Saturday, March 15, 2008

Wear Your Seatbelt

wear your seatbelt

risks are everywhere... and it's not uncommon to take precautions to reduce those risks, even if those precautions only reduce part and not all of the risk...

women take birth control to reduce, though not eliminate, the risk of pregnancy.

men and women use condoms to reduce, though not eliminate, the risk of disease and pregnancy.

people lock their car doors to reduce, though not eliminate, the risk of having their car stolen.

children and adults wash their hands frequently to reduce, though not eliminate, the risk of spreading illness and disease.

parents vaccinate their children to reduce, though not eliminate, the risk of childhood and other serious diseases.

these examples are precautions that most people take rather seriously...

there's another precaution mothers can take that reduces (though does not eliminate) many risks, and continues to do so into adulthood, that many mothers ignore....

breastfeeding.

breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk of a multitude of health problems for infants, toddlers, and children, including diabetes, allergies, mental illness, respitory infections, ear infections, certain cancers (including breast and reproductive cancers), childhood obesity, dental cavities, and urinary tract infections, among many others... even death (infant mortality rate is much lower among breastfed babies including the reduced risk of SIDS) ... and as pointed out earlier, these reduced risks last well into adulthood...

breastfeeding has also been shown to reduce the risk of serious health problems for the mothers, including post-partum hemorrhaging, post-partum depression, breast and reproductive cancers, and osteoporosis, among others.

unlike the majority of other precautions we take, breastfeeding reduces multiple risks.

so it's a little funny that many mothers who choose not to breastfeed often use rationalized reasoning based on only one or two instances from their own limited experiences: "my mother was breastfed and she still got breast cancer" or "my friend breastfed her son and he had alot of ear infections"... nevermind that there's never complete information in these rationalizations (for example, that friend may have only breastfed for a few months, or the mother may have been on estrogen therapy after a hysterectomy), but that quite often these women are the same women who faithfully relied on birth control despite knowing one or more women who became pregnant while on it or still lock their car doors religiously despite knowing someone who (or themselves) has had their car broken into or stolen despite the locks.

why is so much faith put into precautions that have single purposes but so little (to none) put into one that offers so much? how does one or two instances of only one or two of the risks not prevented by breastfeeding override the rest of the extensive list of risk reductions?

though we know not every adult and child using their seatbelt or carseat will walk away from or even survive a car crash, we are still conscientious in using them each and every time we get into a car...

as parents, we want to do everything in our power to keep our children safe and healthy...

make sure you and your children wear your seatbelts.... and make your best effort to breastfeed.

by Leona Kreiner

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