Letters to the Editor
Indian Pediatrics 2004; 41:295-296
We appreciate the sentiments expressed by Dr. Srivastava in
response to our article(1). We appreciate that there could be
circum-stances when a mother may not be able to provide breast milk to
her infant. However, the only point we wish to reiterate is that the
Pediatrician, when counseling such mothers not wanting to breast feed
their infant, should ascertain that there are compelling reasons for
doing so which are justified and not compromise the infantís interest.
We are not contesting the fact that pediatricianís need to be informed
regarding breast milk substitutes, but the source of such information
should not be that solely provided by the manufacturers of infant milk
substitutes. It is here that scientific bodies such as pediatric
associations can provide evidence-based information to the medical
The issue of the role of breast milk in reducing infectious disease in infancy especially in the poor and under-privileged communities is undisputed. In the absence of evidence one cannot conclude that the same benefit may not be seen in the affluent populations of developing countries. However, we are also concerned by the fact that often poor families are influenced by the practices of the affluent, with often disastrous outcomes for their infants. The other issue that is emerging as a concern is the role of infant milk substitutes in some adult diseases.
The article should be read in its spirit and not in its words only. The aim is to educate masses and not an exceptional individual. We hope that this communication will help in removing doubts regarding infant feeding practices from the minds of our pediatrician colleagues.