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Proper nutrition for babies

Re “A formula to put babies at risk,” Opinion, Sept. 30

The subject of breast-versus-formula feeding is not new, but Wendy Orent provides a great service with the disclosure of recent observations regarding negative health effects of formula feeding on babies. The other major point made is the health, social and economic damages as a result of the influence of special interests on regulatory agencies and legislatures.

Two other points are appropriate. With the same disregard, our government allows exportation of formula and other products that are illegal or not recommended in this country to Third World nations, where health controls are poor and the water necessary for the mix may be deadly itself. The second important point is the bonding that takes place between mother and child in nursing. Past articles plus psychology and early childhood development texts are replete with examples.

Jaime Monroy

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Monrovia

Orent presents only one side of the debate. Conspicuously lacking is the point that not all women can or should breast-feed, and those women should not be made to feel guilty.

For example, I have an autoimmune disease and am required to take immuno-suppressive drugs so I can function in my daily life. Any milk that I would produce would contain traces of these medications, which I doubt would be beneficial to a baby’s development. The breast-versus-bottle debate is not either/or, nor should it be. I support information but oppose the guilt aspect. Not every woman can or should breast-feed, but that does not mean that bottle-feeding mothers are better or worse than breast-feeders.

Adrianne Cook

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Maplewood, N.J.


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