die each year because they are not breastfed (Chen.A and Rogan.WJ).

And dont get me started on the issue of product recalls. Most parents have taken for granted, when they buy a tin of formula, that the contents are of high quality, but they are overly complacent (Palmer. G 2009, 'The Politics of Breastfeeding'). Formula has been found to contain disease-causing microbes and pathogens. Dr. Derrick Jelliffe has characterized the history of formula production as a succession of errors. If I outlined each recall Id be here all day. Suffice to say formula has been recalled for being contaminated with polyvinyl chloride, excessive magnesium, beetle parts, beetle larvae, pieces of hard plastic, elevated levels of lead, salmonella, glass particles, and enterobacter sakazakii (which can cause meningitis), to name a few of the incidents (read more information here). Needless to say, breastmilk will never be recalled. If the formula companies ceased marketing, they could spend the money saved on better quality control. However this will not happen because sales would fall without marketing, which refutes the common claim of formula companies that they only sell formula to fulfil a need. Even when formula is not contaminated and is prepared according to Government guidelines, babies fed on it are significantly more likely to suffer from lifelong health complications. These scenarios occur worldwide, regardless of the wealth or development of the nation involved. As I dont use formula you may wonder why Im troubled by this. However just because I did not give birth to the children suffering or put at risk because of formula feeding, this does not prevent me from feeling compassion for them. I find it short-sighted and self-centred that people expect me to care only for children to whom I have a genetic link. Whats more, Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child recognises the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health. Thus I would argue that access to breastmilk is every babys human right.

3. Formula feeding dumps on the environment

The ecological consequences of cloth vs disposable diapers are debated routinely, yet they are small potatoes compared to the consequences of the breast vs. formula decision. (Michels. D, 'Mother Nature Loves Breastmilk').

Every time a can of formula is purchased, the buyer is having a greater impact on the environment than they may be aware of. Lets look at the stats:

The production of formula, cans, bottles, nipples, labels, packaging, and advertising uses trees, metal, glass, plastics, paper, and fuel. Artificial feeding of infants creates an enormous volume of waste materials (Family Education). For every million formula-fed babies, 150 million tins are used, made from 23,706 tonnes of metal. The paper labels amount to 341 tonnes and the wasted paper materials of marketing goes way beyond that. A company director at Avent bottle manufacturer boasted that its UK factory distributed 20 million bottles per year. Manufacturing processes and disposal problems make infant feeding equipment environmentally harmful. Bottles and nipples require plastic, glass, rubber, and silicon; production of these materials can be resource-intensive and often leads to end-products that are notrecyclable (Michels.D). Cows milk is transported from farm to factory for processing into powdered milk, itself an energy intensive process. It then goes to another processing plant to be made into formula. This is marketed globally and imported over thousands of miles (Palmer.G). Cows need pasture. As the population of the world increases and more women formula feed, more cows are needed to produce milk to make infant formula, so wooded lands are cleared to provide grazing (Stanway.P). Livestock account for 18% of human-caused greenhouse emissions. In addition, cattle rearing is linked with water contamination and soil erosion. Cattle feed products are also transported across the world. A woman can produce hundreds of litres of breastmilk for a zero carbon footprint.

Because the environment is our life-support system, it's impossible to truly estimate its value. The deterioration of the environment threatens the earth's natural resources such as our clean water supply, fossil fuels for energy and food supply. Many of these resources are nonrenewable. Once they are gone, they are gone forever. This is the legacy being left for our children.

4. Formula feeding undermines womans lib

Is infant feeding a feminist issue? There are compelling arguments which suggest so. The act of breastfeeding provides stunning evidence of womens physical prowess and their contribution to the economy and human welfare. When we hand over the feeding of our babies to formula companies, we relinquish some of our power as women. As Palmer has maintained, the production and aggressive promotion of commercial formula took power away from women and gave it to industry. Industry got richer and women got poorer.

