Milk, Money, and Madness: The Culture and Politics of Breastfeeding

25 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0897894074
ISBN-10: 0897894073
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The latest book by pediatrics professor Baumslag and science writer Michels (A Woman's Guide to Yeast Infections, Pocket Bks., 1992) is not intended as a "how-to" manual but rather as an analysis of the medical, historical, social, economic, and political issues surrounding breastfeeding. It includes a lengthy discussion of aggressive marketing tactics by infant formula manufacturers and the international efforts taken to counteract these techniques. Strongly in favor of breastfeeding under virtually any circumstances, the authors convincingly illustrate its medical and economic benefits to mothers, infants, and the general population. Useful appendixes include, among other items, a brief directory of organizations involved in the promotion of breastfeeding, a summary of recent legislation, and a recommended reading and resources list. With its in-depth analysis of the topic, this highly readable work is a worthwhile addition to public libraries and all large health sciences collections.?Tina Neville, Univ. of South Florida at St. Petersburg Lib.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

There's nothing wishy-washy about the authors' attitude about breast-feeding versus bottle-feeding: they marshal a range of medical, economic, cultural, and psychological arguments for the proposition that "all infants would be better off if they were to receive some breastmilk," and maintain that, while infant "formula" can save lives in a limited number of specific medical situations, its routine use has highly negative public-health consequences in both industrialized nations and less-developed countries. Baumslag, a clinical pediatrics professor at Georgetown University's medical school, and science writer Michels focus on "why to" (rather than "how to" ) breast-feed in an effort to overcome what UNICEF acting executive director Dr. Richard Jolly calls in a foreword the "myths and misinformation" that cloud women's understanding of the issue. The authors survey the history of breast-feeding and its substitutes in a variety of cultures; explain the nutritional and immunological differences between breast milk and various infant "formulas" ; and examine the issue's economics, including the roles of formula manufacturers, governments, and employers of working mothers in the U.S. and around the world. A thorough analysis; includes tables, charts, and appendixes. Mary Carroll

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger (November 30, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0897894073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0897894074
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,468,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By "godeby" on December 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book takes a historical and cultural look at breastfeeding and formula-feeding. Fact-based and well-researched, this book is full of thought-provoking information and information that is not usually made public knowledge due to politics and profit interests.
Sections cover: * Breastfeeding customs around the world * Wet nursing, surrogate feeding and healing qualities of breastmilk * Cow's milk is for cows * Artificial feeding * The global search for formula sales * Women and work
Of particular interest is the United States' historical/cultural lack of support of global breastfeeding policies and the strength given to formula companies to dictate the health of America's babies.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Patty MB VINE VOICE on March 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book explains the WHO Code in detail and how American companies are ignoring it; it also explains the Nestle Boycott (which my family is a part of!).
It's not just all emotion....the authors have facts and figures and references. The historical content was so interesting to me.
In a perfect world, all mothers would breastfeed their children; this isn't a perfect world by any means. If, however, those who are against breastfeeding (for whatever reason), would read this book, perhaps they would see things differently.
And yes, there are mothers who can not breastfeed, no matter how hard they work at it, no matter how much support they have...I'm not against artificial baby milk: I'm against the way it's marketed and the way the companies undermine a new mother's attitude - by supplying her with formula as she leaves the hospital - in a "Breastfeeding Success" diaper bag! Honestly, I received one of these after having my son. What kind of message is that for a new mother - and why are we allowing this to happen in the USA after agreeing to adhere to the code?
Everyone ought to educate themselves - especially expectant parents, fathers included!!! The WHO Code is an important agreement and we should all be aware of it. This book is perfect reading - loaded with information.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book should be required reading for all teenagers as part of their economics classes, their sociology classes, and their health classes. The subject matter in this book covers all of this range. Shown is the health implications for babies who are denied their mother's milk. This is especially important for those babies who are artificially fed in undeveloped countries where there is no access to clean water or sanitation. For those babies, artificial feeding is not only a substandard choice, it is a deadly one. Further, this book illustrates why the chioce to artificially feed infants is being made in more often in these countries, dealing especially with the lies the formula companies perpetuate. Readers will understand how a multibillion dollar business has been developed on the backs of babies.
Readers will also learn, probably for the first time, that the behaviour of formula companies has become so evil that there are a number of international organizations that have ongoing efforts to save babies from the deadly consequences of the formula manufacturer's lies. Many will be surprised to read of a decades old boycott, and an ethical marketing code developed by the World Health Organization, both of which have been flaunted and ignored by the formula manufacturers.
Most readers will be familiar with movies and novels that deal with drug manufacturers making deadly substances and knowingly hiding the information, even at the risk of many deaths, in order to reap the profits. Milk, Money, and Madness will detail such a story. It's all true and much more evil and insidious than anyone will ever suspect until they read the book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I read this book before I gave birth to my first child. (I am the mother of six.)It made such an impact on me that I have been a breastfeeding advocate ever since. This book covers cross cultural aspects of breastfeeding. Beware that this book has the possibility to make a mother feel very guilty for not breastfeeding. It gives a mother infinite reasons of why human milk is what every infant is entitled to consume. I have used this book as a reference to many research projects from formula study to mother - infant bonding. Fathers should be encouraged to read this book. No man should question a mother's right to breastfeed after he reads the views put forth in this masterpiece. I agree with other reviewers that all teenagers should read this book. Future generations would benefit from current generations reading this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "hcollin" on May 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Once elegantly dubbed "...intimate to the degree of being sacred" by the US government, in practice, breastfeeding is not regarded as highly by underdeveloped nations nor is it really held as sacred by developed countries. Thus, this book is certainly a timely essay on breastfeeding practices around the world. But Baumslag and Michels really aimed at setting the record straight for normal infant nutrition; they analyze the cultural practices surrounding natural, and hence normal, feeding in infants and bravely expose the lucrative business of artificial, and hence abnormal, infant nutrition. They also explain in great detail the almost miracle properties of human milk, as opposed to artificial formulae, and how it protects children far beyond infancy in ways no health insurance can. Unfortunately, they avoid discussing practical issues, such as the means to enhance milk production or even breastfeeding techniques. Neither pharmacologic galactogogues, such as metoclopramide, nor the scientific basis for their proper use, are discussed in any detail. Furthermore, the obvious lack of pharmaceutical support and funding for studies in the field of galactogogues (which would be an area of fruitful research, by the way) is not dealt with in this book. The fact remains that, even now, with less than 50% of all new mothers attempting exclusive breast-feeding, and with less than 20% of them maintaining it for four months in a row, there is still a lot to be learned in the fields of psychology, sociology, endocrinology and even economics to explain these disappointing statistics. All things considered, this book is a serious step in the right direction.
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