Child sleep expert and University of Adelaide's Clinical Senior Lecturer in General Practice, Dr Brian Symon recently stated that perhaps it's time for Australian health authorities to rethink advice on exclusive breastfeeding. The norm is 6 months but Dr Symon said he was concerned by the large number of young children he had seen with sleeping, feeding and weight gain problems.
He claims to have led a two-year, self-funded study to review the reasons behind this and feels that while breastfeeding is extremely important for a child's early life; there is evidence that exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months may be linked to certain health problems including food allergies. Another big area of concern was that more than 15 percent of Australian mothers report post natal depression. If the mother is exclusively breastfeeding her child till 6 months and is unable to meet the energy and nutritive demands of the baby, the impact that could have on her confidence, self-esteem and general well being could be debilitating.
And yet American scientists have linked breastfeeding with better receptive language at 3 years of age and verbal and nonverbal intelligence at age 7 years. Dr Mandy B. Belfort, of the Boston Children's Hospital and colleagues have conducted a study that shows a causal relationship of breastfeeding in infancy with receptive language at age 3 and with verbal and nonverbal IQ at school age. These findings support national and international recommendations to promote exclusive breastfeeding through age 6 months and continuation of breastfeeding through at least age 1 year.
Many celebrities have taken the breastfeeding baton forward - some posing for magazine while other nonchalantly breastfeeding in pictures. For them their babies come first; and if by posing while nursing brings forth the breastfeeding momentum, then so be it. Kudos to them!