Mitt Romney

Ban the Bottle?

|

Mr. Nice Guy points out (in an e-mail message with the subject line "Tit Nannies," which initially led me to believe it was about Brent Bozell and the Parents Television Council) that Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has come out against a ban on the distribution of free baby formula in hospitals that was announced in December by the state Public Health Council. The council's reasoning: Breast-feeding is healthier than bottle-feeding, so new mothers should not be given a choice between the two. Anne Merewood, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, tells Reuters: "We don't feel it is a good public health policy to give them out. New mothers are a vulnerable group and this is pure marketing. These are brand name products from the hospital. It looks like the hospital is endorsing it. It's like putting Pepsi-Cola machines in the schools."

It is noteworthy, by the way, how quickly soda machines in schools have become a paradigmatic public health hazard, similar to open sewers or plague-carrying rats. In any case, Romney does not think baby formula in hospitals belongs in the same category. The governor says, "I'm not enthusiastic about the heavy arm of government coming in and saying: 'We think we know better than mothers, and we are going to decide for you.'"

I think Romney's right, but I doubt he'd consistently extend the same principle to adults' decisions about what is best for themselves vis-a-vis drugs, gambling, sex, and other restricted pleasures. Which is sort of odd when you think about it, because at least in the case of breast-feeding vs. bottle-feeding there's another person whose interests are at stake–and not just another person but an innocent, helpless person who is depending on adults to make good decisions on his behalf.

NEXT: Phone Sex: The Anti-Anti-Drug

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Banning the distribution of baby formula?

    Man, some of us were adopted! Baby formula was our only option!

  2. There is defeinitely documented evidence that breast feeding may be better. However, there are a myriad of pareantal decisions that may be considered the “right” choice. The state needs to keep their hands off parenting decisions.

    I am getting really sick of this nosy neighbor mentality that lot of buearucreats and polititcans have adopted.

  3. Good for Romney, but what are these people thinking? It’s not like all breasts and nipples are equally adept at providing milk. I’m pretty sure there are women who give birth but aren’t able to produce even the (whatever it’s called before the milk comes in) during the first few days.

    In my mind, there’s a serious question about health if the hospitals don’t have free formula on hand for new mothers. What’s the baby eating if the mother has problems lactating?

    And heaven forfend, somebody catches a break and gets something free. Formula is some expensive shit. For people of limited means, a free bottle or two could be a godsend, given the many other associated expenses of having a baby. Especially given what the hospital is likely to charge for it. If it’s $28.00 a can at Safeway, the hospital probably charge $3,800 for it.

  4. After having been through the whole “we’re having a baby” thing three times, may I propose a new work rule for OB nurses? “You make a bitchy comment that causes my wife to cry, dad’s allowed to punch you in the nose.”

    I’m sure breast milk is better, but it’s not as though modern formula isn’t completely adequate.

  5. I am getting really sick of this nosy neighbor mentality that lot of buearucreats and polititcans have adopted.

    It’s the nosy neighbors who are usually behind all of this paternalistic nonsense. They want everyone to do everything their way, and are motivated to pressure politicans into changing policies, and enacting laws.

  6. I tried breastfeeding when my older son was born, and failed miserably. My son had to stay an extra day in the hospital because of low blood sugar, due to not getting enough nutrients. The “lactation consultant” did nothing but hector me on the vital importance of continuing this obviously doomed effort, reminding me of the expense of formula and the number of studies indicating that bottle babies have lower intelligence and higher rates of obesity. She probably told me bottle babies all end up as toothless, tattooed delinquents living in smelly trailers. I suffered less moralistic bombast attending revival meetings as a child. Believe me, the Breast Milk Mafia does not need government help; they’re quite capable of being obnoxious on their own.

    By the way, my now 8 year old son is the best reader in his 2nd grade class and is not anywhere near overweight. His 4 – year – old brother, who went straight to bottles, already writes his name and recognizes in print the numbers 1 – 10 and all the letters of the alphabet. (Thank you all for allowing me to brag, too.) The moral to this story is that there is that being a parent is a really long marathon and you don’t get credit for style points. Breastfeeding is better, especially when the water supply isn’t very good or the parents aren’t committed to learning how to handle formula. When it’s a choice between Mom losing her mind or giving the baby a bottle, get the damn formula.

