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Social Media and the Exclusive Breastfeeding War

28 Jan 2019 9:04 PM | CLCA Office (Administrator)

Pamela Drynan, RN, BScN, IBCLC , Ontario

In the recent Clinical Lactation journal, Marsha Walker discusses how social media posts and campaigns have declared exclusive breastfeeding as dangerous and have caused attention deficit disorder, hypoglycemia, hyperbilirubinemia, hypernatremia, dehydration, brain damage, and even death. Although poor breastfeeding outcomes do occur, there are so many ways health care professionals can help these breastfeeding families achieve more healthy outcomes with appropriate breastfeeding management. Walker describes in the article strategies that can improve the clinicians professional practice as an opportunity to help families achieve exclusive breastfeeding safely.

One implication for practice that Walker discusses is normal infant crying vs inconsolable crying, highlighting that inconsolable crying can be a sign that milk transfer is poor and then suggests how clinicians can assess the breastfeeding dyad for adequate milk transfer and support the family to reach their breastfeeding goals. Walker lists the commonalities among mother-reported narratives on social media in this article. Those statements really resonate with common complaints lactation consultants hear from the families they support, and it also highlights that as clinicians, we have a role in debunking the inaccurate representation of exclusive breastfeeding from social media by providing early and comprehensive clinical lactation support. Walker provides research-based information on a variety of topics such as understanding and knowing the signs of milk production and removal, insufficient milk vs delayed lactogenesis II, supplement volumes, hypoglycemia, discharge plans for families to ensure adequate breastfeeding support, and implications for our practice as lactation consultants. This article includes practical resources that Marsha Walker developed on the following topics: “Guidelines for Breastfeeding Your Newborn”, “My Hospital Discharge Checklist”, “Breastfeeding Problems Can Happen”. She also connects her article to the other featured article regarding neonatal weight loss by Watson Genna & Notarangelo (2018) that is in the current Clinical Lactation journal.

To read the featured article visit the Members  Portal here and log on to the Clinical Lactation journal to add to your knowledge and skill library today!

Walker, Marsha, Clinical Lactation, 2018, 9(4),

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