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

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I commend the authors of Milk, Money, and Madness for the considerable contribution they have made by voicing their opinions, contributing their knowledge, stimulating debate and challenging conventional wisdom. Dr. Richard Jolly, Acting Executive Director UNICEF

Breastfeeding is a beautiful process. It involves the participation of both mother and child and cannot be duplicated by a glass bottle and rubber nipple. So why does the United States have the lowest breastfeeding rate...

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Overview

I commend the authors of Milk, Money, and Madness for the considerable contribution they have made by voicing their opinions, contributing their knowledge, stimulating debate and challenging conventional wisdom. Dr. Richard Jolly, Acting Executive Director UNICEF

Breastfeeding is a beautiful process. It involves the participation of both mother and child and cannot be duplicated by a glass bottle and rubber nipple. So why does the United States have the lowest breastfeeding rate in the industrialized world? In Milk, Money and Madness, Baumslag and Michels examine the issue of breastfeeding, clearly drawing a line between fact and fiction. Among the main points addressed are: o How U.S. taxpayers unwittingly support and encourage bottle-feeding by spending over $500 million each year to provide 37% of the infants in the U.S. with free formula. o How a product created to help sick children and foundlings was transformed into a powerful international industry with revenues of $22 million a day. o How an intimate and self-affirming life experience that is responsible for the survival of our species has been reduced to just one feeding option. Milk, Money, and Madness provides parents and health professionals with the information they need to fully appreciate and advise about this critical life choice. By reviewing the history, culture, biology, and politics of breastfeeding, Milk, Money, and Madness gives the reader a more complete understanding of the uniqueness of breastfeeding.

The crucial decision between breastfeeding and formula feeding is increasingly complicated by misinformation and unfounded theories which cloud the actual facts. By all accounts, breastmilk is the most amazing life-sustaining fluid known to humanity. Many women who breastfeed characterize it as perhaps the most fulfilling life experience they will ever know. Scientific research supports the fact that breastfed babies are healthier, have lower infant mortality rates and fewer chronic illnesses throughout their lives than formula-fed babies. Similarly, women who breastfeed are significantly less likely to contract serious illnesses such as breast cancer. Alarmingly few people are aware of the unique benefits of breastfeeding and do not understand the dangers and risks of feeding an infant formula. In fact, the United States has the lowest breastfeeding rate in the industrialized world. Why has our society defied common sense and scientific data when breastfeeding has so many biological, emotional, environmental, and even financial advantages over laboratory blends?

Milk, Money, and Madness is a thought-provoking book that offers honest answers and straight facts about breastfeeding. This book is designed to provide women, men, health workers, doctors, nurses, and midwives with the knowledge they need to advise or decide about the most suitable means of nourishment for infants. Baumslag and Michels consider the effects of 50 years of clever marketing and advertising which have transformed this society into one where bottle feeding is the norm and infant formula is considered to be essential to women's liberation and the forming of a paternal-infant bond. They also examine attitudes toward breastfeeding in cultures all around the world as compared to the antipathy toward breastfeeding that pervades the United States. Milk, Money, and Madness cuts through the myths and paranoia to offer an enlightening, culturally significant look at one of the most fundamentally beautiful functions of the human experience.

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Editorial Reviews

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.
Booknews
Covers breastfeeding beliefs and practices in the US and throughout the world; breastmilk as a miracle food and medicine; and shaping corporate and governmental policies concerning breastmilk. Numerous appendices list resources, US infant formula recalls, boycott information, and legislation. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Mary Carroll
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780897894074
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/20/1995
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 9.52 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

NAOMI BAUMSLAG, M.D., M.P.H., is Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Georgetown University Medical School in Washington, D.C., and president of the Women's International Public Health Network in Bethesda, MD.

DIA L. MICHELS is a science writer whose articles and essays have appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world. Her commitment to breastfeeding has come both from her research and from her experience nursing her own children over the past six years. This is the second book she has written with Dr. Baumslag. A Woman's Guide to Yeast Infections was published in 1992.

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Table of Contents

Illustrations
Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1 Breastfeeding Customs around the World 3
2 Wet Nursing, Surrogate Feeding, and Healing Qualities of Breastmilk 39
3 Cow's Milk Is for Cows 67
4 Artificial Feeding 113
5 The Global Search for Formula Sales 147
6 Women and Work 189
Appendix A. Organizations Working to Promote Breastfeeding 213
Appendix B. Recommended Reading and Resource List 219
Appendix C. U.S. Infant Formula Recalls, 1982-1994 223
Appendix D. Boycott Information 227
Appendix E. U.S. Infant Formulas: Product Ownership 231
Appendix F. Physician's Pledge to Protect, Promote, and Support Breastfeeding 233
Appendix G. Summary of Enacted Breastfeeding Legislation as of June 26, 1995 235
References 237
Index 247
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2013

    When I was a mother-to-be and wanted to breastfeed my newborn, t

    When I was a mother-to-be and wanted to breastfeed my newborn, this book helped explain the history of formula and the big business behind it. I was able to try nursing when no one else I knew supported it back in the 80's. To this day I still choose other brands over the one mentioned. Excellent read with lots of history and research.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2000

    Dia knows of what she writes

    This is very well researched and should inspire anyone to believe that breastmilk is the only way to feed a baby. After reading this book, anyone will become a staunch breastfeeding advocate and will cringe to see a bottle in a baby's mouth, diaper bag, or a formula ad appearing anywhere. I love the information on how respectfully women are treated around the world, expected to nurse and nurture their babies- and then contrast that with how poorly the US society treats women. still! Six weeks isnt' long enough for moms and new babies and Dia points out the wonderful ways that the rest of the industrialised world copes with the reality of nurturing the next generation

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