Instead of commonly being seen as a roadblock to womens empowerment, breastfeeding should be seen as a facilitator of it. As Van Esterik remarked in her essay, Breastfeeding: A Feminist Issue, Conditions supportive to successful nurturing, are conditions which reduce gender subordination generally by contradicting negative images of women and emphasising the value of women's reproductive work. In other words, to disvalue breastfeeding is to disvalue women. The BBC has contended that All mothers produce breastmilk. If, for sake of argument, we concede that 98% of women can produce sufficient breastmilk (Baby Friendly UK) yet less than 3% do so exclusively until 6 months (Unicef), this means that at least 95% of women are unnecessarily surrendering their babys health to the will of multinational corporations such as SMA and Aptamil. As I said in my article, '15 Formula Company Tricks' (click here to view), the primary purpose of these companies is not to do good or even provide useful products. Rather they have a statutory duty to put the needs of their shareholders first, which makes profit their prime concern.

When we consider that the highest ranking executives of formula companies are men (Aptamil/ Cow&Gate - Mr. Jan Bennick; Heinz - Mr. William Johnson; Hipp - Mr. Klaus Hipp; Wyeth/SMA - Mr. Rober Essner), we begin to see the injustice from a gender perspective. Women have a gift that is highly valued in evolutionary terms (that of single-handedly birthing and nutritionally sustaining human infants), yet their competence in delivering this gift has been undermined by men.

Furthermore, a common conception of formula is that it aids a womans economic mobility through strengthening her role in the workplace. She is no longer tied to a dependant infant and can instead pass a bottle of formula to grandma and return to being economically active. However this perceived benefit is negated by the fact that formula fed children are significantly more likely to fall ill, and numerous studies have shown that a childs illness commonly results in the mother rather than the father taking time off work (Journal of Early Childhood; Weimer.J; Nursery World; Mother and Baby; Working Mums Magazine). Thus when a woman is taking more time off work she is seen as a burden by her employer. This does not strengthen the role of women in the workplace. Consequently women of childbaring age are viewed as liabilities. This is not to mention the strain on employers caused by their employees sick children results in lower incomes for working families, thus reducing income tax revenues which pay for government programs and services that benefit everyone.

5. Widespread formula feeding distorts societys perception of breasts

In our society we have an ironically degenerate view of breasts. They are seen first and foremost as sexual objects, while their nurturing function has been downplayed. This leads to a sizable proportion of women declining breastfeeding because it makes them feel uncomfortable. Although bottle-feeding is common in the mass media, visual images of breastfeeding are rare, and a mother may never have seen a woman breastfeeding (Shannon.T et al; Swanson.V et al). The act of placing your breast inside an infants mouth is somehow creepy, a view which the deputy editor of Mother and Baby magazine propagates (The Telegraph; The BBC). Such beliefs make women feel embarrassed and fearful of being stigmatized by people around them when they breastfeed. In The Guardian Yvonne Roberts observed that: The contradictions are endless. Breasts are allowed out on the Sun's Page Three but not actually to feed in a public place without embarrassment. Sex is OK on television ... but breast feeding? Now, that is disgusting.

As I wrote in my article: For and Against Breastfeeding in Public (click here to view) people who have a negative response to viewing breastfeeding need to view more of it, then the act will no longer elicit a sensational reaction. The more women that breastfeed, the faster societys perception of breasts as purely sexualised objects will change. Instead breasts will be viewed first and foremost as nurturing devices and providers of natures gold standard of nourishment for babies. This natural view of breasts already prevails in countries where breastfeeding is the norm and there is little formula feeding (Britton.C). Therefore, for every woman that chooses formula over breast there is one less woman to normalise breastfeeding. Widespread breastfeeding would counteract the objectification and sexualisation of breasts, which is an especially important message for children.

6. Formula-use lowers the IQ of the population

The nutrient advantages of human milk coupled with the mother-infant relationship provide the matrix for the child to reach his/her full intellectual potential (Lawrence. R). Breastfed children are more cooperative and socially better students the longer they are breastfed. In a study by Horwood. LJ and Fergusson. DM the high school drop-out rate was higher among children who had been formula-fed and lowest among those who had been breastfed equal to or longer than eight months, even when factors such as mothers age, education, marital status, socio-economic status and family income were taken into account. In the same study increasing duration of breastfeeding was associated with consistent and statistically significant increases in 1) intelligence quotient assessed at ages 8 and 9 years; 2) reading comprehension, mathematical ability, and scholastic ability assessed during the period from 10 to 13 years; 3) teacher ratings of reading and mathematics assessed at 8 and 12 years; and 4) higher levels of attainment in school leaving examinations. Furthermore, these effects are 1) pervasive, being reflected in a range of measures including standardized tests, teacher ratings, and academic outcomes in high school; and 2) relatively long-lived, extending throughout childhood into young adulthood.

