Friday, June 20, 2008

Breast-milk, nature's wonder drug...

Imagine if today, scientists discovered a drug that could save 13 per cent of all the babies who currently die. Now imagine that drug also made your baby cleverer – and dramatically slashed her chances of developing heart disease, diabetes, leukaemia, asthma or obesity as an adult. Oh: and imagine it was free. 

The "drug" exists. It is called breast milk. Yet in the developed world, we often stigmatise women who give it to their babies as "creepy". In the developing world, we allow corporations to tug babies from their mother's nipple, and put them on to powders that bring more profit – and more death.

I come at this from a strange perspective. My mother breastfed me until I was nearly three; she only stopped the day I wrote her a note saying I expected to be breastfed that afternoon. Today, whenever I have a success, she clutches her breasts and exclaims: "It's thanks to these!" Whenever my bottle-fed brother and sister have a failing in life, she howls: "Think what you could have been if I'd given you the tit." (Whenever she gets a bit too self-congratulatory, I remind her she also smoked 40 cigarettes a day. "Ach," she says, "it's stressful having a little bastard suckin' at you all the time.")  More...

See also: 8-years old and still ... breast-feeding?

And this: Indian woman breast-feeds an orphaned fawn...

And this: Does breast-feeding lead to increased intelligence?

And this: Ban breast-feeding???!!! WTF!

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