LETTER TO THE EDITOR
RESPONSE TO DR. BUCKNAM'S ARTICLE
In Dr. Bucknam's article on his book `Babywise,' he states that he read my commentary "with amazement and curiosity." He should not be surprised at all since he is well aware of previous articles that have pointed out the same concerns - Child Abuse Prevention Council of Orange County (5/14/96), report from a hospital in North Carolina (1996), World Magazine (5/26/96), Boulder Weekly (3/20/97), Bradenton Herald (4/26/97), a statement from Focus on the Family (11/97), a public letter from the Santa Clara Valley Breastfeeding Task Force (1/23/98), Christianity Today (2/98), Wall Street Journal (2/98), Our Sunday Visitor (4/5/98), plus many more. In fact Dr. Bucknam was quoted in the same article where pediatricians and lactation consultatants described the many medical problems associated with the book (Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel,(6/2/97).) This does incite amazement and curiousity.
`Babywise' may be popular, but is it successful? What is Dr. Bucknam's definition of success? The statistics given in his article on "healthy sleep," "successful breastfeeding," and "weight gain"have not been proven nor published. What has been published in several articles is the link between the use of `Babywise' methods and dehydration, poor weight gain, and failure to thrive. Dr. Bucknam and Growing Families International have still failed to investigate this.
Dr. Bucknam states he has a peer review committee of 30 physicians and lactation consultants. When asked to reveal the names of these members the response has been, "These people are too important to be bothered with the trivia served up by the critics." It is highly irregular to hide one's supporting board. If such a committee exists, then why have they failed to investigate these claims?
Dr. Bucknam suggested that my article contained duplicity and exaggeration and would like to know what criteria I used to substantiate my claims about `Babywise.' The following prompted my investigation and my desire to alert others of the potential dangers and to join the numerous pediatricians that are concerned, calling upon the AAP to investigate:
- After reading the book, I excerpted 35 erroneous medical statements.
- A feeding schedule which goes against common medical knowledge and research results as well as against AAP guidelines.
- Reports and calls from physicians to a child abuse committee questioning the program.
- A hospital committee investigation and findings.
- My own review of over 100 reports from lactation consultants and mothers. Specific cases are easily found. Dr. Bucknam need look no further than Lactnet, the listserve for lactation professionals, and follow up personally on some of the cases reported there, as I did, as well as review the many previously published articles. In addition, mothers who are desperately trying to adhere to the feeding schedule, post on the GFI forum problems with their infants needing immediate medical attention.
Matthew Aney, MD