I attended an excellent meeting on breastfeeding a couple years back. When I walked up to the check-in desk, the woman there said "you're the doctor". I was in jeans and a leather jacket, I said "yes, I'm a doctor". I got my literature and went in. I walked into a room filled with 200 people. They were all women, I was the only male and I was also the only doctor! The women there were all certified lactation consultants or they were breastfeeding educators in the process of becoming certified consultants.

Katherine Auerbach was one of the speakers there. She is an international breastfeeding advocate. She has just co-written the most comprehensive book on breastfeeding that I have ever read. I bought one of the first fifty copies and had it signed by her at the meeting.

The absence of physicians at this meeting is an unfortunate example of the position of breastfeeding in modem medicine. It is the red headed stepchild of obstetrics and pediatrics. No specialty seems to claim this wonderful human function. If the woman has a yeast infection of her breast most pediatricians won't examine and treat that. If the baby isn't growing or doesn't seem to be getting enough milk, the obstetrician is not in a position to advise on the continuation of breastfeeding or not. A lactation consultant can sometimes bridge the gap between the specialties.

I have always encouraged breastfeeding. My wife breastfeed both our babies and it was a great experience for mother and child. This is not to mention all the nutritional benefits as well as the immune protection of the milk for the baby. If possible, I try to get all my patients to breastfeed, even if just for a month. It's worth it!


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