While we don't appreciate all the infant health advertisements that have come out of the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in recent months (their safe sleep campaign needs some real research-based help), this ad is more along the right track. It was developed by the City of Milwaukee Health Department (individual credits below) and printed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by the Partners for Humanity.
The City of Milwaukee Health Department's Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Division has the following goals:
- To reduce racial and ethnic disparities in infant mortality.
- To improve school-readiness of pre-school children.
- To reduce teen pregnancy and improve access to reproductive health services.
This breastfeeding ad supports at least the first two goals, and gives parents another reason to consider providing human milk for their human baby.
However, in reality, while may not make for positively-spun, feel-good advertising, it is not that breastfed babies are stronger - they are merely baseline in terms of natural human strength and body/brain development. Those who do not receive human milk, unfortunately, tend to be below baseline in terms of bone mass, muscle mass, core strength, and body/brain development and functioning. Breastfed babies are not stronger than the human norm; Artificially fed babies are weaker. There are always individual exceptions to this (or any) norm, but when we are speaking from a quantitative, sociological standpoint, across the board, human infants who receive human milk develop as they are meant to develop as human beings -- they exhibit the expected outcome level for our species of carry mammals -- and those who do not receive human milk are at a disadvantage.
In any given area, Milwaukee included, if artificial feeding is more common (more typically seen) than normal feeding, this does not negate or change the baseline level of human health/development when human beings have access to those basic things they were meant to receive. It merely means more people fall below this line. Even in the midst of fun advertising, we need to remember to watch our language... Breast isn't best: It's baseline.
Mike Holicek/Kelly Hardwick
(books, websites, articles for nursing mothers)