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Analysis and Comment (20)

Knowledge is power. Knowledge is power. Daquella Manera

Forcing mothers to breastfeed is no way to help children

Breastfeeding has again been frothing up debate after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) introduced a clause to its Child Rights law that makes it mandatory to breastfeed children for the first two years of…
Australian law is allows for breastfeeding and expressing milk wherever we are. Australian law is allows for breastfeeding and expressing milk wherever we are. Hobo Mama/Flickr

For breastfeeding in public, laws are not enough

It’s rare for a significant period of time to pass before another debate about breastfeeding takes place in the media. The latest? Some of the highest authorities have said breastfeeding is okay, even…
Hands up who wants to breastfeed at work? Hands up who wants to breastfeed at work? Christian Lutz/AP

Women at work should be able to breastfeed and succeed

Days after Pope Francis told mothers to “not think twice” about breastfeeding at church and in public, Sally Davies, the UK’s chief medical officer, called for women to be allowed to breastfeed at work…
‘Nipple Nazi’ is probably a cathartic shout-out on behalf of women who feel ripped off by a message that delivers pressure without assuring them the means of living up to expectations. ‘Nipple Nazi’ is probably a cathartic shout-out on behalf of women who feel ripped off by a message that delivers pressure without assuring them the means of living up to expectations. postbear eater of worlds/Flickr

‘Nipple Nazis’ vs overwrought mums: the breastfeeding debate

Intrigued by recent research that shows longer-term breastfeeding may be linked to higher IQs, I shared an article about it on my Facebook page. I was promptly accused of “breast-is-best” fascism. It appears…
New research shows breastfeeding leads to improved language receptiveness at age three. New research shows breastfeeding leads to improved language receptiveness at age three. Tom & Katrien/Flickr

Breastfeeding improves IQ – now have we got your attention?

Research published in JAMA Pediatrics this week shows a causal relationship between breastfeeding and higher IQ by the time a child is seven years old. Put simply, longer breastfeeding appears to make…
We are still learning about the benefits of breast milk and breast feeding. We are still learning about the benefits of breast milk and breast feeding. Uqbar is back/Flickr

Breast milk protects mothers and babies from infection

Breastfeeding may be an ancient practice but we are learning new things about it all the time. My colleagues and I, for instance, have recently found that the lactating breast has the amazing ability to…
Babies' milk teeth carry their early food history, and this remains stable for tens of thousands of years. Babies' milk teeth carry their early food history, and this remains stable for tens of thousands of years. Allygirl520

Got milk? Our breastfeeding habits are older than you think

We know at least six months of exclusive breastfeeding is the best start to a baby’s life. What’s amazing is it seems ancient hominids knew that too. In a paper published today in Nature, we analysed the…
Sharing a bed with your baby is not inherently dangerous if the known risk factors for SIDS are eliminated. Sharing a bed with your baby is not inherently dangerous if the known risk factors for SIDS are eliminated. Image from shutterstock.com

Safety first: reducing the risks of sleeping with your baby

With so much contradictory information about whether it’s safe for mothers to share a bed with their baby, it’s easy to see why parents are confused. The release yesterday of a paper in BMJ Open added…
Women who use donor breast milk weigh the risks against risks associated with infant formula. Women who use donor breast milk weigh the risks against risks associated with infant formula. Flickr/pfly

Mothers seeking wet nurses need support not scaremongering

Wet nursing, where a woman other than the mother breastfeeds a baby, is a practice as old as history itself. In modern times, the availability of refrigeration and breast pumps has enabled women to also…
David Koch meets breastfeeding advocates who converged outside the studio where his show is recorded. David Koch meets breastfeeding advocates who converged outside the studio where his show is recorded. AAP/Damian Shaw

Feeding frenzy: public breastfeeding is good for us all

The host of Sunrise breakfast television show, David Koch, aka Kochie, has stirred controversy by saying mothers should breastfeed “discreetly” and that while he agreed that breastfeeding should be done…
All available evidence tells us that more investment is needed in preventive health – not cuts. All available evidence tells us that more investment is needed in preventive health – not cuts. angelsk

Brace yourself for a fatter, unhealthier Queensland after health promotion cuts

Queensland appears intent on dismantling its public and preventive health services. Health Minister Lawrence Springborg last week outlined the rationale for getting rid of more than 150 jobs in nutrition…
Just 14% of Australian babies are exclusively breastfed at six months of age. Just 14% of Australian babies are exclusively breastfed at six months of age. NoVa Hokie

Nestlé and beyond: looking into infant formula’s chequered past

A recent change to Nestlé’s NAN H.A. 1 Gold infant formula has been accused of making babies sick and irritable, with parents claiming the “new and improved” formula came with side effects such as constant…
Breastfeeding is good for the health of both babies and their mothers. Breastfeeding is good for the health of both babies and their mothers. Ozgur POYRAZOGLU

Explainer: why mothers should breastfeed

Breast milk is one of the most important components of infant care. It provides complete nutrition and helps to prevent and fight infections. And it’s also safer – in much of the world, artificial infant…
Cover of the latest US edition of Time magazine. Cover of the latest US edition of Time magazine.

Time #3: why does it hurt to look at a woman breastfeeding?

The media storm surrounding Time magazine’s recent cover featuring a three-year-old boy breastfeeding while standing on a chair, indicates how important it is for more images of breastfeeding to be circulated…
Cover of the latest US edition of Time magazine. Cover of the latest US edition of Time magazine.

Time #2: extreme parenting, Time magazine style

If Time magazine editors had set out to garner a huge amount of free publicity with their latest cover, they’ve achieved their aim. This week’s US edition featuring a photograph of a young, attractive…
Cover of the latest US edition of Time magazine. Cover of the latest US edition of Time magazine.

Time #1: what’s wrong with this picture?

Breastfeeding generally falls under the jurisdiction of mothers, so I decided to ask a group of mothers I see regularly on Saturday morning what they thought of the recent Time magazine cover portraying…
You can use all kinds of iPhone apps to track and improve your health. You can use all kinds of iPhone apps to track and improve your health. chunghow33

Reviewing the top medical iPhone apps … what’s the diagnosis?

Want to quit smoking, lose weight, manage your diabetes or get a good night’s sleep? No worries. There’s an app for all of that. But it’s not always clear which medical apps are based on solid evidence…
Miranda Kerr lost her pregnancy weight and was back on the runway six months after giving birth. Miranda Kerr lost her pregnancy weight and was back on the runway six months after giving birth. AAP

Ignore the hype, real women don’t ‘bounce back’ to their pre-pregnant shape

Welcome to part six of The science behind weight loss, a Conversation series in which we separate the myths about dieting from the realities of exercise and nutrition. Here, Caroline Homer, Professor of…
One in three Australian women will give birth by caesarean but many don’t need to. One in three Australian women will give birth by caesarean but many don’t need to. Mike Hanlon

Is caesarean now the ‘normal’ way to give birth, and should we be worried?

There’s no doubt that caesarean sections are an essential procedure that can save the lives of women and babies. But around one in three Australian women will give birth by caesarean section – and that’s…
Donated breast milk is ideal for preterm infants but doesn’t deliver the same benefits for older, healthier babies. Donated breast milk is ideal for preterm infants but doesn’t deliver the same benefits for older, healthier babies. WA Health

Banking on breast milk best for sick infants

It is now widely accepted that mothers’ milk is best for babies. Breastfed infants have fewer infections and are likely to have a higher intelligence than those fed artificial formula. But a difficulty…

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