13 Oct 2017

No substitute for family and village.

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I’ve been thinking about all the articles and research done about breastfeeding. The healthcare system works using policies and protocols. All very scientific. . . but is all this science merely a substitute for what kept humans, as a species, thriving for millennia, namely living in a village surrounded by family and friends?

Would all this science be necessary if people lived in villages, if mothers were helped to stay home for weeks after giving birth so breastfeeding could become easy and fun, and if mothers could wear their babies at work and then hand them off to family and friends, knowing that the care given would be free, easy and good?  Is a physician who has learned about breastfeeding from lectures in medical school the equivalent of a mother who has raised children to adulthood?

I wonder if the industrial revolution and world wars hadn’t sent families on migrations to foreign lands,  would we still be having challenges to breastfeeding, when more pediatricians are giving accurate advice about breastfeeding while believing that it isn’t worth it. (Feldman-Winter L, Szucs K, Milano A, et al. National Trends in Pediatricians’ Practices and Attitudes About Breastfeeding: 1995 to 2014. Pediatrics. 2017;140(4): e20171229). I wonder if the breastfeeding advice given in a local City’s campaign (“Breastfeed, if you are able”) isn’t  a reflection of the incompatibility of post-industrial life and capitalism with mammalian reproduction.

When 23% of mothers have to leave their babies to return to work by 2 weeks after giving birth, how can parenting, much less breastfeeding, survive? Will humans become like ants in a colony, run by the rules of the company that has hired them?

To say that I am sad and scared is an understatement. Those emotions lie under the anger of having spent over 4 decades working to help mothers and babies to connect, and to enjoy the breastfeeding relationship.

What do you think?


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