Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Spot the Inconsistency - More on Breastfeeding

Today's Tennessean (Nashville), alongside the article "Campaign targets bottle feeding," features an inaccurate headline that unintentionally spreads misinformation. The second box, which purported to list "benefits of not breastfeeding," actually lists drawbacks of not breastfeeding, or benefits of not formula-feeding, such as:

"3) Babies might have diarrhea, constipation or harder stools more often than breastfed babies.
4) Babies might need more doctor visits and are more likely to be hospitalized than breastfed babies"

I sent the paper an email - there is enough debate and confusion on this issue already without our major local paper adding to it with sloppy editing. Even without a passing familiarity with breastfeeding, a quick read over the box sets up some clear contradictions between the box's headline and content.

Related stories in today's Tennessean are Breast vs. Bottle Can Be Difficult Decision and Nursing Options. Good for them for trying to provide women with some info - let's just hope they get it right next time... and quickly correcting their error (see update below). This is a good reminder, though, not to take everything you read for truth, unexamined.

Update: Their online content person responded to me, letting me know that the headline was correct in print, and the online caption has now been corrected to "Four Risks of not Breastfeeding." Yippee!

Update#2: Apparently the Tennessean was a little uptight about my use of their errant graphic in this post, because I received a second email asking that it be taken down. Hey, I'm uptight about bad editing and the spread of misinformation. In any case, I took the offending image down, which I believe complies with their Terms of Service but not at all with larger principles of fair use.

Update#3: Aunt B responds, in classic Aunt B style (i.e., smart, funny, and right)

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MeSH Tags: Breast Feeding; Infant Formula

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