To the editor: Courtney Jung portrays pumping breast milk in an unfavorable light, as something to be ashamed about rather than to be celebrated. (“Is pumping as good as breast-feeding?,” Opinion, Nov. 29)
When I returned to my job as a full-time physician eight weeks after delivery, I was happy to be able to pump to develop my milk supply. Rather than feeling embarrassed for being “holed up half-naked” at my desk, I was proud to be able to provide my daughter the nutrition she needed while doing the job I love.
How does Jung suggest that I “maintain [my] hard-won dignity and professionalism” if I need to quit my job so that I can breast-feed instead of pump?
Julie Schallhorn, MD, Los Angeles
To the editor: In most circumstances, breast-feeding is probably preferable for mothers and infants compared to pumping and bottle-feeding stored milk. However, the suggestion that refrigerated breast milk “is degraded into unbound fatty acids that can cause cell death in babies’ intestines” implies a real-world danger to infants that has not been documented in any clinical study.
It is clearly a priority to better enable working mothers to breast-feed, and more generous parental leave policies should be pursued. But propagation of dubious associations between stored breast milk and intestinal injury may prompt parents to wrongly switch to formula, depriving their babies of the benefits of breast milk and breast-feeding.
Gerald Gollin, MD, Solana Beach, Calif.