"Warning: Public health officials have determined that not breast-feeding may be hazardous to your baby's health."
That's the first sentence of the article, and it goes on to describe the health benefits for mother and baby of exclusively breast-feeding for at least the first six months. The article also talks about the governmental media campaign to encourage the behavior.
Given considerable weight in the article are stories from moms who breast or bottle-fed and the voices of critics of the new campaign. Those critics point out that women who don't or can't breast feed are made to feel inadequate And they point to the societal obstacles to breast feeding.
"Moreover, urging women to breast-feed exclusively is a tall order in a country where more than 60 percent of mothers of very young children work, federal law requires large companies to provide only 12 weeks' unpaid maternity leave and lactation leave is unheard of. Only a third of large companies provide a private, secure area where women can express breast milk during the workday, and only 7 percent offer on-site or near-site child care, according to a 2005 national study of employers by the nonprofit Families and Work Institute.
"I'm concerned about the guilt that mothers will feel," said Ellen Galinsky, president of the center. "It's hard enough going back to work."
Public health leaders say the weight of the scientific evidence for breast-feeding has grown so overwhelming that it is appropriate to recast their message to make clear that it is risky not to breast-feed."
So, fine. It's important to breast feed (if you can). So important that the government is spending millions(?) on a PR campaign and Tom Harkin is proposing legislation to put warning labels on formula.
This seems to be one of those all words, no action things that blow out of Washington on a regular basis. Sure, it's great to provide education and lipservice support. But don't expect to see a significant increase in breast-feeding women without something more than that.
Still, it's a decently written article, with a nice summary of the health benis of BF. If you don't already know, it's worth a read.