Just a note: What i say about breast-feeding in this blog is not meant to imply that my thoughts are completely one-sided. I am absolutely, totally aware that there are circumstances where it is not the best thing for the mother/baby, and is, at times, impossible.
I went to a small conference on campus the other day called "Mama PhD," where a woman in her mid-40's spoke with us about her own personal story of being in school until she reached her thirties & her struggle to find herself in happiness afterwards. She talked a lot about how it is possible for a woman to juggle being a mother, & being a professor simultaneously, however, she noted that it was extremely difficult getting there, & along the way, she worried that her biological clock would run out by time she met the right man & was ready to have a baby after her many years of schooling had passed. Luckily for her, she met her now husband of four years & has a healthy little girl. She said she's crossing her fingers that her daughter does not take the same difficult path she did.
Prior to this meeting, i thought i had a few things figured out when it came to my academic life. Granted, I'm still not quite sure what path i am taking, but i was set on becoming a professor of some sort. I do realize that it is not necessarily going to take me twelve years to get there, but even so, it's going to be a lot of work a long the way...more work than i even want to put myself through before i am established in a family. I am in no way trying to plan out that aspect of my life, I want to take it as it comes, & it isn't that i lack motivation. I merely want to fulfill my life long desire of someday becoming a mother, first & foremost...& not a mother of 40 who is worrying that my child will come out with some sort of disease. So, I have ultimately decided that a four year study will, for now, suffice for my life and future.
On the subject of Momma's...it seems that the subject of breast-feeding has been popping up everywhere lately. I often hear stories of women being shunned for breast-feeding in public. My mom told me yesterday as we talked about this subject, that people looked at her as if they were disgusted that she would be nourishing her infant in public. Really? It's disgusting? Are these same people disgusted when they see kittens nursing on their mother? Has it ever occurred to them that none of us would be here without breast-feeding-There was no such things as Enfamil & Similac when our ancestors were growing and prospering. I am so thankful to have a young mother who chose to breast-feed my sister & i, & was not at all ashamed to do it in public, as every woman should, and is of her own free-will to do so.
The idea of breasts as a sexual object has skewed all thoughts of breast-feeding being the reason we, as women, have breasts on our bodies. My anthropology teacher, a man of about thirty, is passionate about encouraging women to breast-feed. It's inspiring to see a young father like himself talk to a group of seventy or so young students in such a way. The woman who spoke at the conference also mentioned the subject, and referred to non breast-feeding women as the "non le leche people." As i read on a website, infant formulas often include such ingredients as "
"Use my picture if it will help" said this mother. The children are twins, the bottle-fed child is a girl who died the day after this photograph was taken by UNICEF in Islamabad, Pakistan. Her brother was breastfed and thrived. The mother was incorrectly told she could not breastfeed both children. This horrific picture demonstrates the risk of artificial infant feeding, particularly where water supplies are unsafe. The expense of formula can lead to parents over-diluting it to make it last longer or using unsuitable milk powders or animal milks. In all countries breastfeeding provides immunity against infections. Despite these risks the baby food industry aggressively markets breastmilk substitutes encouraging mothers and health workers to favour artifical infant feeding over breastfeeding. Such tactics break marketing standards adopted by the World Health Assembly. Nestlé, the world's largest food company, is found to be responsible for more violations than any other company and is the target of an international boycott.
SCN News May 1991
This picture tells two stories: most obviously, about the often fatal consequences of bottle-feeding; more profoundly, about the age-old bias in favour of the male. The child with the bottle is a girl - she died the next day. Her twin brother was breasfed. This woman was told by her mother-in-law that she didn't have enough milk for both her children, and so she should breastfeed the boy. But almost certainly she could have fed both her children herself, because the process of suckling induces the production of milk. However, even if she found that she could not produce sufficient milk - unlikly as that would be - a much better alternative to bottle-feeding would have been to find a wet-nurse. Ironically, this role has sometimes been taken by the grandmother. In most cultures, before the advent of bottle-feeding, wet-nursing was commomn practice.
The photograph on the cover is horrifying. Another baby girl dies unnecessarily. The department of child development, Government of India, with assistance from UNICEF, has produced a compelling account of the plight of the 'Lesser child'.
"In a culture that idolizes sons and dreads the birth of a daughter, to be born female comes perilously close of being born less than human. Today the rejection of the unwanted girl can begin even before her birth: prenatal sex determination tests followed by quick abortions eliminate thousands of female foetuses before they can become daughters. Those girls who manage to survive till birth and beyond find that the dice is heavily loaded against them in a world that denies them equal access to food, health, care, education, emmployment and simple human dignity.
"Born into indifference and reared on neglect, the girl child is caught in a web of cultural practices and prejudices that divest her of her individuality and mould her into a submissive self-sacrificing daughter and wife. Her labour ensures the survival and well-being of her family but robs her not only of her childhood but also of her right to be free of hunger, ignorance, disease and poverty.
A baby dies every 30 seconds from unsafe bottle feeding.
One and a half million babies die every year in poor countries because they are not breastfed.
It's a sad reality.