Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Got Milk?

Curt & I were discussing possible reality with baby the other day and got on the subject of breastfeeding. I mentioned that I plan to breastfeed but for some reason it still seems kind of odd to me, even though in my mind I know it's the most natural thing in the world. I guess the thought of life actually sustaining itself via "the girls" is kind of weird. Maybe because I wasn't breastfed as a child? Curt wasn't either. I then recalled my friend E. telling me how her 6 mo. old son took to it right away, and still will only accept a bottle if he's totally starving, whereas her daughter K. (now almost 3) basically weaned herself by 6 mos and didn't take to it well at all right away. I speculated that perhaps boys just have a boob fetish from day one and never get over it?? Anyway, as we were discussing the various specific health benefits of breastmilk Curt wondered if anybody had ever studied what would happen if an adult partook of it on a regular basis.

At first I thought "What a nightmare! That's all we need.. one more way for women to sell their bodies. I can see it now, breastmilk bars replacing oxygen bars as the new kooky trend. At best you'd have women making anonymous donations by breastpump... but at worst? I don't even want to think about *that*! The whole time I'm thinking, no worries - there are no self-respecting scientist who would even venture down that path.

But it appears I'm wrong. Swedish doctors have developed "A cream made from human breast milk and nicknamed Hamlet that can dramatically reduce, and often eliminate, stubborn common warts." So now I have visions of that controversial anti-genetic engineering billboard from last year becoming reality. Ugh. You know, say I'm a cynic but I can see where this is going. Before the resurgence of breastfeeding in the middle and upper classes in the last 25 years or so, and before baby Formula was widespread... wetnursing was a time honored profession. Poor, rural, and especially ethnic mothers would farm their mammaries out to desperate mothers, childrens' hospitals and orphanages. Your garment industry has their sweatshops.... how soon do you think it will be before pharmaceutical companies set up milkshops in the 3rd world?

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