The article is prefaced with, “In certain overachieving circles, breast-feeding is no longer a choice—it’s a no-exceptions requirement, the ultimate badge of responsible parenting. Yet the actual health benefits of breast-feeding are surprisingly thin, far thinner than most popular literature indicates. Is breast-feeding right for every family? Or is it this generation’s vacuum cleaner—an instrument of misery that mostly just keeps women down?”
Seriously? Breastfeeding is a life sucking vacuum? That’s not the experience I remember so well. My children breastfeed for 14-16 months each (depending on the child) and I didn’t resent one single moment of it. (Plus, I’m lazy, so breastfeeding was perfect… no bottles to wash, formula to mix, I didn’t even have to get out of our bed at night.)
In Ms. Rosin’s breastfeeding bash, she fails to mention any of the POSITIVE benefits of breastfeeding for Mothers:
- Reduced chance of breast cancer
- Reduced risk of ovarian cancer
- Less likely to experience postpartum depression
- Reduced risk of developing adult onset (type 2) diabetes
The United States Department of Health and Human Services points out the cost savings ($1,160 and $3,915 per year, depending on brand of formula), and points out several societal benefits of breastfeeding:
- Breastfeeding saves on health care costs. Total medical care costs for the nation are lower for fully breastfed infants than never-breastfed infants since breastfed infants typically need fewer sick care visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations.
- Breastfeeding contributes to a more productive workforce. Breastfeeding mothers miss less work, as their infants are sick less often. Employer medical costs also are lower and employee productivity is higher.
- Breastfeeding is better for our environment because there is less trash and plastic waste compared to that produced by formula cans and bottle supplies.
If you are reading this, you are probably aware of the benefits. We all must stand together against blatant attacks against this primal food source. We were intended to provide milk for our children (I realize that not everyone can, so don’t go all defensive on me) and breastfeeding contributes to strong bond formation between mother and child.
Take a minute, read the article, and take a stand for women and families. The United States Breastfeeding Committee had this to say: “A storm is brewing against breastfeeding with the publication of Hanna Rosin’s article in the April 2009 issue of The Atlantic. Rosin was also featured on the Today show on March 16 with NBC News Chief Medical Editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman. Although their discussion deplorably misrepresented the medical research on breastfeeding, it also appropriately highlighted a much bigger issue: it can be very challenging to achieve optimal breastfeeding recommendations in the United States.”
Join the United States Breastfeeding Committee and write a letter to the editor of the Atlantic to let him know that perpetuating this divide among mothers will not be tolerated.
Photograph by Raphael Goetter on Flickr under Creative Commons License.