Breast-feeding may be a little bit healthier, concedes Hanna Rosin in The Atlantic’s The Case Against Breast-Feeding. But it’s not so wonderful that “breast-feeding fascists” should make formula-using mothers feel like trailer trash.
While thousands of studies link “breast-feeding with healthier, happier, smarter children,” they share a flaw, writes Rosin.
. . . breast-fed infants are typically brought up in very different families from those raised on the bottle. In the U.S., breast-feeding is on the rise — 69 percent of mothers initiate the practice at the hospital, and 17 percent nurse exclusively for at least six months. But the numbers are much higher among women who are white, older, and educated; a woman who attended college, for instance, is roughly twice as likely to nurse for six months.
Rosin thinks breast feeding makes life too difficult for working women and should be seen as nice but not essential.
I thought it was easy, free and healthy, but I had a six-month maternity leave.
Of course, I also had a baby who spent 12 days in neonatal intensive care, while I frantically pumped in hopes that someday I’d be able to feed my baby. And hold her and watch her grow up. I did a lot of pumping and crying. Then my husband rented an electric breast pump attached to a container big enough to milk Elsie the Cow. I actually laughed when I sat it, and those were not laughing days. Fastening that to my breast was an act of courage. So, once I could breast-feed a healthy baby it was a piece of cake — and a victory.
See 11D for more.