Beware, Mom, you're about to develop a serious case of whiplash. Remember last week? The Stir reported on a host of health risks if you start feeding your babies solids too early? Get ready to throw that all out the window.
Because this week, scientists are telling us that it's exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months of a baby's life that's going to give them two heads and turn them into back-talking little brats. Well, OK, not exactly, but bad things are going to happen. Mark the words of the British scientists who are trying to make our ears bleed:
According to the study out of the Institute of Child Health in University College London and published in the medical journal, BMJ, breastfeeding still remains the best way to feed a baby. BUT -- and this is a big ol' BUT -- they've determined keeping it up as the only food source for babies through the 6-month mark might not be so great ... at least not if you're living in western society.
In under-developed, third world countries, it's been pretty standard. Breast is best. Period. Unsanitary water, etc., are just too risky for fragile babies. But in the United Kingdom -- and ostensibly it would follow in the United States -- we have the means to keep their outside food sources safer. And the scientists at UCL say that means we can provide them with alternate nutrition, reduce an iron deficiency risk, lower the risk of unhealthy eating habits, and on they go.
Listen, they may be absolutely right. It's just one study, and I'm not a nutrition expert, so I don't know. But here's what bothers me: the scientists can't seem to make up their MINDS. And if they can't, how can we, the lay people, the mothers, who really want to make sound decisions for our kids, based on good scientific practices, make up ours?
Science is a process, and it means forever experimenting, forever analyzing new data, forever coming up with new ideas. But just once, could all these people competing for the grant money and the prestige step back and realize we, as mothers, are drowning here? We don't care who gives us the answer. We just want the right one.
It's no wonder so many of us are stressed. Because whether you're a "breastfeed until age 15" or "formula feeder from the get-go, get that kid away from my boob" or somewhere in between, we all want what is best for our kids. Yes, even that annoying Mom no one can stand in the playgroup. But before we can say, "OK, this is what the scientists say," they're changing their minds.
How do you handle the constant back and forth without tearing your hair out?
Image via Elizabeth/Table4Five/Flickr