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The International Debate of Breastfeeding

In this video, we visit Dr.Kasraeian on the daily dose as he explains if breastfeeding is healthy for the baby and the mother.


Speaker 1: He looks so handsome in that picture right there. To breastfeed or not to breastfeed that is the question.

Curtis: Yes. Yes. Dr. Ali Kasraeian is here with the weekly dose, so right Dr. Ali, this is a national debate, which is over the last nine months. I've learned a lot about all of this stuff. And it's mind boggling to me that somebody is still debating.

Dr. ALi: This well. I mean to say it's an international debate from the medical community, it seems to not be much of a debate. The, that is fairly clear that breastfeeding is healthy for both baby and mom. Couple things for us and the audience to kind of keep in mind with this, taking the politics aside of it. Look at one thing we have to be very, very careful in discussing breastfeeding as a great thing for mom, great thing for baby. Whether it's in high income or low income communities, breastfeeding can be difficult. So if a woman reads all of this stuff, we read the American Academy of Pediatrics reads all these things from what their friends say, the internet social media that says you should breastfeed or else your child is going to be less healthy now and in the future. And if they can't, if it's difficult, for whatever reason, they may feel bad about the fact that they can't do that and they're hurting themselves or they may be most importantly.

Speaker 1: Well there's a lot of pressure I'm sure you guys have found that's everybody's telling you something. Everybody's telling you what you should and should not do. Nobody's short on advice for you.

Curtis: No, having a baby, everybody knows. Everybody knows.

Speaker 1: Everybody's an expert.

Curtis: Everybody's an expert.

Dr. ALi: So formula can be a safe, alternative to breastfeeding because it tries to mimic the composition and the design of breast milk, but it can't do it completely. It's not exact, it doesn't have the antibodies that help boost the baby's immune system for that six months of life. When the baby doesn't have its own immune system. So that being said breastfeeding is I was looking over a number of things in the internet and on the literature, breast milk is really the gold standard of nutrition. It has hormones, it has nutrients. It has the antibodies in there. So for your baby, it's really, really great. It decreases respiratory illnesses. It decreases bacterial infection, decreases risk of asthma, diabetes, obesity later on in life.

Some studies talk about the decrease risk of SIDS. These are very, very important things in a developing nation that really decreases the risk of diarrheal illness. A couple years ago, the World Health Organization published this big study in Lancet, almost 800,000 lives can be saved. Infant lives per year, and also almost 20,000 maternal mother's lives can be saved from future breast cancer lifts. For the mom you can have less postpartum hemorrhage. You can have a quicker return to pre pregnancy weight and it decreases risk of breast and ovarian cancer. So the health benefits of this are without question in the world of medicine. So that's one thing that, that we have that that is not questionable.

Curtis: To me again, I go to the entire world, the ecosystem and look at all of animals. And like, this is what we were built, women were built to do. This is what is the most natural thing to do. And, and the argument where people say, oh, well, sometimes it's hard. I honestly think having, having gone through the last nine months, my sister she's had three and she was big into it. I can put in for run to you. You say it's hard, or somebody says, oh, it's difficult. I honestly think it's because there's not enough. There's now more lactation consultants at hospitals. And that's becoming a thing. And like, hospitals are bragging about, we have a lactation consultant. It's like, this should have been happening decades ago. And I think some of those things were, oh, I can't do it are because there's not enough education for these women and not enough help and support for them.

Dr. ALi: So it, it is difficult. So one of the things, formula has been around for about a century. So this is not a new question. So one thing I urge people when they're talking about this question, they're trying to figure out what to do for themselves. For example, you guys are on the cusp of this issue. One the first couple days after you deliver, you have engorgement. Things are going to happen. That one, the mother, the new mother, even though they've gone through training, they've talked to lactation consultants, they've read books, they've, they've gone to pre-pregnancy or during pregnancy they've gone to pre-birth teachings you when it happens is a completely different beast. So it can be painful. It can be difficult, but most people get through it.

So it's just that awareness. And that understanding is important. So you say, talk to your lactation consultants, talk to your OBGYN, talk to your partner through this process and get as educated as you can and make an informed decision for yourself. The other thing that we have to be mindful, we live in a society with a lot of women now are working very difficult hours. And so once you get back to the workplace, let's say you have six weeks, three months of maternity leave going back...

Curtis: Which is a joke by the way, sorry, I'll say it.

Dr. ALi: So in the United States, it's a little bit different type of thing in the United States, paternity leave is not nearly what it is in some of the other places in the world. And that's, we could have a whole show talking about that.

Speaker 1: So why the debate, what's going on? Why is the president tweeting about this?

Dr. ALi: So with this, I mean, again, we can have an entire show talking about the politics of this. The concern becomes the HHS talks about, we don't want to do anything that can potentially decrease the access of women who want formula to have access. Well, if you want to make an argument in that, again, that could be a very loaded comment is a difficult situation for people to make comments for these things. One thing to be mindful in developing countries, breast milk is free so formula can be expensive. So we have to be mindful of that. The other thing is having the water to mix formula with, and developing countries may sometimes be an issue in itself for it to be clean and healthy enough, not to cause diarrheal problems like dysentery and things of that nature. So those are things that have to be mindful when you're reading things that come up in this discussion, be mindful of the underlying truths that have to come into the science of the discussion.

Speaker 1: So is it a follow the money conversation? Is it something that we're trying to promote?

Curtis: Bingo. He don't want to say it. I'll say it.

Dr. ALi: So if we want to have that discussion, one of the criticisms of this line of thought has been that the formula industry is concerned that we have gone from... That same article I was talking 2016, criticized that in developing countries, only one out of five women and baby breastfeed for the first 12 months of life. And developing countries only one out of three, despite all the health benefits that science and the world has known are associated with breastfeeding. So that's the case, and you're seeing that we are now trying to increase the understanding and the benefits of breastfeeding. Could we potentially be losing the possible, for lack of a better word market share of formula. And so that may be something that's a concern in my personal opinion, in the big scheme of problems, this world has to face to have this be something on the forefront of discussion while Curtis and I are trying to watch the World Cup is very, very interesting, but...

Speaker 1: Meanwhile the president is talking to NATO and he is tweeting about breastfeeding.

Curtis: We could go on for hours.

Dr. ALi: But it's a great discussion to have. If anyone is thinking about breastfeeding, learn about it, make an informed decision for yourself and do the best thing for you and your baby, because that's, what's Al absolutely most important.

Curtis: Appreciate you doc. Good information.

Speaker 1: A great way to land the plane.

Curtis: On Dr. Kasraeian, you can head to doctor...