The August 2003 issue of Real Simple magazine contained an article titled "20 Time Wasting Rules to Break Now." (page 136). According to the magazine, what is one of the rules listed as a time waster? Breastfeeding.
Our readers were appalled and sent the following 3 Minute Activist Letter.
Kristin Van Ogtrop, Managing Editor
REAL SIMPLE, Time & Life Building
New York, NY 10020-1393.
Dear Ms. Van Ogtrop,
I read your article "20 Rules to Break Now" in the recent edition of Real Simple Magazine. As a reader and breastfeeding mother, I have to say I'm very surprised at the article and at the magazine for publishing it!
To reduce the many benefits of breastfeeding to a casual statement about better immune systems and stronger bonding with mom is not only doing your readers a disservice, it is a misrepresentation of countless studies done surrounding the many benefits of breastfeeding. While breastfeeding does the priceless services of boosting children's immune system (for a parent it is the highest priority), it also aids in the child's physical and emotional development. As far as Dr. Petrikovsky's comment that there is no "conclusive data on breast milk's effects on brain development", obviously he hasn't read the study by Horwood and Fergusson, "Breastfeeding and Later Cognitive and Academic Outcomes", Jan 1998 Pediatrics, or any of the 3 other studies on this topic. (See promom.org/101/index.html. Reason # 7).
Your information and misrepresentation of breastfeeding, is detrimental individually and to the community. While your author may see a convenience for the mother who has a partner to cover the 3:00 a.m. feeding, the reality is that it is more convenient to breastfeed at 3 a.m. than to mix a bottle, especially if you are alone, or if your partner is not convinced of the need to assist. Not to mention, more sick time for baby means more time missed from work for mom, and more bottles mean more waste products for our landfills. In addition, your article fails to mention the huge added expense of feeding formula (up to $2,000 per year), or the possible risks associated with artificial milk which has been recalled on numerous occasions.
Your article focuses on many items that are quite frivolous, and to include the decision to breastfeed along with these trivial issues is misleading, and unfair to your readers. Knowing what I do about the importance of breastfeeding casts serious doubts in my mind with regard to your other health-related tips