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A Pharmacist’s Perspective Features
Sarah Witzel, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Photo: Jen Barber & Daisy


Sarah shares a pharmacist’s perspective…

If you look on the shelves of your local pharmacy, you will see that manufacturers’ claims that we need their products to keep our children healthy don’t stop at infant formula.

There are many powders and beverages marketed at toddlers who are sick, “slow” growers, or simply picky eaters. They provide vitamins, electrolytes, calcium, and hydration.

But guess what else contains all those things and more? Breast milk! A product that is definitely under marketed to parents of toddlers.

As a pharmacist, I see many physicians recommending and prescribing products. Many health care professionals believe that toddlers nurse “only for comfort” (as if that in itself isn’t sufficient reason) and breast milk continues to provide valuable nutrition beyond infancy.

On the days that my 14-month-old seems to eat only a few bites of fruit and a scrap of paper that she found on the carpet, I know that my milk will keep her nourished with a variety of micro and macronutrients.

When she is sick or teething and doesn’t want water or solid food, I know that my milk will keep her hydrated and her stomach full. That’s my perspective as her mother, too.

Rather than normalizing early weaning and then recommending artificial milks, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists could be educating parents and sharing valuable information on the benefits of continued nursing.

Maybe then our children would be less likely to need liquids made from sunflower oil and modified corn starch, and could continue to have their needs met at the breast.


Palmer, G. The Politics of Breastfeeding

Baby Milk Marketing. Who Needs WHO?


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