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Experts Want To Stop Calling Breastfeeding Natural

Published on March 31, 2016 by   ·   No Comments

Experts Want To Stop Calling Breastfeeding Natural


An article in the journal Pediatrics is calling on health professionals to stop saying that breastfeeding is natural.

The authors argue that calling breastfeeding ‘natural’, which it is, gives the impression that natural parenting practices are healthier.

A public campaign has also been started to end the positive use of the word ‘natural’, alleging that it is linked to “problematic” practices like home birthing, homeschooling and the rejection of GMO food and even vaccinations.

‘Experts’ warn that when federal and local health departments use the term “natural” to promote breast-feeding, it could inadvertently fuel concerns over other aspects of health and society that are seen as “unnatural,” such as vaccines, genetically modified foods

The Examiner reports:

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. Thy 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.
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