Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Pediatrics Journal says to stop calling breastfeeding "natural" !!

A new article in the journal Pediatrics is calling on health professionals to stop saying that breastfeeding is natural, arguing that doing so gives the impression that natural parenting practices are healthier.

The authors have started a public campaign to end the positive use of the word natural, claiming that it is associated with such "problematic" practices as home birth, homeschooling and the rejection of GMO foods, and that natural parenting movements are interfering with vaccination efforts. 

In the article, Unintended Consequences of Invoking the “Natural” in Breastfeeding Promotion, Jessica Martucci and Anne Barnhill, Medical Ethics and Health Policy researchers at Penn Medicine, wrote: Building on this critical work, we are concerned about breastfeeding promotion that praises breastfeeding as the “natural” way to feed infants. This messaging plays into a powerful perspective that “natural” approaches to health are better... Promoting breastfeeding as “natural” may be ethically problematic, and, even more troublingly, it may bolster this belief that “natural” approaches are presumptively healthier.

The authors are especially concerned that promoting natural practices such as breastfeeding will harm vaccination rates, since many parents who follow natural parenting practices also delay or decline vaccines for their children.

They also cite other examples of the "fallacy" that natural choices are intrinsically better, including the rejection of GMO foods, the preference for organic over conventionally grown foods and concerns over water fluoridation. Apparently the risk of giving the impression that natural choices can ever be positive choices is so great, that the authors conclude that the word natural should not be used in a positive context even if it means undermining breastfeeding.

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