OBs Lend Official Support to Formula Moms

ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
March 2, 2017
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Image: Michela Ravasio

We can go on and on about the benefits of breastfeeding. And we usually do. But moms can only be inundated with the phrase “breast is best” so many times. Finally, the ob-gyn community, while still maintaining moms should breastfeed if they can, is supporting a woman’s informed decision not to breastfeed.

“Obstetrician–gynecologists and other obstetric care providers should support each woman’s informed decision about whether to initiate or continue breastfeeding, recognizing that she is uniquely qualified to decide whether exclusive breastfeeding, mixed feeding, or formula feeding is optimal for her and her infant,” the American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists (ACOG) wrote in a new committee opinion statement.

While the recommendation to exclusively breastfeed for baby’s first six months is still in effect, ACOG is now emphasizing that recommendation should be communicated to moms in a non-confrontational way. Basically, healthcare providers shouldn’t bully moms into breastfeeding.

“As when discussing any health behavior, the obstetrician–gynecologist is obligated to ensure patient comprehension of the relevant information and to be certain that the conversation is free from coercion, pressure, or undue influence.”

The committee is throwing a bone to on-the-go and working moms too: “Obstetrician–gynecologists and other obstetric care providers should support women in integrating breastfeeding into their daily lives in the community and in the workplace.”

Other statement highlights:

Break time to pump at work, along with a designated area other than a bathroom, are essential for breastfeeding moms.

Recognizing that women who have difficulty breastfeeding are more prone to postpartum depression, ACOG emphasizes the need to screen them and treat them appropriately.

Moms of preemies need extra help establishing a full milk supply, and ob-gyns should work closely with hospital staff to come up with an early expression plan for these women.

We’re pleased to see such an influential organization being more inclusive. Moms have to support one another, and that’s made even easier when our leaders support us as well.

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