Saturday, March 19, 2005

Breastfeeding and Politics

An Australian economist has released a study that assigns a multi-million dollar “value” to the breastfeeding work that mothers down under are doing. Her report will be the basis for a new policy encouraging breastfeeding because of its environmental, economic and health benefits.

Dr. Julie Smith, author of the study, was quoted as saying, "Economics is about the efficient use of resources. At the moment we're wasting resources on producing (formula) milk, and on pediatricians looking after babies made sick by not being breastfed." How’s that for enlightened? And this from an economist, for pete’s sake.

Meanwhile, Scotland now has a law whereby anyone trying to prevent a woman from breastfeeding in public can be fined.

And what’s happening in the United States?

Well a female comic had to cancel her act because the club where she was scheduled to perform would not allow her to bring her breastfeeding child (three months old) on stage with her, even though the baby was discreetly tucked away in a sling.

Relatedly, I’m reading a book about how delivery outcomes affect breastfeeding success. There is a great photo in there, which I found a copy of on-line, of the Illinois women who founded La Leche League in 1956. Look at the photo. These look like Mrs. Cleavers, not founders of an organization that was, for its time, quite subversive. Prominent, suburban housewives banding together to promote the womanly art of breastfeeding? What must their neighbors of thought?

Also, what would it take to get some prominent women from our communities today to promote something equally “radical,” like, say, home birth?

If it’s happened before, it can happen again. Who out there can take up the rally cry?


Blogger Sage Femme said...

Gather your troops!

1:38 AM  

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