  7. This would cause a major shitstorm where I live. The OBs at the Greenwich, CT hospital said that a majority of the new mothers, many who are working professionals, have no interest in breast feeding. They were pleasantly surprised that my wife chose to breastfeed.

    I despise the arrogance of people like Anne Merewood, who assume that they know what is best and thus they must force it on everyone else. I put a pox on you, Ms. Merewood! I curse (much to the dismay of my decendants) all your decendants to have small and insufficiently lactating breasts.

  8. Breast-feeding probably is better than formula, but the formula itself is so good that I wonder if the advantages of breast-feeding, at least for modern American children, are negligible.

    For instance: they say that breast feeding strenghtens a child’s immune system, and provides some protection against developing allergies and asthma. Okay–but I was bottle-fed, and I do not have asthma, I’m not sickly, and according to an allergy test the only thing I am allergic to is a rare type of South American rye grass that doesn’t even exist in any of the countries or states I’ve been in. So what exactly did I miss out on by being raised on formula? Is my one allergy due to the Enfamil I drank as an infant?

    In college I knew this body-builder who had the perfect, flawless, super-muscular body, and then he told me he had decided to start a new exercise regimen because it was “even better” than what he was doing before. And I was thinking, he already has what is considered the perfect body-builder physique; what additional advantages does he expect to get from these new exercises? I feel the same way about breast-feeding American babies.

  9. If they start selling tit-milk in school soda machines, it would tie up this story in a nice little package.

  10. MNG-

    Just think for a moment about where the milk in the store comes from. What somebody had to actually do to get it.

    Gross, huh?

  11. I wonder if old Mitt’s paternalist notions come to pass, their suddenly be in upswing in mothers being hauled into jail for “public indecency” when they try to breast feed their children at the local mall.

    Because we all know that if there is one thing that’s WORSE than poor nutrition, it’s EXPOSED BREASTS!!!

  12. “In college I knew this body-builder who had the perfect, flawless, super-muscular body, and then he told me he had decided to start a new exercise regimen because it was “even better” than what he was doing before. And I was thinking, he already has what is considered the perfect body-builder physique; what additional advantages does he expect to get from these new exercises? I feel the same way about breast-feeding American babies.”

    Jen, your mistake there is that you have assumed that what you see as “the perfect bodybuilder physique” is widely accepted as such, and thus, there is no way for your friend to go but down. This is silly. Maybe in your eyes, sure. But different people and different subcultures have different values. Maybe your bodybuilder friend wanted to look like Ronnie Coleman (if you’ve never seen him, Google the name; it will scare the shit outta you). Or maybe he wanted to look the same as he did before, but with less effort or less dietary restrictions.

    And so it is with breast-feeding, or health in general. Perceptions of baselines and ceilings vary from person to person. For example, to the normal joe on the street, I probably look like I’m in great shape, like I lift weights all the time. But to the guys who professionally bodybuild, I might look like a lightweight. It’s all relative.

    If mothers want to breastfeed their children and make them into the very best babies they can, then so be it. I’m not sure whether an all-breastmilk diet is that much better than, say, a half-and-half diet, and sure, some people probably take it overboard. But I don’t think it’s responsible to proclaim that there is some kind of widely accepted ceiling when it comes to the health of children.

  13. Stepping outside the question of the actual ban, it’s funny to see some people who would normally not be pleased at the idea of hospitals doing a corporation’s sales & marketing work for them by giving their products away for free suddenly all upset that the hospitals will no longer be doing that. I’m pretty sure that these women still know what formula is and where they can find it, folks.

  14. >I think Romney’s right, but I doubt he’d consistently extend the same principle

    Despite the rhetoric about the “heavy hand of government”, that isn’t the real principle Romney is operating under. He is operating under the “cater to feminists” principle. If whatever interests that third party might have are irrelevant when it comes to abortion, why would they matter regarding choice of food? Moreover, I’d bet that he would be against the ban if it were promulgated on budgetary rather than health grounds as something that “hurts women”, since it is an axiom of feminist thought that “no subsidy” == “coercion”.

