Editorial: Research may end baby milk stigma

By Kelly Makiha


Will the stigma attached to bottle feeding babies finally disappear if scientists manage to pull off making a new formula that matches the nutritional value of breast milk?

Here's hoping so.

It has been revealed research led by the University of Otago and funded by a $790,000 government grant will investigate how specific carbohydrates, called oligosaccharides, can be added to infant formula made from cows' milk.

The carbohydrates will be extracted from New Zealand resources and chemically modified so they can resemble those that occur naturally in human milk.

Most mothers I know do their best to breastfeed. They know it's best for their baby and best for them. It also creates a special bond with your child that cannot be described. But sometimes it just doesn't work.

I know my opinion will upset some breastfeeding advocates but the pressure put on new mums to breastfeed isn't nice.

I have heard of one midwife telling a pregnant woman she will easily be able to breastfeed - it's natural and has happened for centuries long before milk formula was invented.

The truth is, back in those days, some babies died or were fed by wet nurses (people paid to feed other people's babies breast milk).

Breastfeeding aside, imagine the benefits of having new and improved milk formula for babies who have no choice but to take bottle milk - for instance those who have been adopted and those whose mothers are alcoholics or drug addicts.

While I would hate to see a fancy new formula take away a willingness for mothers to breastfeed, it will hopefully take away the guilt for those who can't.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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