On May 6th, CBC’s White Coat, Black Art aired a radio show called the Mother’s Milk Show. In the show, Dr. Brian talked with Tracy and Tina – two moms who struggled with breastfeeding and eventually turned to formula. You can listen to their stories here.
Both Tracy and Tina said they didn’t feel supported by the local Public Health office and that by the time they made the controversial decision to formula feed their babies were already starving.
He also discussed their situations with Nicole Welch with Toronto Public Health who stated that 97% of moms in Toronto initiate breastfeeding but at six months only 17.5% are still breastfeeding exclusively. Here in Newfoundland the initiation rates are lower, but the rate at six months is about the same.
One option Nicole mentioned for mothers who struggle with breastfeeding is to use a human milk bank before formula. Yet there’s only one human milk bank in Canada. Dr. Brian talked to one mom who both used and donated to the milkbank.
Ideally, he said, more mothers would donate their milk, so that every mother that struggles would have access to human milk for their babies. But with just one milk bank that would be difficult.
What does this story mean for health professionals? Why are so many women abandoning breastfeeding and what can be done? At what point do we admit that formula is the best – or even the only – option? And how supportive is it that the Canadian Pediatric Society recommends donated human milk over formula yet most moms don’t have access to such?
Comments have poured in following the show, you can read many of them on the follow-up post called Mother’s Milk Mailbag. What do you think? You can comment on our facebook page or email us at babyfriendlynl AT gmail.com with your comments – we’ll be sure to include them in a future post!