  15. This is just one more way to make mothers who have to work feel guilty about it. It’s hard enough to have to work while you have an infant, without also having to worry about breast-milk maintenance activities and dealing with the various discomforts that entails.

  16. I feel the same way about breast-feeding American babies.

    You’ll feel different when you start holding your nose while changing the diaper of your formula fed child.

  17. If mothers want to breastfeed their children and make them into the very best babies they can, then so be it.

    I completely agree–I’m just opposed to this idea that if you DON’T breastfeed your kids, you’re being a bad, selfish mommy who is dooming your child to a lifetime of second-rate health.

    Like I said, I was bottle-fed, and I’d like to know exactly how I’d be better off if I’d been breast-fed. Would my immune system be slightly stronger? Maybe, but if so the extra strength would hardly be noticeable–I haven’t had so much as a cold since I stopped teaching (and even then, my colds were not due to a weak immune system but due to the fact that I spent all day cooped up in a building with 1,000 kids, ten percent of whom were contagious at any given time).

  18. If mothers want to breastfeed their children and make them into the very best babies they can, then so be it.

    I completely agree–I’m just opposed to this idea that if you DON’T breastfeed your kids, you’re being a bad, selfish mommy who is dooming your child to a lifetime of second-rate health.

    Like I said, I was bottle-fed, and I’d like to know exactly how I’d be better off if I’d been breast-fed. Would my immune system be slightly stronger? Maybe, but if so the extra strength would hardly be noticeable–I haven’t had so much as a cold since I stopped teaching (and even then, my colds were not due to a weak immune system but due to the fact that I spent all day cooped up in a building with 1,000 kids, ten percent of whom were contagious at any given time).

  19. I only pressed “post” once, by the way; I have no idea why that last post of mine appeared twice. Maybe the Reason server was bottle-fed rather than breast-fed in its infancy, which is why it is such a clusterfuck today.

  20. You’ll feel different when you start holding your nose while changing the diaper of your formula fed child.

    Heh. Not gonna be a problem. Even if I DID want kids, I have almost no sense of smell.

  21. Mothers who aren’t given baby formula in their gift bags don’t have the choice to bottle feed?

    Putting formula samples back in the gift bags will mean the state is no longer acting like a nanny?

    What web site did I end up at?

  22. the Breast Milk Mafia does not need government help; they’re quite capable of being obnoxious on their own.

    Oy, is that ever the truth. My wife has been to them several times, and the concerted effort to browbeat and guilt-trip is worse than going to Catholic mass, the vet, and the dentist combined. We finally decided they’re all crazy zealots who think they’re on a mission from Allah. So she’s just not paying any more attention to them and is going to do whatever the fuck she feels like doing from now on.

  23. The “Breast Milk Mafia” isn’t the one asking for government help.

    My dentist didn’t give a Hershey’s bar the last time I got my teeth cleaned. What must that damnable nanny deny me my choices?

  24. I lived with my cabbage/liver & onion/kielbasa-fed father for close to two decades.
    I have also changed many a formula-fed baby diaper.
    The intestinal output of a well-fed Scotsman trumps protein-&-soy poop any day.

  25. My dentist didn’t give a Hershey’s bar the last time I got my teeth cleaned. What must that damnable nanny deny me my choices?

    If the state board of dentistry said that dentists may no longer distribute candy, including lollipops, then then your comparison would be valid.

    Are you ignoring the issue of regulatory force just because it is Friday?

  26. No, MP, I’m ignoring it because, according to all the debates I’ve read on this site (except this one), whether someone gives you something or not is wholly irrelevant to the question of whether you have the choice to use it.

  27. The “Breast Milk Mafia” isn’t the one asking for government help.

    You don’t think they have anything to do with this attempt to make free baby-formula samples illegal?