Another study hypothesised that breast milk has a beneficial influence on cognition by affecting brain growth. Isaacs. E et al maintained that breast milk promotes brain development, particularly white matter growth. It used to be thought that breast milks promotion of intellectual potential was down to it containing long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs), notably docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). However when a synthetic form of DHA was added to formula milk, it was shown to have no developmental benefits (Simmer K et al). Instead the IQ safeguarding benefits of breastfeeding have been linked to the fact that human milk contains a wide variety of other factors including hormones and growth factors, some of which (e.g. thyroxin, nerve growth factor) are likely to influence cerebral development. The contention that breastfeeding protects a childs intellectual potential has also been backed up by numerous other studies (Quinn PJ et al; Kramer M et al; Mortensen EL et al; Angelsen. NK et al; Andersen JW et al; Gustafsson PA et al). These findings are not surprising when one considers that cows' milk (the main staple ingredient in most formula) is designed to rapidly grow an animal with a large body and a small brain whereas human milk is designed to grow a small body but a large and rapidly developing brain (The Independent).

But why do I care about the IQ of other peoples children? As formula feeding lowers the IQ of the population, this means less scientific advancements. Were talking about cures for cancers and other diseases, new amenities, new technologies, strategies to combat global warming, and so on. Our society is becoming much more of a service based economy than ever before, with most of our manufacturing jobs disappearing in favour of those jobs that require far more education and knowledge. Intelligence paves the way for societal developments which benefit the whole community. If the bulk of society carries on formula feeding we will never reach our potential for scientific advancement.

7. More formula more child abuse

Breastfeeding mothers are less likely to abuse their children. Controversial? Yes. Can I back it up with stats and research? Indeed (Reuters; Strathearn et al; Lvoff NM et al; Picton. G; American Society of Registered Nurses).

There are many reasons why breastfeeding has been shown to have a protective effect against abuse. The most prominent hypothesis is that breastfeeding enhances maternal responsiveness by stimulating oxytocin release, which is associated with reduced anxiety and elevated mood, a blunted physiological stress response, and more-attuned patterns of maternal behaviour (Chiodera P et al; Heinrichs M et al; Uvns-Moberg K and Eriksson M). These findings are consistent with animal research on the effects of oxytocin on long-term maternal behavior. In the same vein, research has found that non-breastfeeding mothers demonstrate reduced brain responses when they hear their baby cry (Time). Another hypothesis suggests that mothers who decide to breastfeed may be more emotionally invested in motherhood and in their child; in turn, these mothers may be less likely to neglect or abuse their child (Strathearn et al).

An alternative, and in my opinion more compelling hypothesis, is that breastfed babies are less likely to be abused because they cry roughly half as much as formula-fed babies. This is because breastfed babies don't need to wait for formula to be mixed and bottles to be warmed up; also a mothers breast is a more effective pacifier than an artificial plastic teat; moreover formula-fed babies are in gastric distress much of the time - because formula is significantly harder to digest than breastmilk. Consequently, breastfeeding reduces the chances that a baby will be abused by causing the baby to cry less. Crying is one of the main triggers of abuse in infants (Childrens Memorial Hospital; Barr. R; Lee.C et al; Kids Health). Other research has shown that parents who are sleep deprived are more likely to abuse their babies (Meltzer. L & Mindell. J). Its a common misconception that formula-feeding parents sleep longer. In reality breastfeeding mothers get more sleep and their sleep is of higher quality. A breastfed baby can eat as soon as she or he is hungry. If cosleeping, that means before the baby even starts to cry. A formula-fed baby has to wait for formula to be prepared and warmed, in the meantime getting more and more distressed and agitated as well as waking others in the household. When breastfeeding, even the mother does not need to wake up fully to nurse her baby. Furthermore, the hormones produced during nursing have a relaxing effect, and the mother is likely to sleep even better when she nurses her baby. Regardless of which hypothesis one favours, the fact remains that formula fed babies are more likely to be abused. Abused children are more likely than unabused children to grow into abusers themselves (Pears KC, Capaldi DM; Pianta R, Egeland B, Erickson MF). Thus, a vicious circle is

perpetrated. Im sure Im not alone in contending that any behaviour which is likely to increase child abuse should be avoided wherever possible.

