I finally got a response from Dr. Rick. Let's just say I am as unimpressed with his reply as I was with his original negative reaction to breastfeeding. I have so much to say about his letter that I am honestly left speechless.....for now but possibly not forever :)
Dear Dr. Rick,
I have listened to the show for years and there have been times I've disagreed with a statement or two on different topics. But the show this week on pediatrics left me very disappointed. When the caller from Starkville discussed breast feeding I felt like she received quite the brush off from you and Dr. Allyn. Not necessarily her personally but the importance of breast feeding in general. Considering the alarming state of health in Mississippi, especially concerning obesity and diabetes, I would think this would rate higher on your scale of importance. I know how hard you've worked and are currently working to help pull Mississippians up out of the bottom of the barrel in obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure rankings and I would have thought you would have been better informed on the benefits breast feeding has on the long term health of a child who receives it. The statements you and Dr. Allyn made regarding breast feeding made it sound like a lifestyle choice for moms. And while I agree that many many women have difficulty breast feeding for very long and some at all- I think it's inaccurate to say that there are a lot of women who can't breast feed. Our bodies were made by divine creation to feed our children.
It's statements such as yours and the careless attitude of so many health professionals that gives women the idea that they probably won't be able to breast feed successfully-starting out with this type of atmosphere, how can anyone be expected to keep trying even when it's difficult-and it is especially at first. Sure, there are medical explanations for why some women can't breast feed but these cases are few and far between in comparison to the number of women who don't succeed due to lack of support and education. Also, one of the worst things a new mother can do for her breast feeding relationship is try and 'train' her baby to sleep thru the night before a strong supply has been established. Books like the '12 hour sleep in 12 weeks' are the cause of many a failed breast feeding relationship. If you stop removing the milk, your smart body stops making it. Please be careful of recommending such books without this information included.
I have included a few links to articles detailing the benefits of breast feeding for obesity and diabetes since I know fighting these is a passion of yours. The benefits of breast feeding go far beyond these two topics but I'm hoping that referencing two of your interests will have you interested enough to do a little more research and possibly have a show devoted entirely to breast feeding. Most Mississippi women are sadly uneducated on the topic and views such as your statements seemed to portray it-as a life style choice for the mother. Breast milk is the best gift a mother can give her newborn and with proper education and support most women can succeed in providing this lifelong gift to their children. Thanks for all that you do and I hope to hear more on this topic in the future, for the sake of Mississippi's children who so badly need the best start possible.
org/NewsInfo/NewsRoom/ 201002PreventingObesityBeginsa tBirth/tabid/169/Default.asp
read/2009/12/25/6495/evidence- deepens-that-breastfeeding- helps-moms-avoid-metabolic- syndrome-and-type-2-/
A listener in Mississippi