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The Politics of Breastfeeding (Issues in Women's Health)
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Top Customer Reviews
Links obstacles placed in the way of breastfeeding mothers to the devaluation of the motherhood role which occurred during the growth of the industrial revolution.
Detailed history of breastfeeding and wet-nursing. Narrates the history of the Nestle scandal, in empathy with 3rd World perspective. A strong advocate for the rights of all babies to be nourished from the breast.
Counters anti-breastfeeding sentiment in today's society. Explains away sexuality myths which hinder women from breastfeeding in public. Terrific book for the breastfeeding professional who wants to boost their arguments!
In many industrialized countries the issue is airbrushed away with the cocky self-assurance that these risks don't apply to "us". Think again. Powdered infant formula is not sterile and is sometimes contaminated with pathogens such as Enterobacter sakazakii, salmonella and staphylococcus aureus which can cause serious illnesses. The "2002 outbreaks of serious infection and one death amongst babies in a US hospital intensive care nursery" and the deaths of twins in Belgium cited by Palmer, are only the tip of the iceberg.
A 1988 analysis "found that one in five of the US babies who died at between seven days and 12 months of age did so because they were not breastfed". Since that time there has been no official action to reverse this and formula promotion has increased. This is not just down to the skullduggery of industry. It is also about the collusion of governmental bodies and medical powers-that-be which are supposed to have our best interests at heart.
A 2004 Department of Health and Human Services breastfeeding promotion campaign highlighting the risks of artificial feeding was derailed by industry pressure, the solid science behind it - supported by DHHS' own Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality - trashed by DHHS upper management.
A 2008 CDC report ranked US infant mortality rate as 28th world-wide; Time magazine for August 3, 2009 puts it in 30th place; the CIA World Fact Book estimate for 2009 was 43rd place. There are many reasons for this but lack of breastfeeding gets no mention at all in these reports.
The reasons for this silence - and for the enduring campaign against breastfeeding - are very complex. Palmer unravels much of the mystery behind it - in 400 meticulously documented and beautifully written pages. It's absorbing reading - not just about breastfeeding but also about how we get bamboozled into needing" foods of all sorts that do not promote health. Reviews of earlier editions gave it 5 stars - I'd give it 7 if I could.