Friday, April 24, 2009

Poking The Breast-Feeding Bear In The Zoo

At the risk of being reminded why I should sacrifice everything (like silly work aspirations, sleep, or my lady parts) for the good of a child who will perish of neglect otherwise:

Poor, cyberbeaten Hanna Rosin, obviously learning no lessons from her Atlantic article, highlights a new study indicating that breastfeeding does have economic consequences on women. And they ain't so great!

Judging by the post (and lazily only from that, not the study), the study subtly highlights the class differences in breastfeeding as well.

Importantly, Rosin notes that breastfeeding should lose its free pass into the feminist cause. I read something yesterday that questioned its seat in the feminist world as well (can't find the link) because La Leche rose around the time that women were being urged back to the home because they were emasculating their poor men. If you make a time line, I don't think the movements' accomplishments - feminist and breastfeeding - would chart the same.


Anonymous said...

I don't know much about Hanna Rosin but just from the articles you have linked to of hers she seems to have a lot of breastfeeding "demons in her closet." The results of the study she references really only demonstrate a correlation and nothing more. Anyone who believes in breastfeeding long-term probably could care less that it will have economic effects on them 10 years later. Many women choose to balance work and motherhood to the best of their ability, but the women who make their responsibilities as a mother their priority shouldn't be treated as any less valuable to society. Breastfeeding has been part of our natural history a lot longer than money has, and regardless, money isn't everything.

ETA: The word verification for this was "bustnea." LOL

cd said...

MM22 - Do I know you? In a non-blog way? I don't want to offend someone I know. Not that I aim to offend people I don't know, but hopefully you know what I mean . . . .

Isn't the point of breastfeeding that it has benefits that stick with a child for life? That'd be 10 year later and hopefully many more, no?

As for correlational research data - I think Rosin's point in her Atlantic article was that evidence of breastfeedings SUPERWOW benefits were correlational and not quite as SUPERWOWSLAMDUNK as pop-magazines, etc would have a mom believe.

Also - where do you read in any of this that Rosin doesn't value SAHMs? Is that a sore subject for you?

Money, btw, is a whole hell of a lot, however. Seriously. It's a ton. It's vastly important. You can be miserable with or without it. I'd rather be miserable with it.

Anonymous said...

No, you don't know me, so feel free to offend! I like playing the bear in the zoo. ;)

The 10 years later reference was to the economic benefits to the woman...benefits of breastfeeding to the child are lifelong and well proven already. Part of the evolutionary role of mammal mothering is passing along your resources to your offspring at a slight disadvantage to yourself. Breastfeeding doesn't have to be "SUPERWOWSLAMDUNK" to be worthwhile, even though IMO it's pretty darn close.

The value of SAHM that I speak of is purely an extrapolation of the income discrepancies of WOHM versus SAHM (whom Rosin seems to equate with extended breastfeeders). Obviously staying home with children and being out of the workforce would translate to less income. The question is why is that so bad if you are able to provide for your family regardless? It's a choice, and one that some people aren't even lucky enough to have. Yes, you can be miserable with or without money, but I prefer to be happy with or without it. :)

I really do enjoy reading your posts and engaging in occasional keeps the(temporarily out-of-the-workforce academic) SAHM in me entertained.