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“Lactivism”: Breastfeeding Nazis try to make nursing just about mandatory

November 22, 2015

From my latest for the Weekly Standard:

At a “nurse-in”: going Maoist

In 2012, the AAP issued a statement identifying breastfeeding as a “public health issue” akin to avoiding second-hand smoke and wearing seatbelts. A 2011 report from the Obama administration’s surgeon general’s office highlighted a study that claimed breastfeeding would save American taxpayers $3.6 billion annually in formula outlays, days taken off work by parents caring for their formula-sickened children, and the cost to society in lost productivity occasioned by premature deaths supposedly attributable to formula-feeding.

In 2009, the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which provides vouchers to low-income women for buying nutritious foods, began offering a superior quantity and range of groceries to mothers who breastfeed exclusively. In 2012, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg—he of the 16-ounce drink-cup ban—launched Latch On NYC. This “nudge” (to nursing) program required hospitals to keep formula under lock and key, dole it out in minute quantities, and hector new moms incessantly on the pneumonia, diarrhea, and ear infections that would ensue from feeding a baby out of a bottle. In the Third World, the World Health Organization and other groups have downplayed the high risk of HIV transmission by way of mother’s milk in order to promote the breast.

The irony, as Jung points out, is that, thanks to all the mother’s-milk-is-healthiest rhetoric, the bottle has actually made a covert comeback, because few career-pressed women have the time or inclination for the one or even two solid years of nursing that the lactivists tout. There is now a lively capitalist market in breast pumps (including some very fancy models), storage bags, cleaning equipment, and Internet-facilitated “human milk sharing” that has turned the product of women’s breasts into a valuable commodity.

Read the whole thing here

Posted by Charlotte Allen




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