AAP responds to “The Case Against Breastfeeding”

By now you may have seen (and commented on) various responses to “The Case Against Breastfeeding” by Hannah Rosin in the April 2009 issue of Atlantic Monthly.  

You can read Best for Babes’ response on the Moms Rising website, and for a very good scientific rebuttal of Rosin’s article, read the blog by Tanya Lieberman, IBCLC.  Andi Silverman makes some good points, as do the Editors of a new book, “Unbuttoned,” that is coming out in April, and I’ve heard that several prominent M.D.s are working on responses as well.

Here is the American Academy of Pediatrics’ response:    

Letter to the Editor of The Atlantic (Submitted via email)

In the article, “The Case Against Breast-Feeding” by Hanna Rosin, the author skims the literature and has omitted many recent statements including the 2005 statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics which supports the value of breastfeeding for most infants. This policy references every statement with
scientific evidence from over 200 articles which meet scientific standards for accuracy and rigor. The statement was meticulously reviewed by the Section on Breastfeeding, the Committee on Nutrition and numerous other committees and approved by the Board of Directors of the Academy. Breastfeeding and Maternal and Infant Health Outcomes in Developed Countries, a study released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (the AHRQ Report) strongly supports the evidence of benefits demonstrated in the breastfeeding research. The evidence for the value of breastfeeding is scientific, it is strong, and it is
continually being reaffirmed by new research work.

The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages women to make an informed decision about feeding their infants based on scientifically established information from credible resources.

David T. Tayloe, Jr., MD, FAAP
American Academy of Pediatrics

As we mentioned in the blog on MomsRising, the AAP has no financial incentive to promote breastfeeding, the only motives that I can see here are to adhere to their mission and moral obligation, and retain the respect of the international medical, scientific and public health communities.   So I was thrilled when I heard that they wrote a letter to the Atlantic Monthly, and I am posting it so you can link to it easily as you respond to the different articles.   Go, AAP!

We also wish Rosin had seriously regarded this sentence from the AAP Policy Statement on Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk:

“Before advising against breastfeeding or recommending premature weaning, weigh the
benefits of breastfeeding against the risks of not receiving human milk.”

Let me just reiterate that Best for Babes believes no woman should be judged for her decision on how to feed her baby, and she deserves to have the best, evidence-based information to make and carry out that decision, free of undermining influences.

4 thoughts on “AAP responds to “The Case Against Breastfeeding”

  1. Thank goodness that the AAP spelled it out in black and white for those unable to see the flaws of the “Case against breastfeeding” article on their own. There are a wealth of financial reasons for people to undermine the importance of nursing, and NONE to reiterate how wonderful everything about mothers’ milk and the act of breastfeeding are.


  2. Once upon a time people thought smoking was harmless too. Once upon a time Doctors gave out packages of cigarettes to new Moms to help them “deal with the stress”, and because they were paid by cigarette companies to “promote their brand”. It took 40 yrs of concerted campaigns by the Medical Profession and activists to undo the damage done. It’s going to take at least as much work, commitment and passion to get the “Formula is dangerous” message out as it took to get the “Smoking is dangerous” message out. The AAP better be writing to EVERY SINGLE person who puts an anti-breastfeeding message out there into the world that they can find! They’ve got a long way to go baby!


  3. Hannah Rosin brought in TONS of quoted evidence, unlike this article, and to say that the AAP is not seeki g any profit or accreditation is paramount to say that corporations are people. I was phyiscally and psychologically ABUSED in the hospital by nurses and lactation consultants who seemed to have no clue about my questions (they were probably a bit different and more complex than the 10 faq about breastfeeding they are trained to answer) or respect for my choice. I believe breastfeeding is great cor those women who want or can do it, but the pressure the system puts on women in this sense is absolutely unacceptable.


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