Is Breast Best? Taking on the Breastfeeding Experts and the New High Stakes of Motherhood

Is Breast Best? Taking on the Breastfeeding Experts and the New High Stakes of Motherhood

Is Breast Best? Taking on the Breastfeeding Experts and the New High Stakes of Motherhood

Is Breast Best? Taking on the Breastfeeding Experts and the New High Stakes of Motherhood

Excerpt

In Chicago, a counselor at a federal women, infants, and children (WIC) clinic laments the tragedy of teenaged mothers choosing to go to school instead of breastfeeding their babies. The director of the neonatal intensive care unit at DC General Hospital tells mothers of infants with runny noses that the babies would not be sick if they breastfed. And an anthropology professor argues that infant formula producers, “just like tobacco companies, produce a product that is harmful to people’s short and long-term health.” Meanwhile, in Congress, Representative Carol Maloney has introduced legislation to amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include various protections for breastfeeding, and Senator Tom Harkin has proposed that warning labels, similar to the Surgeon General’s warning on cigarette packages, be affixed to formula containers. How did we arrive at a place in the United States where formula, which nourishes millions of healthy babies every year, can be likened to nicotine? Where breastfeeding her baby can be considered more important to a teenaged mother than getting an education? Where, without evidence, a doctor feels professionally and morally justified telling bottle-feeding mothers that not breastfeeding essentially causes babies’ illnesses or that breastfed babies do not get sick? These are the questions that drive this book.

Hyperbole is commonplace in the world of breastfeeding advocacy, and it is staked on an overwhelming consensus that breastfeeding is the optimal form of nutrition for virtually all babies everywhere. According to the most recent policy statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the “diverse and compelling advantages for infants, mothers, families, and society from breastfeeding and use of human milk for infant feeding include health, nutritional, immunologic, developmental, psychologic, social, economic, and environmental benefits.” Infant-feeding studies frequently begin with a reference to breastfeeding’s well-known advantages, and in 2009, a director at the U.S. Department of Health and Human . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.