Melissa Bartick, MD is an an assistant professor in medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School as well as a mother. She also chairs the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition.
Melissa Bartick, MD is an internal medicine physician in Massachusetts, as well as a mother. She also chairs the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition.
Blog Post List
April 18, 2012
Whoopi Goldberg and friends on The View just threw a Molotov cocktail of ignorance into the middle of the Mommy Wars. This time it’s about whether hospitals have the right to market formula to new moms with free samples. The women of The View give a unanimous, “Yes.” But the proposed ban on marketing is not about women being bullied into breastfeeding. It’s about standing up for our freedom to make our own feeding choices, freedom from commercial influences in the one place where they certainly don’t belong—the hospital. Let’s be clear. Formula companies distribute free samples in hospitals...
August 3, 2011
On August 1, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it would adopt the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations to close critical gaps in women’s preventative health care. Just last week, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) gave recommendations to close critical gaps in women’s preventative health, based on strict criteria of need and evidence of efficacy. As mandated by the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Health Care Reform), specific preventative services for “new private health plans” should be covered without the need for co-pays or any out-of-pocket expenses by the...
April 5, 2011
The controversy over the Berjuan nursing doll underscores that Americans still have a long way to go to accept breastfeeding as normal. If little Maggie wants to play with her baby doll, she will want to feed it somehow, won't she? Traditionally, baby dolls come with little toy baby bottles. But what makes feeding your baby doll with a toy bottle OK, and breastfeeding your doll not OK? The toy bottles do not send a neutral message, after all. They send the wrong message -- that bottle feeding is normal and desired, at a time public health advocates and major medical organizations and our own...
March 23, 2011
The budget debates currently paralyzing Washington include proposals that significantly cut funding for public health initiatives, all while our nation fights an exploding epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and chronic preventable illness that cost our nation billions of dollars a year in medical costs and lost productivity. The Surgeon General recently identified breastfeeding as one our most efficient health promotion strategies. Private industries have repeatedly found that supporting their breastfeeding employees has provided a significant return on investment-- $3 returned for every $1 spent...
February 21, 2011
There's not a lot of love between right and left these days, but one thing politicians of every stripe agree about is breastfeeding, at least when it comes to their own families. Michelle Obama says she breastfed her daughters, bringing her younger one to work at eight months so she could keep nursing. Representative Michele Bachmann breastfed five kids, and Sarah Palin nursed all of her children as well. They all recognized how important breastfeeding is, and they all had the resources and determination to stick with it. Strong as Obama, Palin and Bachmann are, these powerful and well-...
April 14, 2010
Since this month's publication of my paper " The Burden of Suboptimal Breastfeeding in the United States " in Pediatrics with Arnold Reinhold, I'm often asked by reporters what the US can do better to improve our breastfeeding rates. I've also gotten quite a few comments asking if this research just makes moms feel guilty if they couldn't breastfeed. The answers to both these queries are intimately related, and are best illustrated by the following Tale of Two Births. As you will see, if you compare what should happen when a woman gives birth, versus what actually happens, you can appreciate...
March 1, 2010
Women now comprise about half the US workforce, according to a major story in the December 30 issue of the Economist . In other words, half our workforce bears all our children. Anyone who wants a child of one's own must recognize that somewhere, a woman will bear that child and will likely nurse him. However, lack of paid maternity leave places half our workforce at risk for economic insecurity or even frank poverty, just because they happen to have two X-chromosomes. So, attention all employers, coworkers, and legislators: If you want to have a sustainable workforce, at some point, you will...
May 27, 2009
by Melissa Bartick, MD, MSc AND Marsha Walker, RN Lack of policy and infrastructure to support breastfeeding in the U.S. means that breastfeeding is made unnecessarily difficult. Breastfeeding is an important public health issue, both for women and children. Arguably, breastfeeding is also a reproductive right. Growing evidence shows that longer durations of breastfeeding are linked with lower risk of obesity in childhood and adolescence [1-4], a national epidemic with major health and cost implications. It therefore makes sense to incorporate the creation of an infrastructure around...