Fraser Health apologizes for controversial breastfeeding form
Published Thursday, August 28, 2014 11:46AM EDT
A British Columbia health authority has removed a controversial breastfeeding handout that condemned formula feeding from circulation.
Fraser Health apologized on Wednesday for their “feeding plan” which contained a number of warnings regarding formula feeding -- including claims that babies who aren't breastfed are at a greater risk of developing certain childhood cancers and diabetes and suffer from sudden infant death syndrome.
The form also noted that non-breastfed children may score lower on IQ tests.
The document stated that mothers who mainly formula feed are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, breast cancer before menopause and ovarian cancer.
Mothers who delivered babies at Fraser Health hospitals were asked to sign the form acknowledging they're aware of the risks.
Fraser Health's maternity director Tamara Van Tent said Wednesday the form has been pulled from circulation and will undergo a revision.
"We're sincerely sorry for the offence it has caused," she told CTV Vancouver. "It was not our intention."
She said the form has been distributed since 2007 and revised versions have been developed since then.
"I think we've determined that some of the language could be softened a bit," she added.
Public health nurse Sidney Harper wrote in a blog post published on the Fraser Health website on Tuesday that infant feeding is "an emotionally charged topic."
"What I find most interesting is that our culture seems to be comfortable hearing about the benefits of breastfeeding but seems uncomfortable talking about the risks of artificial baby milks or formula," she wrote. "Research has shown that there are higher chances of colds, flu, ear infections, diarrhea and vomiting among other illnesses with formula use."
She added that nurses in Fraser Health support healthy decision-making and "know that breastfeeding can improve short- and long-term health outcomes."
Meanwhile, Laura Funk, who is expecting her second child in the coming days, told CTV Vancouver that new moms face pressure when it comes to how to feed their children.
“There’s definitely some pressure within the hospital and within society in general to nurse your child,” she said, adding that there are a number of moms who are unable to breastfeed for a variety of reasons.
A new Fraser Health feeding document will be developed in the coming weeks.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Maria Weisgarber