13th Oct 2007
Bringing Up Baby - Channel 4
For 50 years La Leche League has been supporting breastfeeding mothers around the world, giving women the accurate information they need to make informed choices on caring for their babies. La Leche League GB are concerned that the parents in the "Bringing Up Baby" programme on Channel 4 are being misinformed.
To say that there is no difference between breast and formula milk is patently untrue. It goes against all the available evidence, the experience of millions of mothers, and contradicts the guidance on infant feeding given by both the World Health Organisation and the Department of Health. Misleading parents in this way could have serious health implications for mothers and children.
Young babies have a biological need for frequent feedings and tactile stimulation. Imposing a four-hourly feeding schedule on young babies, and leaving them alone for long stretches of time, is contrary to both recent research and most parents' natural instinct, which is to hold their babies close to feed, love and comfort.
A baby's crying is not manipulation but a way of alerting parents to respond to his/her needs. Leaving a baby to cry can increase the risk of a brain bleed. It can also increase the levels of stress hormones, which can, in turn, affect stress patterns for life.
La Leche League believes babies and mothers need each other and become distressed if they are separated, as on this programme. To use babies in this way as part of an experiment, and for entertainment purposes, is, we believe, completely unacceptable.
Anna Burbidge, Chair of Council of Directors,
On behalf of La Leche League of GB