8. More formula - more crime

Countries with a high rate of breastfeeding benefit through reduced crime, reduced unemployment and generally stronger attachments with family and community supports (Barker 2008). Children who are not breastfed have particularly higher rates of delinquent, aggressive and anti-social behaviour (Oddy.W; Reuters; Telethon Institute for Child Health Research; Fraiser.J; York University). In a large-scale study only 4% of the breastfed babies showed a tendency to behavioural problems compared with 16% of those fed formula milk (The Guardian). As with the relationship between formula feeding and child abuse discussed above, the relationship between formula feeding and crime has been the subject of various different hypothesis. One study suggests that delinquency in formula fed children is the result of a weaker maternal bond through not breastfeeding. Fergusson and Woodward maintain that children who were breast fed for a longer duration were more likely to report higher levels of parental attachment and tended to perceive their mothers as being more caring and less overprotective towards them compared with bottle-fed children. This is the case even when data were adjusted for maternal demographics. Another hypothesis looks at the IQ enhancing effects of breastfeeding (discussed above). For some time, researchers have known that people with criminal records tend to have low IQ scores (Hunt. E). Furthermore it has been shown that low IQ leads to delinquency rather than results from it (Lynam. D). Therefore by formula feeding a parent is increasing the risk that their child will turn to crime when they are older. The consequences of crime impact on the whole of society.

9. Formula-feeding hinders herd-immunity

Before I explain the technicalities of herd immunity it is important to recognise that breastfeeding ensures that vaccinations have full effectiveness. Breastmilk promotes the response to immunisation made by the still maturing immunologic and enterohepatic systems of infants. It

influences physiologic parameters that can change metabolism of ethylmercury derived from some vaccines (Dorea. J). Following vaccination, antibody levels are significantly higher in the breast-fed than formula-fed infants (Pabst.HF and Spady.DW; Silfverdal.SA et al). As breastfeeding is the biological norm it is a fact that the use of formula lessens the effectiveness of vaccinations. This has significant consequences for herd immunity, otherwise known as community immunity. Herd immunity:

describes a form of immunity that occurs when the vaccination of a significant portion of a population (or herd) provides a measure of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity. In contagious diseases that are transmitted from individual to individual, chains of infection are likely to be disrupted when large numbers of a population are immune or less susceptible to the disease. The greater the proportion of individuals who are resistant, the smaller the probability that a susceptible individual will come into contact with an infectious individual (Wikipedia - Herd Immunity). Herd immunity protects people who cannot safely receive vaccines because of a medical condition such as an immune disorder or for organ transplant recipients. It also protects people who dont respond to vaccines. Formula feeding reduces the effectiveness of vaccinations, thus weakening herd immunity, putting vulnerable members of society at risk.

10. More colds and flu floating about

As I touched upon above, breastmilk protects and nurtures a babys developing immune system (NHS). It has beneficial effects on intestinal flora (Oddy. W) and contains unmatchable immunological properties (Field. C). This protection can last many years (Hanson. L) Prematurely discontinuing breastfeeding can facilitate pathogenesis of many chronic diseases later in life - e.g, autoimmune disorders (Jackson. K and Nazar. A). This is not only bad for formula fed babies, it also has implications for vulnerable members of society such as the elderly or persons with auto-immune diseases. The theory is similar to herd immunity in vaccinations. Formula fed infants have a weaker immune system than nature intended. This means that more cold and flu viruses are passed around.

