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Promotion of breast feeding goes too far

Once again the official promotion of breast feeding as the only choice is being touted by my friend Fran Phillips at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene ("Maryland seeks to improve support for mothers to breast-feed," Feb. 11).

No one disputes some of the advantages of breast feeding, but many claims for benefits in health care cost savings are way off. No one has looked at the cost of the number of extra visits to my office to reassure distraught parents with children who are doing poorly with the nursing process. No one adds the cost of post-partum depression on the rise due to the pressure on mothers to succeed in nursing promoted by some of the fanatics involved in lactation promotion.

Nursing is simply a good method of feeding your newborn, but it is not the only safe or best way for all. The word is choice, and it is a big mistake to force one method for everyone. When some children fail to thrive on breast milk, there is, and should always be, an alternative feeding method, and it does not include the guilt be placed on these equally caring parents. Formula, despite the claims of some, is not poison and is in fact life-saving at times.

Dr. Kenneth Hoffman, Annapolis

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