Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Moonhugging stars, IBCLCS, and improving breast milk

Looking into the sky, I see that Moon-hugging Star again.  Continuity, breathing in and breathing out;  I feel reassured that the world is the world I remember.  Yet, so much has changed in the sixty years of my existence.  Am I getting too old to understand this craziness that has descended unto humanity?  Or is it, that I have never understood the insanity, we call civilization?  I feel as lost as a child who goes to a building to learn about life, when life is outside.  I spent my school days, looking out the window, wishing I was outside.  When I was outside, I never had a thought for that book knowledge of flowers and trees, clouds and sky.  I was there, like the surfer on her board, at one with the wave, with the ocean, with the power of life on this planet.  And where are we going fellow citizens of this world?  I don't understand the direction our "leaders" are taking us.  It feels like we are being delivered into the jaws of hell, to a world without life, to a world without compassion or sympathy or respect.  Why?  Why?  Why?

I decided this year to give up my credential, my IBCLC, to let it go.  It's a trademark, you know.  So if one wants to retire from the business of breastfeeding, one must let go of the title.  Yes, its a business world and if you don't pay tribute for the title, then one cannot use it.  That's fine with me.  What does a title, a credential mean anyway?  I am not sure anymore.  I have enormous respect for many of the groundbreakers, who are IBCLCs.  They have opened doors to better understanding of breastfeeding.  On the other hand, I am disappointed in the direction that the profession seems to be going.  I am amused in a cynical way by the fads that sweep the profession.  Nowadays, it seems that every baby is tongue-tied and in need of "fixing."  It seems the current position for correct breastfeeding is the reclined position.  Yes, I am exaggerating but it seems like common sense about helping mothers breastfeed has gone out the window.  Instead, we are creating some kind of medical protocol for correct breastfeeding without questioning the premise of medicalization of normal biology.  Is there only one way to do something?  We know with computers, there are multiple of ways to do various procedures, no one way is correct.  Watching people walk, talk, and eat; show us that no two people are alike.  Yet it seems that we are creating a standard, medical protocol for breastfeeding.  The blinders have started to appear as our profession becomes more and more enmeshed with the medical community.  Our human milk researchers, who create the current thinking on breastfeeding, are entangled with the infant formula industry.  And it seems that no questions are asked about how this may effect a profession.  Should we not wonder about higher rates of mothers "attempting" to breastfeed, yet more mothers giving up on breastfeeding.  Where has the simplicity of breastfeeding gone?  Instead, we are creating more and more products, and more and more rules to follow.

I haven't worked with breastfeeding mothers and babies for a few years.  I miss it.  But I now understand why a good friend of mine, who was a midwife and LLL leader was not enthused by my becoming an IBCLC.  She was right.  She was very right.  Like birth, the more interventions from experts, the more mothers find breastfeeding an impossible, un-natural process.  Birth and breastfeeding should not be based on medical models of disease, dysfunction, and fear.  But that has become the underlying theme of birth in the US.  And now we seem to be hell bent to create that theme in breastfeeding. 

I know that my letting this credential go will not change anything.   I no longer want to financial contribute to a profession that feels it must be medicalized to be accepted.  Of course that won't stop me from writing about patenting of human milk components, nor advocating for breastfeeding.  

I found a recent patent owned by Biogaia AB of Sweden.  It shows the direction we are going as a society.  I understand Sweden, as a country, has better breastfeeding rates than many countries.  I always thought of them as breastfeeding-friendly.  Well this patent, makes me wonder...

It's called "Method for improved breast milk feeding to reduce the risk of allergy."  patent #7955834 accepted as a patent this June 2011.  The inventors are Bjorksten et al.

"A method for selecting a lactic acid bacterial strain to be administered to a pregnant women of which increases the level of IL-10 and at the same time decreases the level of TGF-beta-2 in breast milk..."

I believe that one could decrease the level of TGF-beta-2 in breast milk, if the mother went on a dairy-free diet.  But we know women, they won't do that besides this is a simple fix.  Of course we are experimenting on pregnant women.

By the way, it can also be given to the woman after the birth of her baby.  And claim 6 states it could be a edible vegetable oil, sunflower oil.  Of course, how does one get this lactic acid bacterial strain into the sunflower.  Yeah, you got it, genetic engineering.  Gotta love the ingenuity of our scientists.  
Copyright 2011 Valerie W. McClain

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