Open Access Review Article Article ID: OJPCH-5-122

    Are Asian mothers influenced by Paediatricians in the USA to deprive Full Benefit of exclusive breastfeeding for first 6 months?

    Suresh Kishanrao*

    Most of the young Indian female Professionals and the spouses of budding professionals mostly software engineers and MBA’s in USA are falling prey to i) the conflicting messages like - “breastfeeding is a way to give children a good start in life, It’s just not the only way, We have good options to provide nutrition to infants that are not just breast feeding” ii) convenience of breast milk-feeding, ii) The Affordable Care Act’s mandating that the insurance plans must cover breast pumps, and that US employers allow mothers of children to take breaks to pump at work for up to a year after birth, iii)  the middle classes have become able to more easily obtain consumer products thanks to automation and globalized manufacturing, elites have shifted their consumption patterns to more subtle status markers that enhance knowledge and health, iv) above all as their time saving strategy and v) inadequate guidance by the paediatricians regarding breastfeeding practices. The literature review indicated that Paediatricians in USA are inadequately trained in breastfeeding management and the skills needed to guide young breastfeeding mothers in the care of their new-borns.

    The CDC Breastfeeding Report Card 2018 showed that initiation rates are high at 83.2%. However, less than 50% of those infants were exclusively breastfed through 3months of age and only about 25% were exclusively breastfed through 6months, highlighting how difficult breastfeeding continues to be in the United States. It is reported that among the ethnic groups Asian have the best breastfeeding rates. It was baffling that approximately 1 in 6 (17.2%) breastfed infants born in 2015 received formula supplementation within the first 2days of life. 

    I was also surprised to read that nearly, 24% of maternity service centres in USA provide supplements of commercial infant formula in the first 2days after birth as a general practice. These rates and practices suggest that mothers may not be getting the support they need from health care providers, and employers in the absence of family members to meet their breastfeeding goals.

    On one side all professional organizations {American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP), American Association of Public Health (AAPH), American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG)) are advocating strongly and influencing breastfeeding though they do not have any authority. On the other hand, there are a few publications like - The Case Against Breast-Feeding ‘The (marginal) health benefits of breastfeeding that quote ‘many of the benefits more commonly cited by breastfeeding advocates-like higher IQ and lower obesity rates-are impossible to disentangle’ are likely dissuade the neo-mothers. 

    These reports and my own interactions with about a dozen Indian origin mothers have led me to conclude that the disparities in breastfeeding rates are associated with variations in hospital routines in promoting feeding new-borns, independent of the populations they served and the lack of the family influences.  

    Therefore, there is a greater need and urgency in improving and standardizing hospital-based practices to realize the newer 2030 SDG targets.


    Published on: Feb 25, 2020 Pages: 3-7

    Full Text PDF Full Text HTML DOI: 10.17352/ojpch.000022
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