Comments on: The breast milk “cure:” how can something so miraculous and cheap be resisted by women worldwide? http://www.historiann.com/2011/06/26/the-breast-milk-cure-how-can-something-so-miraculous-and-cheap-be-resisted-by-women-worldwide/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:41:03 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: ugsome http://www.historiann.com/2011/06/26/the-breast-milk-cure-how-can-something-so-miraculous-and-cheap-be-resisted-by-women-worldwide/comment-page-1/#comment-846075 Thu, 07 Jul 2011 09:13:03 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=15744#comment-846075 Digger: selfish or selfless? I’m puzzled at ‘selfish.’ Selfish for refusing to produce magical goodness on demand?

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By: Back in the saddle again : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present http://www.historiann.com/2011/06/26/the-breast-milk-cure-how-can-something-so-miraculous-and-cheap-be-resisted-by-women-worldwide/comment-page-1/#comment-845849 Wed, 06 Jul 2011 18:28:52 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=15744#comment-845849 [...] is directly related to the conversation we had last week about that odd and offensive discussion of breastfeeding rates in Africa by Nicholas Kristof, who [...]

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By: ugsome http://www.historiann.com/2011/06/26/the-breast-milk-cure-how-can-something-so-miraculous-and-cheap-be-resisted-by-women-worldwide/comment-page-1/#comment-845342 Tue, 05 Jul 2011 09:18:44 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=15744#comment-845342 I breastfed and I was happy to do it, but I know first-hand that nursing, pumping, working full-time, losing sleep and being off medication for a chronic condition is absolutely *exhausting*. After 8 months of it I lost my damn marbles and had to take a month off work. I respect the hell out of anyone who pulls it off.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2011/06/26/the-breast-milk-cure-how-can-something-so-miraculous-and-cheap-be-resisted-by-women-worldwide/comment-page-1/#comment-843967 Thu, 30 Jun 2011 11:16:18 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=15744#comment-843967 Exactly, nicolec! But that’s how the ideology of (as Digger put it) “selfish magical factories of goodness” plus “instincts” works: your environment, economic means, time, or personal judgement are meaningless. Welcome to motherhood, the marvelous uncompensated work that everyone feels free to criticize and let you know that “U R doin’ in rong!”

(Happy half-birthday to your little boy!)

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By: nicolec http://www.historiann.com/2011/06/26/the-breast-milk-cure-how-can-something-so-miraculous-and-cheap-be-resisted-by-women-worldwide/comment-page-1/#comment-843840 Wed, 29 Jun 2011 23:09:42 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=15744#comment-843840 Erm, there is a lot of ignorance about breastfeeding in this article. I’m a healthy, middle-class American, in a job that allows me to pump during the day, and I’ve struggled to pump enough to feed my little boy (who will be 6 months next week). We’ve had to supplement with formula while I’m at work. I don’t know about other women, but my supply is very sensitive to how often my baby feeds and to how much water I’ve taken in for the day. It isn’t easy to breast feed exclusively and I think this whole, ‘geez, if only they’d realize the answer is in their boobs’ response is offensive to say the least. While I don’t believe in a mother instinct as society likes to suppose all women have, I do believe that mothers want their children to thrive and will do whatever they think is best to achieve that- it is shame he didn’t ask them why they don’t breastfeed and write about their answers.

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By: Sarabeth http://www.historiann.com/2011/06/26/the-breast-milk-cure-how-can-something-so-miraculous-and-cheap-be-resisted-by-women-worldwide/comment-page-1/#comment-843797 Wed, 29 Jun 2011 18:55:00 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=15744#comment-843797 Just a follow-up on HIV/AIDS. Yes, it’s still recommended that HIV+ women breastfeed in some circumstances, but not all. I’m writing from South Africa, where clean water is generally (though not universally) available and HIV rates for pregnant women approach 40%, it is not recommended in such cases. And in this circumstance, public health messages promoting breastfeeding risk identifying and stigmatizing HIV+ women who are attempting to provide the medically recommended care for their children.

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By: cgeye http://www.historiann.com/2011/06/26/the-breast-milk-cure-how-can-something-so-miraculous-and-cheap-be-resisted-by-women-worldwide/comment-page-1/#comment-843545 Tue, 28 Jun 2011 22:03:50 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=15744#comment-843545 Dr. Historiann, how would someone search for breast milk folklore in Early American culture? I am asking for a friend….

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By: LadyProf http://www.historiann.com/2011/06/26/the-breast-milk-cure-how-can-something-so-miraculous-and-cheap-be-resisted-by-women-worldwide/comment-page-1/#comment-843478 Tue, 28 Jun 2011 17:06:07 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=15744#comment-843478 Kathie, thanks for your review. I hadn’t seen any other studies of “Half the Sky” that mention patriarchy, the elephant in the global room. Your analysis makes me dislike Kristof even more. He mines oppression for professional profit. If patriarchy went away, he’d be out of a job.

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By: Leslie http://www.historiann.com/2011/06/26/the-breast-milk-cure-how-can-something-so-miraculous-and-cheap-be-resisted-by-women-worldwide/comment-page-1/#comment-843464 Tue, 28 Jun 2011 16:12:40 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=15744#comment-843464 @Historiann

“Don’t babies start sleeping longer and more soundly once they’ve got some solid food in their bellies to tide them over?”

Not necessarily. First kid slept through the night (which is defined as 5 or 6 hours straight) at one week. Second kid waited until almost 2 to consistently sleep through. By that point, 2nd was eating solids enthusiastically.

It was a looong two years.

@Emma

“Is giving a child frozen breast milk not breastfeeding somehow?”

Opinions vary, in my experience. If the mom–a working mom almost by definition–believes passionately in the benefits of breast milk, then she’ll bend over backwards to make sure that it’s what her child eats, regardless of the delivery system. The subgroup of mothers believing that it’s not just about the eating but about being with your kid 24/7 might have issues with it. It’s not an argument I ever care to get into. What I do with my kids (1st did have breastmilk from the bottle; 2nd didn’t, mostly because she wouldn’t take a bottle from anyone) is pretty much my business and no one else’s.

Historiann, my mom had about the same experience as yours re breast feeding my siblings and I–though I think for my elder sister she went longer than 6 weeks. The amount of time went down with each kid, not too surprisingly.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2011/06/26/the-breast-milk-cure-how-can-something-so-miraculous-and-cheap-be-resisted-by-women-worldwide/comment-page-1/#comment-843130 Mon, 27 Jun 2011 15:47:47 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=15744#comment-843130 Kathie–that was brilliant. Thanks for linking to your review. I really liked your emphasis on the false dichotomy implied when Kristof and WuDunn urge us to focus on “changing reality, not changing laws,” as though women’s “reality” is somehow not profoundly shaped by politics and the law.

Sheesh. But as you suggest, it’s evidence once again of attempts to reform a set of practices as though they’re not part of a much larger and more complex system. Yes, charitable organizations are doing some good work as you note, just as it’s a good thing if an individual woman decides to breastfeed her infant, but neither of them amounts to much more than a hill of beans in terms of systemic change.

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