"Mary lost in the garden of thought"
The decision to breastfeed by middleclass, college-educated women seems to be predicated on the benefits of breastfeeding as marketed in the USA. Rosin in her article in The Atlantic writes about Dr. William Sears, the parenting guru of breastfeeding. She writes about brighter brains being at the top of the list of benefits. Dr. William Sears is/was the medical advisor to Martek Bioscience maker of DHA and ARA for infant formula. This is the genetically engineered (the company denies gmo but it admits to its novelty as a food) algae and fungi that is put into infant formula in order to imitate the human milk components. He has a financial axe to grind. The studies done on IQ in breastfed infants (DHA/ARA) were funded by Mead Johnson and Martek Bioscience. Great marketing--glorify breastfeeding, imitate the human milk component, and sell it in artificial baby milks. And another target for DHA/ARA supplementation is pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. Thus a new industry is born. What is the reality? IQ is obvious a mixture of a variety of factors and I am quite sure that species specific nutrition would encourage brain function. Are women like Rosin aware that their are being influenced by marketing of a product, DHA/ARA? Sears has mixed the messages to women because he has a financial interest in women believing in the importance of DHA and ARA. It is one of those partial truths that makes for great marketing.
Industries know what women value, particularly middle class professional women. They value education, knowledge and having bright, smart children. So Dr. Sears (Dr. DHA) has cornered the market. He is valued by breastfeeding mothers for his words of wisdom (and he does have alot of good things to say) and he also has the infant formula and supplement market in case of breastfeeding failure. Oh Parodox of paradoxes...life is so darn complex.
Real scientifc literature does not look like popular literature because popular literature is mostly social marketing, propaganda. Most scientists understand the complexity of life and that benefits and risks can be generalized but are also individualized.
Rosin writes that her and husband noticed that few women hold positions of serious power and blame is put on women breastfeeding. Because current society does not accept women breastfeeding in the workplace, breastfeeding mothers must stay home. Rosin and her husband place a value on "power." Not all humans value power or the side dishes of power--fame and fortune. But it is certainly the undercurrent of US politics and culture.
Rosin is still breastfeeding despite her resentment of being left "powerless" by it. What is that magical thread that binds us to breastfeeding even when we resent it? Oxytocin? Maybe. What do we believe about breastfeeding? What do we value? Rosin seems annoyed by people who say breastfeeding is free. "It's only free if a woman's time worth nothing." Time as in hourly wage? I think I am going to send my children a bill for all the time I spent with them breastfeeding--let me see 3 children nursed 4 years 2 months, 3 years 9 months, 5 years 6 months=13 years 5 months. Multiplied by hourly minmum wage-currently $7.21 an hour in Florida. Or course I didn't nurse them 24 hours a day but some daze it felt like 24 hours. So let's say half that number: 6 years 2.5months. Oh god the math involved in this!!!I have no brain since breastfeeding siphoned most of it off. Let's see 365 days in a year times 6= 2190 days times 8 hours=17520 hours times $7.21=$126,319.20 Each child owes me about $42, 000 a piece--ought to pay for my nursing home care? Maybe. Let's look at it another way. Last time I looked human milk per ounce was going for (Prolacta's price) $42 an ounce? Not sure of this cause its been awhile since I looked at those figures. Assuming I averaged 32 oz of milk for each child each day for the first year (my kids never ate solids very much that first year--so 99% breastmilk), my milk was worth $1,344 per day times 365 days= $490,560 for one child. For 3 children it would be $1,471,680. That's just for one year. I will be rich some day soon....AIG eat your heart out. I don't need a government bailout, I just need my accountant to send the bills to my kids.
Copyright 2009 Valerie W. McClain