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Wednesday, July 19, 2006Jax over at Making it Up sends in this news piece from the BBC:
Breastfeeding 'Kills Baby's Pain'
The article gives a bit of a summary of some research in the Cochrane Library that looks into the potential calming and painkilling effects of nursing a newborn infant during routine hospital testing procedures like heel pricks. The study did not look at the painkilling or comforting effects when babies were undergoing repeat procedures like those having long-term stays in the NICU might experience.
From the article:
A review of research found that breastfeeding newborns helps relieve the pain from a needle prick used to screen their blood for disease.
Breastfed babies appeared to experience less pain than those who were swaddled, given a pacifier, or a placebo. Comfort from a mother's presence may be key.
The researchers say that the key to the effect of breastfeeding may be that an infant simply draws comfort from the close proximity of its mother.
Alternatively, breastfeeding may help to divert attention away from the pain of a needle prick.
They also suggest that the sweetness of breast milk may be a factor.
Another theory is that breast milk contains a high concentration of a chemical which could ultimately trigger the production of natural painkillers called endorphins.
As great a news as that is, it's important to note two things...
1.) Babies given a supplement of sugar water experienced "similar" levels of comfort
2.) The study did not seem to compare the effects of breastfeeding with the effects of kangaroo care or with holding a baby closely while giving a bottle of expressed milk or even formula.
Thus...as much as it sounds great to say that nursing brings comfort and as much as any mom that has ever nursed will say "Duh!" There's also the reality that the benefits may be just, or almost as strong if a mother is simply holding and comforting her child during the procedure.
Which makes me wonder...is this a new reporting trend? Grab on to what appears to be somewhat flimsy research and use it as a reason to promote breastfeeding? Seriously folks...there are enough REAL and proven reasons to promote breastfeeding...to me, it seems like these articles, if read by someone with a critical eye actually DAMAGE the movement by making it sound like we're making giant leaps and bounds in our assumptions about the "power" of nursing.
What do you think? Do stories like this one help the Lactivist movement or hinder it?
Labels: Stats and Studies