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Breast Milk Is An Incredible Low-Tech Solution For Infant Malnutrition

In his latest New York Times column, Nicholas Kristof discusses the health benefits of breast milk for preventing childhood malnutrition. “When we think of global poverty, we sometimes assume that the challenges are so vast that any solutions must be extraordinarily complex and expensive. Well, some are. But almost nothing would do as much to fight starvation around the world as the ultimate low-tech solution: exclusive breast-feeding for the first six months of life. … The paradox is that while this seems so cheap and obvious – virtually instinctive – it’s also rare,” Kristof writes.

He concludes: “It’s not clear why a human instinct to nurse went awry. Does it have something to do with the sexualization of breasts? Or with infant formula manufacturers, who irresponsibly peddled their products in the past but are more restrained now? Or is it just that moms worry that their babies need water on hot days? Nobody really knows. But what is clear is that there’s a marvelous low-tech solution to infant malnutrition all around us” (6/22).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.