Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Treatise Against Fanatical Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding, believe it or not, is one of the hot political topics in today’s climate. Recently, Bush’s government jumped on the bandwagon with a commercial comparing not breastfeeding your child with riding an electric bull while pregnant. This add campaign, of course, spurred hysteria on both sides and lauded countless letters to the Times. Is it possible that Bush is taking up what has traditionally been a liberal cause? No! The breastfeeding campaign largely requires what the Bush cabinet hopes mothers to be – in two-parent homes, jobless, home with the kids and with a big income from daddy. It is confusing as to why feminists can’t see this wolf in sheep’s clothing.

This morning I was visiting with a neighbor with a three month old who described her and her child’s breastfeeding experience. If was much like my own. Her son had difficulty breastfeeding. She said that she spend 12 hours a day on the couch either pumping or trying to feed her child. She had a laction specialist coming to her house once a week ( costly and emotional venture). She said she even used tubes to try and keep the child on breast milk. What did this lead to? The child lost a lot of weight, was constantly constipated, and the mother was exhausted and hysterical. Is this worth it?

Does breast milk make babies healthier and more brilliant than formula-fed babies? Who knows? Research tells us such. In real life, I have know breastfed babies who have had autism, countless colds, ear infections, and so on. On the other hand, I’ve known bottle-fed babies who are fit as a fiddle. When people do studies I think they leave out crucial information. This is risky territory – but I’m willing to guess that breast-fed babies in America are GENERALLY born to upper or middle class families who are more likely to be health conscious. These families are more likely to feed the baby organic and fresh vegetables and so on. These families are also more likely to be able to afford nannies or stay-at-home moms. The absence of daycare protects children from illness as does healthier food.

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