Ad Campaign Promotes Breastfeeding As Only Healthy Option For Babies

Doctors have always said breastfeeding is a personal choice for new mother.  However, a new campaign from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services say it's not an just one option... breastfeeding is the only healthy option.   Some East Texans who say that comparison is not fair.

Signs like this are everywhere encouraging woman to breast-feed. However, some women new television ads, like this are not sending the right message.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is not only comparing this type of behavior to not breast-feeding.   Suzanne Haynes is reported in the New York Times as saying with the Department of Health and Human Services says, "Just like it's risky to smoke during pregnancy, it's risky not to breast-feed after."

But, Elizabeth Collins a lactation consultant at Mother Frances Hospital says the comparison just doesn't make sense.

"It is not an apple to apple comparison and you cannot compare smoking during pregnancy to not breastfeeding after pregnancy those are two totally separate.  They have shifted their focus, instead of telling everyone about the benefits of breastfeeding now they have shifted to telling you the risks of not breastfeeding," says Collins.

Tonya Hamlin of Tyler has a 4 1/2 month old and says she made the choice to breastfeed.

"I have not seen those commercials but I don't' have a lot of time to watch television but I would be offended by that," says Hamlin.

She says breast milk has plenty of benefits for baby Chloe.

"Living in East Texas you are prone to having allergies and for us it is helping and at least differing for as long as possible.  She gets the natural immunities from mom to baby," says Hamlin.

Those benefits, are why public health experts are running these television commercials. Hoping to encourage half of all mothers by the year 2010 to breast-feed until their baby is 6 months old.

And the attempt to make mothers breastfeed may get even more bold.. An Iowa senator is proposing to add warning labels on infant formulas, similar to those we already have on cigarettes.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.