Everything You Know About Breastfeeding Is Wrong

In recent weeks, it would have been difficult to avoid knowing that in many places, the baby formula shelves were empty. This is pertinent because Childhood Obesity News has published several posts on the topic of nature’s solution, breastfeeding, as it relates to obesity.

Many experts are of the opinion that feeding an infant the old-fashioned way helps prevent obesity, for various reasons. This current, heavily politicized supply chain problem nevertheless presents an opportunity to make several points that families will want to take into consideration when planning to breastfeed an expected baby as a stopgap against obesity.

For Vox.com, Aubrey Hirsch put together an amusingly illustrated guide to the ins and outs of the practice, subtitled “Breastfeeding isn’t free — and it isn’t a solution to the national baby formula shortage.” Her first important point is that the people who have the most to say are, as usual, the ones who do not know what they are talking about. Total novices hop onto social media platforms to scold parents for wanting to buy formula in the first place, because if they were good people — especially if they were good mothers — they would not dream of doing such a thing. As in so many cases, critics take a patronizing, superior attitude regarding a subject with which they have zero familiarity.

What’s stopping you?

There are cases where breastfeeding is literally impossible, maternal death being one that Hirsch did not darken our day by even mentioning. But never fear, there are plenty of other possibilities. The child may be immediately adopted or placed in foster care.

If the mom has had surgery to remove cancerous growths, that could be a problem. In some cases, a mother was born with a mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, and sacrifices her breasts to prevent cancer. And what about implants, elective cosmetic surgery that can, in a shockingly large percentage of cases, make breastfeeding dauntingly difficult, if not impossible?

One factor would be the type of surgery, and the amount of damage done to breast tissue and nerves. The glandular tissue might have been not quite up to the job of producing milk in the first place. The size of the implants can also affect the outcome, as can scar tissue, which is capable of causing complications like mastitis and blocked milk ducts. Among other things that can go wrong, the tissue around the implants may harden.

The baby might have medical problems, including allergies, or other urgent issues that must be dealt with, and rule out the possibility of breastfeeding. The mother could be on medications that should not be passed through to the baby. Or the unfortunate mom might simply have an inadequate milk supply to offer. And some might be unwilling or unable to embark on such a project, for other than strictly medical reasons.

Is that the end of the bad news? Not even close.

(To be continued…)

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “The Many, Many Costs of Breastfeeding,” vox.com, 05/17/22
Source: “Breastfeeding With Implants,” breastfeeding.support, 06/18/20
Image by SUN Movement/CC BY-ND 2.0

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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