  28. I?ve actually done research into this area a couple of times before.

    The short of it is that it?s not a new issue, and there?s more to it than is readily apparent. For one, the government already has a national program in place subsidizing infant formula for low-income parents (WIC). They do generally encourage breastfeeding, but it?s hardly nannyism. The issue is more about regulating how the major infant formula marketers (Ross, Mead Johnson, Nestle) reach their ?customers?; when they partner with regional hospitals to provide them free sample kits of starter formula, most parents will continue to use the same brand they start with, and it is arguably an unfair form of competition, not unlike pay-for-play with radio. Hospitals normally have contracts with a single supplier and do not distribute samples of competing brands. There has been a long history of these same companies being accused of exploitative marketing practices in the third world markets, so there are a number of watchdog groups out there for whom this is their main issue; The ?International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes? adopted about 25 years ago specifically states:

    ?Baby food companies may not:
    ? Give free supplies of baby milk to hospitals;
    ? Promote their products to the public or health workers;
    ? Use baby pictures on their baby milk and bottle and teat labels;
    ? Give gifts to mothers or health workers;
    ? Give free samples to parents;
    ? Promote baby foods or drinks for babies under 6 months old;
    ? Labels must be in a language understood by the mother and must include a prominent health warning.?
    http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/code_english.pdf

    Anyway, some states have already passed initiatives to comply with this code, but in general it?s always been voluntary in developed countries.

    This is a summary of the current legislation in different states related to breastfeeding http://www.lalecheleague.org/Law/proposedsummary.html

    I don?t know if I was breastfed or not. I’m pro-breasts, though, in general.

  29. Despite the rhetoric about the “heavy hand of government”, that isn’t the real principle Romney is operating under. He is operating under the “cater to feminists” principle.

    In my experience, Lactation Nazis tend to be left-wing feminists. Ditto for the Cloth Diaper-Only Revolutionary Brigades.

  30. The intestinal output of a well-fed Scotsman trumps protein-&-soy poop any day.

    This wins the award for the best line of the day…

  31. joe-

    Obviously mothers still have a right to decide how to feed their babies, regardless of whether or not somebody has the right to offer them a free sample. But, as has been pointed out here, there’s a big difference between a Hershey bar (which offers no dental benefits, even if the adverse dental effects are minimal with moderate use and proper oral hygiene), and formula (which may not be ideal, but for many people is a necessary and reasonable alternative).

    So the health pretext for this regulation seems rather flimsy. We are talking about a third party stepping in for the alleged benefit of mothers and babies, even though for some mothers and babies this product is very beneficial (although it’s obviously not the optimal choice for all mothers and babies).

    And, for the sake of everybody else, I’ll agree that obviously the hospital management should have the right to decide which samples will or will not be offered to patients by private companies that offer the samples voluntarily, insert other necessary disclaimers here, void where prohibited, yadda yadda.

  32. No, MP, I’m ignoring it because, according to all the debates I’ve read on this site (except this one), whether someone gives you something or not is wholly irrelevant to the question of whether you have the choice to use it.

    Your complaint must be geared towards Romney’s comment which implies a removal of choice. His comment is stupid. You are correct in stating that there is no removal of choice. However, the regulation itself is clearly nannyish and worthless.

  33. Thank Gaia that the WHO is here to save the planet from the scourge of baby pictures appearing on cans of infant formula!

    Now if they can only get around to addressing the critical problem of children’s book illustrators appearing in photographs holding a cigarette!

  34. The “Breast Milk Mafia” isn’t the one asking for government help.

    It just occurred to me that some are assuming that people primarily go to publicly run hospitals. I’d forgotten they still have them. I think there might still be two open near the Washington DC area, while there a whole boatload of private ones. Maybe that’s the confusion. I’m assuming the vast majority are private companies, but that could be different in different parts of the country.

  35. thoreau,

    If you notice, I haven’t ventured an opinion on breast milk vs. formula. Nor have I ventured an opinion on the Mass DPH’s action.

    I was commenting on the torturous framing of the debate by the Reason staff and commenters, who seem perfectly willing to ignore their stated prinicples in order to sock it to those…those…FEMINISTS!

