Saturday, January 23, 2010

"Auguries of Innocence" by William Blake

In the movie, "Tomb Raider," Lara Croft reads the beginning stanzas of a poem written by William Blake from "Auguries of Innocence."
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
Tomb Raider was about a treasure hunter. The treasure hunter was a woman (played by Angelina Jolie). It's the only action/adventure movie I have ever liked. So why am I writing about a movie that is about 10 years old? The movie was a blockbuster hit back then and it brought Angelina Jolie fame and fortune. Yet I see this movie in the light of my own interests. The movie centers around finding the key to stopping and even reversing time. Having that ability would give a person or an organization great power.
Breastfeeding has always struck me as a very powerful treasure. The world shifted when I breastfed my babies, time stopped. Love happened. Those moments are the treasure. I looked into their eyes as they looked into my eyes and our souls did meet. I loved them beyond measure. I saw their beauty as human beings. We live in a world that doesn't want women to have that ancient treasure. It is threatening to a male-dominated, war-like society to have strong bonds between mothers and their babies. Women are suppose to feel strongly attached to their men not their babies...right? When women distance themselves from their babies, they become more available to their men. Yet, in distancing themselves from their babies, the treasure is lost.
Now men of science believe that they have found the treasure that is within the mammary gland. They think the magic can be separated and purified from the act itself. Men and women in our society often believe that women don't really want or need to breastfeed their babies. Our world is about the magic made between men and women. There is no room in our society for love between women and their babies. Liberation of women is about liberating women from their babies. It's about getting our babies into daycare, feeding them bottles of milk made by men of science. We must free women from their babies. If women liberated themselves rather than men doing the liberating, what a different world this would be.
Now the men of science, require donations of human milk, to make a better infant formula. And we, women buy into that need. We donate that precious milk because we are told a variety of stories by the corporate world. Donate because orphaned babies in Africa need your milk. Donate because their is an earthquake in Haiti. Donate because babies in NICU's need your milk. We buy into the public relations campaigns because we are good people who want to help. Don't ask any questions about how much of that milk goes to that NICU baby in your hospital or how much will be going to Haiti? Don't ask these non-profits or your hospitals about their connections to Prolacta (a for profit milk bank that is partnered with Abbott, an infant formula company). How dare you question a non-profit or a hospital. Don't ask about all the patents regarding human milk that are owned by the infant formula industry! I have been writing about this for 10 years and I still get the wall of silence from the breastfeeding community. How does the infant formula industry get human milk? All the non-profits say not from me, not from me.
Well now we know for sure that one infant formula company, Abbott, will have a direct link to human milk through Prolacta. But what about all the other infant formula companies? Nestle owns quite a few patents on human milk components. And this article was recently sent to me regarding Danisco and Arla and their interest in human milk oligosaccarides (sugars) to be used in infant formulas.
How does donating human milk preserve breastfeeding? Tell me again....I don't understand.
Copyright 2010 Valerie W. McClain


  1. Well, you won't meet a 'wall of silence' in me, friend. But you can be damn sure that any "non-profit" soliciting donations from me of my milk, will. Especially if they've buttered their bread on the PROLACTA side. Please know I'm doing my best to get the word out, and once again, I will be sharing an amazing blog post from you with my network of lactating mothers, in the hopes that this somehow hits home for them, too.
    Keep up the good fight, Valerie. And know that I am fighting from my little corner of the world right alongside you, that I am proud to stand beside you.
    -Emma, in Montréal

  2. I appreciate the solidarity...and encourage your questioning of milk banking. I believe that there needs to be transparency in non-profit organizations taking breastmilk donations. Over 2,000 human milk component patents requires that donors and the general public have the truth. In the ten years that I have questioned human milk banking, there has been very little transparency but a whole lot of public relation campaigning. There is a tremendous value in donating breastmilk for infants, children, and adults in need. But when there is a veil of secrecy regarding the associations between non-profit milk banks, Prolacta, and the infant formula industry, then donors should demand more transparency and less public relation campaigns.