The following is a letter to the show
'Providence', thanking them for portraying breastfeeding in a positive
Dear Mr. Masius,
Three cheers for "Providence" and its portrayal of breastfeeding in a positive
light. It is odd that a society seemingly consumed with financial prosperity and safety is largely unwilling to make the investment in breastfeeding, despite its proven benefits to babies' health and cognitive development.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dietetic Association
have strongly recommended that women breastfeed their children for at least
12 months. This recommendation comes as a result of many studies that have
demonstrated that breastfed children have lower risks of allergies, eczema,
bacterial meningitis, and many other illnesses, as well as higher IQs. The list of benefits to both mother and child is extensive. If there were a pill that had the same effects, would there not be a rush to buy it?
One of the goals of the United States' "Healthy People 2000" program is increasing to 50% the number of women who breastfeed their children until at least 5 to 6 months of age. Sadly, though, less than 60% of mothers are breastfeeding at the time of hospital discharge, and only about 20% are still breastfeeding their babies at 6 months. Because the media have an enormous impact on what we as a culture deem "socially acceptable," your program has tremendous potential for positive influence on the way Americans perceive breastfeeding.
Breastmilk is one of the best starts in life anyone can ever hope to provide a
child, and nursing is one of the most natural acts in the world. Thank you for
helping to spread this message so eloquently.