A 22-year-old mother from Madrid has had her daughter removed from her care because she was breast feeding her at the age of 15 months. The mother, known as Habiba (an assumed name to protect her identity), moved to a young mother’s home four months ago. It was the home’s policy not to allow babies to be breast fed and they asked her to stop. When she refused, the Instituto Madrileño del Menor y la Familia (Madrilean Institute for the Minor and the Family - IMMF) seized the baby.
All shelters in Spain prohibit breast feeding because they consider it "damaging" to the child and medications are routinely given to dry up the milk supply; it is thought to make it easier in case the child is adopted out.
The policies of these centers violate a number of UN resolutions including the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and the 12 subsequent WHA resolutions, the Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding, UNICEF’s Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative and the Innocenti Declaration on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding.
The World Health Organization said that all children should be breast fed to two years of age or beyond to ensure their health: "Review of evidence has shown that, on a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding infants. Thereafter infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond."
Breast milk protects against infectious diseases, chronic illness, allergies and even cancer. For instance, one study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that breast feeding reduced gastrointestinal illness and eczema: "Our experimental intervention increased the duration and degree (exclusivity) of breastfeeding and decreased the risk of gastrointestinal tract infection and atopic eczema in the first year of life."
Another study found that cancer cells were killed when they had breast milk dropped on them and one written by Albert Sabin, inventor of the oral polio vaccine, found that human breast milk cured polio in 84 percent of infected mice.