11. The redundancy of natures contraceptive

Mothers who formula feed miss out on the contraceptive affect of exclusive breastfeeding (this is one of the reasons that they are at greater risk of ovarian cancer). Consequently they are more likely to have closely spaced pregnancies. The fact that this is a problem is not unique to developing countries. As mothers who formula feed are more likely to come from lowereconomic, uneducated, disadvantaged groups (The Guardian), the increase in closely spaced reproduction perpetuates a cycle of poverty. Any contraceptive choice that is removed from a woman reduces her economic choices. This creates more kinds of headache for the taxpayer. For instance, it can cost the taxpayer over 154,000 to support a single mother over a decade (The BBC).

12. Formula fed babies clog up hospital and doctor waiting lists
Formula fed children clog up waiting rooms in both hospitals and GPs surgeries. Since they are statistically less healthy, formula fed babies see the doctor more often (McConnachie.A). They have a higher risk of infection, and are more likely to spend time in hospital during their first year (Shiva.F and Ghotbi.F; Hengstermann.S; Galton Bachrach. VR et al; Quigley.MA). This difference does not depend on the social or economic status of the baby's family.

One comparative study in the US and UK, focusing on just three medical complaints - lower respiratory tract illnesses, otitis media, and gastrointestinal illness - found that in the first year of life, after adjusting for confounders, there were 2033 excess doctor visits, 212 excess days of hospitalization, and 609 excess prescriptions for per 1000 formula fed infants compared with 1000 infants exclusively breastfed for at least 3 months (Ball. T and Wright. A). These excess visits would be preventable by breastfeeding, thus freeing up doctors to tend to needy patients with unpreventable illness.

13. Formula culture is anti-breastfeeding

Formula feeding is viewed by many as the normal way to feed infants. This formula culture makes life difficult for current and future breastfeeding mothers. It perpetuates a vicious circle: less women breastfeed - breastfeeding seen as subnormal hostility towards breastfeeding mums - less women breastfeed. Until more women breastfeed the boobie-traps of our formula culture will continue to make life unnecessarily difficult for nursing mothers. By boobie traps Im talking about such things as aggressive formula marketing; lack of support from family and friends; insufficient knowledge among medical professionals about breastfeeding techniques and challenges; misinformed postnatal hospital practices; and cultural attitudes (Read more about boobie traps here).

Taking aggressive formula marketing for example, formula companies invest millions of pounds in marketing material that undermines breastfeeding (see how it is done here). One of their strategies is to plant seeds of doubt in the mind of the breastfeeding mother where there were none before. For instance, many commercials for follow-on milk cite that when you decide to move on from breastfeeding, use our formula; note that the commercial says "when" not "if". The assumption is that all breastfeeding mothers must move onto formula at some stage, presumably at 6 months. Unfortunately this untruth has been absorbed by health professionals

and then regurgitated to parents as the common misconception that there is no nutritional value in breastmilk after 6 months. Another example of formula companies erecting unnecessary hurdles in the way of breastfeeding mothers can be seen via their company carelines. Many of these hotlines and their associated website content maintain that in order to successfully breastfeed a mother must consume a specialist diet, which is nonsense (read more about the strategies of formula company carelines here). The more people that buy formula, the more money formula companies have to perpetrate such inaccurate and misleading marketing, thus distorting choice for all women. Likewise, the more people that buy formula, the more money formula companies have to manipulate health care professionals (see how it is done here) which not only makes breastfeeding mothers lives harder (click here to see how health visitors in particular do this), it also stalls medical progress. Accurate information on formula, its ingredients, its safe preparation, and its risks are obscured by heavy marketing campaigns and the pseudo-science they contain. Many of these campaigns are aimed at health care professionals, who assimilate the information and then relay it back to parents.

14. Draining the public purse

A sizeable proportion of my household income goes to the Government in the form of taxes. This is money taken from my purse that could have been used to feed and clothe my children, so naturally I have an interest in what it is spent on. Firstly, the UK tax-payer suppliments the formula-use of low income families (HM Revenue and Customs). Tax payers also supplement formula used by the general population as there is no tax (VAT) on formula. Curiously there is still tax on nursing bras, breast pumps, breastpads, nipple cream, etc. Thus breastfeeding mothers pay tax on their paraphernalia, yet formula feeding mothers do not. The tax lost from formula is supplemented by the public purse. Is this fair in light of the fact that breastfeeding mothers and their healthier babies cost the Government less?

