La Leche League International reports that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is going ahead with a national campaign on the risks of not breastfeeding. The campaign uses public service ads to point out that breastfeeding can prevent diarrhea, ear infections and respiratory illnesses in infants and might have an effect on childhood obesity. It had been delayed by infant formula industry representatives and others who claimed a more “positive” approach would be better.

Women’s groups and breastfeeding supporters around the country launched their own campaign in favor of the ads. The department apparently received more than 1,000 letters and e-mails calling for the ads to run as planned, a show of support La Leche believes had “a significant influence on the decisions made.”

The battle over the ads also created a brouhaha in the American Academy of Pediatrics, when President, Dr. Carden Johnston, wrote a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson about the campaign’s “negative approach,” in which he implied that the facts in the ads could not stand up to scientific scrutiny.

But Dr. Lawrence Gartner, chair of the executive committee of the academy’s section on breastfeeding, followed up with his own letter, publicly disagreeing with Johnston. In a copy of the letter republished on Mothering Magazine’s Web site, Gartner stated that research showed that a risk-based approach was the most effective tack and that “every word and claim made” in the public service ads “has been reviewed by multiple scientists and validated by published research from respected medical journals.”

The ads are due to appear this Spring with what are being called “minimal” modifications.

Gloria Jacobs, a freelancer journalist, is on the board of directors of Women’s eNews.

For more information:

Women’s eNews–“Teeth Cut from Breastfeeding Campaign”:https://womensenewsp.wpengine.com/article.cfm/dyn/aid/1651/

Mothering Magazine–
Letter from Lawrence Gartner, MD, Chair of the Section on Breastfeeding Executive Committee to his colleagues in the AAP:

To demonstrate support for the ads or express your reaction to the Campaign, contact theOffice on Women’s Health:


At least 37 female members of the military who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have reported that they were sexually assaulted by fellow American soldiers. And they’re not getting much help from their superiors. While there may be many more who are still overseas and cannot seek treatment, at least 37 service women have gone to rape-crisis centers in search of counseling since returning to the U.S., reports The Denver Post this week.

The women, enlisted personnel and officers, reported poor medical treatment from the military, lack of counseling and incomplete criminal investigations by military officials. The Post reported that some said they were threatened with punishment after they reported the assaults.

“We have concerns that victims are not getting forensic exams. Evidence is not being collected in some cases, and they are not getting medical care and other services,” said Christine Hansen, executive director of The Miles Foundation in Connecticut, which provides services to victims of violence associated with the military.

Gloria Jacobs, a freelancer journalist, is on the board of directors of Women’s eNews.

The Miles Foundation: