What we can learn from controversial breastfeeding mom
Lactation experts share thoughts on Internet breastfeeding picture
Do you know the name Jessica Anne Colletti, yet?
If you don’t know her name, you more than likely have seen her photo because she has blown up the Internet with a photo of her breastfeeding her own son and the son of a friend.
For some it’s a beautiful expression of what’s perfectly natural. For others, it’s caused a range of emotion from “yuck” to outrage.
And for our lactation experts at Cook Children’s, well, they look at it as an opportunity to educate the public.
The lactation nurses at Cook Children’s have been busy working and had not seen the photo making the Internet rounds until called for this story. They realize that it makes many of us uncomfortable in the United States to see such a bold expression of a natural process. But they say it’s a common practice in many other countries around the world and accepted and sometimes expected culturally.
From a medical aspect, the lactation experts say milk sharing is becoming a more common practice but not without risks. There are numerous transmittable diseases that can be passed on through a mother's milk as well as many medications that will be passed on through milk too. As milk sharing is becoming more common there are even websites out there where people can share breastmilk with one another. Again, caution must be used when sharing breast milk.
To be perfectly safe, for those babies that have a medical need and prescription for breastmilk, they recommend a place like Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, which allows moms to donate breastmilk. The mothers go through a screening process and is then the milk is pasteurized to make sure there’s no harmful bacteria.
The consultants hope that people don’t focus on the photo as much as they do the benefits of breastfeeding.
And for those of you wondering, “Aren’t those kids a little old to be breastfeeding?” Come on. We know a lot of you are. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding babies until at least 2 years of age.
The lactation nurses aren’t willing to weigh in as far as the emotional aspect of the picture or how it impacts them developmentally. Breastfeeding in a personal choice and one that we hope every mother will attempt. How long to feed your baby is personal and will be very different for each mother. At the end of the day, breastfeeding is supported by the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics just to name a few.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life, “followed by breastfeeding in combination with the introduction of complimentary foods until at least 12 months of age, and continuation of breastfeeding for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby.”
About the source
Because research shows that breast feeding helps improve babies' health and helps moms bond with their little ones, Cook Children's has full-time lactation specialists on staff to assist mothers with pumping and breastfeeding. We offer breast pumps in every room and have an on-site milk bank available for safety and storage. There are numerous resources available through lactation services for moms that are having difficulty with nursing/pumping. While other nurses are focusing on the baby's care, the lactation consultant can provide extra attention to mom.