Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Look at this. I honestly thought the Prager thing was old news.

(Via Atrios:

But apparently folks are still fighting the nip battle.

I do understand this fuss -- some folks want women's breasts to be solely sexual features, and solely the property of the husband* and so believe women ought not to use them in the feeding of infants, because, obviously, infants ought not to be doing sexual things like messing with breasts; not to mention, if infants are using the breasts, daddy can't -- or, you know, maybe, daddy feels weird about using the breasts if the infant has just been using it -- I get that, I do.

But daddy ought to be an adult, is my opinion.

Daddy ought to be able to get over it.

(And? While I'm on the subject? mr. delagar was, could, and did. Just fine. For the record.)

And, here's the important bit: it matters whether children are breast-fed.

It matters substantially.

This is not to say that, if for some reason, you can't breast feed yours, he's doomed. Heavens no. Science is a great thing and we have excellent formulae available now, much better than we did when Prager was a child. Your child, I am sure, if you have to use the bottle, will turn out much better than Prager has. Don't worry.

Nor is it the bonding issue that primarily matters. It's really possible, no kidding, to bond with the kid without breast-feeding it.

But do some research -- yes, I know, Prager doesn't believe in doing research. Conservatives in general don't believe in doing research. Conservatives in general, apparently, make decisions based on -- My Word, I don't know, how do these folks decide things? Flip coins? Oh, wait. I forgot. They pray. A mythical Sky Being speaks in their HEAD and tells them what to do.

That's so much better than actually studying and doing research and figuring out what might actually be the best option based on how the real world actually works. I don't know what I could have been thinking.

Anyway. If you did do the research, instead of just believing what Prager's common sense told him, you'd find that children who were breastfed have fewer allergies (not more, as Prager claims), a lower rate of obesity (not a higher rate, as Prager claims), fewer ear infections (the kid has never had an ear infection), and about a bazillion other benefits. One other benefit is a lower rate of certain childhood cancers**. You know, I think I'd do it for that one right there.

Prager writes in his very funny anti-breast-feeding column:

And if breast-feeding is indispensable to optimum bonding, why not breast-feed for a few years? Isn't more bonding better?

What a clueless dwank.

Do you think anyone ever dropped him an email, pointing out that (gasp) some people actually do breast-feed past the first few weeks?

(AAP recommends breast-feeding for at least the first year; for the first two years if possible. In H/G cultures, children are breast-fed until they are four or five. I breast-fed the kid until she was two and a half and I often wish we hadn't weaned her so young. I'm just saying.)

*My favorite literary reference re this is a line in John Cheever's journals where he wants to look at his wife's breasts while she's in the bath tub, and they've been having a fight, so she's like, no, you cannot look at my tits, and he's furious, how dare she deny me the right to look at her breasts, and he sulks and stomps in the bedroom for a time, and finally he storms into the bathroom, rips open the shower curtain that she has pulled over the bathtub, and "feasts his eyes" on her breasts. In a sense, he writes, "they were my breasts. I had fed them, housed them, clothed, taken them to Europe, bought them taxis." (I'm writing from memory here, so I'm sure I'm not getting it exactly right.) "I had a right to look at them." Well, that's the attitude of many in this culture, both men and women. Women's breasts belong to the men who own the women -- they don't belong to the women whose bodies they are on, for heaven's sake, and they certainly don't exist for the feeding of children. Here's Prager on that, if you're interested: If the sole purpose of the breast was to feed infants, women, like all mammals, would only have breasts when nursing their young. But the female human always has breasts.

**Not that your kid is doomed to cancer if you bottle-feed. Really not. Not anymore than if he rides unbuckled now and then he'd going to go right through the windshield. These are all just relative risks. But all things being equal, if people can breast-feed, they ought to. That's all we're saying. Really, Mr. Prager? That is all we're saying.

At least that's all I'm saying. I know other folks do get nuts about it.

I also liked breast-feeding, and it was cheap, and it was so much easier than that bottle, plus, my kid? She wouldn't take the bottle. What a picky kid I have. So it was a good thing I decided to breast-feed, that's all.

1 comment:

zelda1 said...

Oh My God! We have allergies in our family and my son had a major allergy to milk and even to the hypoallergenic milk. So, it was a good thing that I was able and willing to breastfeed. My daughter, well, I breastfed her because I went to nursing school and I knew the facts plus we were poor and at that time, there was no WIC. My children were healthy, emotionally and intellectually advanced beyond all my friends who stuck bottles in their infants and todlers mouths because you see, once a baby holds its own bottle, it is convientient for women to let the baby feed itself while watching television, playing on the floor, or even riding in the car. Breastfed babies have to be held and cuddled and talked to and kissed while they are eating. They develop so much better with all of that affection. I'm sorry, I am a woman and a grandmother and I have been a round and I know breastfeeding is best. After a baby is born, the baby and the mother feel that connection. Baby roots, mother holds baby to her breaast and no it isn't because it is the easiest way to hold a baby. It is rare for breast fed babies to develop failure to thrive and like you said they are better physically than bottle fed. And what about poor Abraham whose wife breast fed for years; and by the way, I breastfed my children until they were ready to stop. For my daughter that was a little over two and for my son, well he was nearing three and would have continued until four or five, but I succumbed to the pressures of society that it was just wrong for a baby especially a boy baby to breast feed so long.