Monday, January 7, 2013

Rich mom poor mom sick mom?

Back in August, right after I gave birth to the little lord, I did a post on why I thought a lot of research around  best practices for caring for infants was skewed.  At the time, I was pondering the difference the selection bias around mothers who had time and resources to engage in lots of skin to skin contact with their infant or to breastfeed for more than a few weeks vs those who did not(sparked in part by Mayor Bloomberg's initiative to make formula harder to get in the hospital so women would be more likely to breastfeed).

Well, last week Time magazine did me one better.

In an excellent piece, Lisa Selin Davis points out that there is almost no research on whether there can be underlying medical conditions that affect a woman's ability to breastfeed.  The justification for this is that women should be able to do it because "it's a normal mammalian function".

As the article points out, this is a positively stunning thing for a doctor to say.  The vast majority of non-injury related ailments we treat are things that aren't working normally.

As I mentioned in my single moms post, sometimes we need more granular categories for the things we talk about broadly.  While breastfeeding is good for babies, do babies whose mothers are medically unable to feed them this way really have worse outcomes?  If this problem is so unacknowledged, has a study like that ever been done?

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