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June 3, 1974

Breast Feeding Contraindications

Author Affiliations

Duke University Medical Center Durham, NC

JAMA. 1974;228(10):1228. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230350018012

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To the Editor.—  Those of us who devote significant effort to getting human milk into babies, where it belongs, must view Dr. Vorherr's extraordinary list (227:676, 1974) of "contraindications" to breast feeding with dismay. Most physicians would find his list excessive. Family history of breast cancer, for example, should not be a contraindication to nursing; today's knowledge of the factors that contrive to produce breast cancer is not adequate to support such a sweeping (and illogical for male babies) recommendation. There is even less justification for advising against breast feeding because of heavy smoking, mastitis, postpartum hemorrhage, poor nutrition, epilepsy, and neuroses. With regard to Dr. Voherr's list of drugs, the type, dose, and duration must be considered, as each case is judged individually.Nursing is important; it is contraindicated rarely, and only when common sense and scientific fact blended by careful reason clearly so indicate.