Secondly and perhaps more importantly, the additional number of illnesses needlessly suffered by formula-fed babies translates into staggering medical costs. UK taxpayers would save 360 million for every year of higher breastfeeding rates. This would be made up of annual savings in treatment costs and lifetime contribution to the economy from infants who would otherwise have died prematurely. In 1991, in an English town, the costs of treating just 150 formula fed babies hospitalised for diarrhoea was estimated to be 225,000. Hospitalisation for diarrhoea is almost unknown for exclusively breastfed babies (Palmer. G). Breastfeeding an infant saves 305 on medical costs alone during just the first 6 months of a babys life. When you consider that there are 605,634 babies born annually in the UK, if they were all breastfed for 6 months that would be a hell of a lot of taxpayers money saved. 305 x 605,634 = 184,718,370. Think about how many new homes, hospitals and schools could be built annually with that! If there was just a 10% improvement in breastfeeding that would mean that 60,563 additional babies would be breastfed. UK taxpayers savings for just three illnesses and the formula, bottles and teats, would therefore be: 27 about 17,000 cases of otitis media avoided at a saving of 509,000. almost 3900 cases of gastroenteritis being avoided, at a saving of 2.6 million over 1500 cases of asthma being avoided, at a saving of 2.6 million. a reduction in the cost of teats and formula of 102,000

(Source: Baby Milk Action. To see the cost of formula v breastfeeding in other countries, read this). In the US a minimum of $3.6 billion would be saved annually if breastfeeding rates were increased. This gure is likely to be an underestimation of the total savings because it represents cost savings from the treatment of only three childhood illnesses: otitis media, gastroenteritis, and necrotizing enterocolitis. Furthermore, formula feeding is subsidized by American taxpayers through WIC programs (supplemental nutrition programs for poor families), which spend over $578 million dollars on

infant formula annually. WIC is the largest purchaser of infant formula, buying approximately 40 percent of all formula sold in the United States. Thus the conclusions are unanimous: It is more expensive to provide formula than to breastfeed, and formula-feeding results in excess illness, which increases the cost of health care. Treating the ill-effects of formula feeding drives a significant amount of money away from the treatment of conditions such as Parkinsons disease, motor neurone diseases, diabetes, cerebral palsy, heart disease, muscular dystrophy, and from cancer research. People unfortunate enough to be affected by non-preventable diseases through no fault of their own are being significantly disadvantaged by the preventable increase of ill health caused by formula feeding. Therefore whilst formula feeding parents contribute to the prosperity of formula companies, they are also contributing to the state of inadequacy found in NHS care for terminally ill patients. The salt in the wound is the fact that formula companies are not paying for the social and financial debt they continuously bring about. In the UK, HM Revenue and Customs estimate that companies avoid 13.7 billion worth of taxes by using tax havens. Consequently, the bulk of tax is paid by the mass of ordinary middle or low paid people like you and I.

In conclusion...
Just to clarify, I fully defend a womans right to chose how she feeds her baby IF that choice is fully informed, free from bias and backed up with adequate support; yet as I pointed out in Top 10 Breastfeeding Boobie Traps and 15 Formula Company Tricks the choice of whether to breastfeed or formula feed is far from fully informed and support is patchy. The consequence of manipulation from formula companies is the production and maintenance of a society where shareholders bonuses are valued above infant health, babies are dying and women have warped cynical views of their bodies. By giving their cash to formula companies, parents are fuelling this cycle, providing a bleak outlook for future generations. Research has shown that formula-use is environmentally inherited. In other words, if you formula feed, your children are more likely to formula feed when they become parents. Thus, one formula feeding parent can equate to generations of formula feeding. The problems mentioned above (strained healthcare services, deteriorating environment, delayed womens liberation, etc) are prolonged for decades. So next time you feel the urge to tell a lactivist (or anyone else for that matter) to mind their own business, bear in mind that our choices are not made in isolation, they often have widespread implications for other people and society as a whole.