    That said, the problem with formula is not that it is unhealthy in and of itself. There is nothing in formula that is bad for infants. The problem is that formula replaces breast milk, which contains a lot of good stuff that isn’t in formula. A problem that is made worse by the fact that switching back and forth is very hard, because drinking from a bottle is easier for babies, and missing a couple breast feedings can make it harder for mothers to produce milk when they do want do a round of nursing.

    And THAT said, sometimes it just doesn’t work, and mothers need to go with the second best option.

  36. I was commenting on the torturous framing of the debate by the Reason staff and commenters, who seem perfectly willing to ignore their stated prinicples in order to sock it to those…those…FEMINISTS!

    So when Reason says “the government should not make certain free samples illegal,” that violates their stated principles?

  37. Thank you Captain Holly. You’ll be happy to know that I have dedicated my life to continuing my father’s mission. and testing the limits of modern plumbing.

  38. joe-

    I assumed you were venturing an opinion on it when you made an analogy with candy bars at the dentist’s office.

    And what is so inconsistent here with people complaining that a law bans companies from offering free samples? Seems to me like people here are pretty big on private companies being able to do whatever they want.

  39. joe has quite a history of deploying some pretty weak pedantry in the service of his frequent attempts to point and yell “Hypocrite! Hypocrite!” at Reason staffers and fellow-travelers. This go-round is truly pathetic — almost a cry for help. Back to the drawing board, joe!

  40. joe has quite a history of deploying some pretty weak pedantry in the service of his frequent attempts to point and yell “Hypocrite! Hypocrite!” at Reason staffers and fellow-travelers. This go-round is truly pathetic — almost a cry for help. Back to the drawing board, joe!

  41. I remember the Breast Milk Mafia from when the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes was being promoted, along with boycotts of companies selling formula. It was promoted as a reaction to the evil corporations pushing their vile products on vulnerable yadda yadda.

    Missing from the BMM argument was acknowledgement that many of the potential breast feeders were undernourished or downright starving. So instead of good ol’ grade A breast milk, without formula the babies actually got thin oat gruel made with impure water. That didn’t matter in the BMM philosophy-driven world.

  42. ‘So when Reason says “the government should not make certain free samples illegal,” that violates their stated principles?’

    No, Jennifer. When Reason equates denying someone a freebie with denying their choice, they’re violating their stated principles.

  43. Breasts! huh-huh-huh-huh!

  44. When Reason equates denying someone a freebie with denying their choice, they’re violating their stated principles.

    Don’t you think you’re being a bit of a sophist here, Joe?

  45. joe,

    I’m not sure I follow. A policy that says “people can use it but must to pay for it themselves” is a restriction on choice. A minor restriction to be sure, but still.

  46. Sonofagoddamned bitch, once again I forgot to change my name after making a joke post in another thread. Dammit dammit dammit.

    This would never have happened if Mommy had breast-fed me.

  47. thoreau,

    I was making a comparison between giving out Hershey’s bars and giving out formula – just not the comparison you thought I was making (ie, equating the health effects of both).

    “And what is so inconsistent here with people complaining that a law bans companies from offering free samples? Seems to me like people here are pretty big on private companies being able to do whatever they want.” The grounds on which they are doing so. If there were standing up for hospitals, who should have the right to give out whatever gift bags they like, that would an argument consistent with the principles I see advocated in Reason.

    Instead, Sullum frames the argument as “new mothers should not be given a choice” – “a choice” meaning “a bag of free stuff that they could buy for themselves.”

  48. Instead, Sullum frames the argument as “new mothers should not be given a choice” – “a choice” meaning “a bag of free stuff that they could buy for themselves.”

    So maybe he should have said “New mothers of course will still have the choice to buy formula, but it is wrong for the breastmilk advocates to try to deny free samples to the mothers on the theory that baby-formula samples are as addictive as crack cocaine and once the new mommies try them they’ll be hooked and refuse to breast-feed their children which is of course the Right Thing To Do. It is rude and arrogant for the breastmilk advocates to treat new mothers as weak-willed vessels who must be shielded from these evil free samples lest they lose self-control in regards to infant feeding practices.”

    Except that this would be known as “bad writing.” Joe, maybe you should spend less time looking for hidden messages between the lines and pay more attention to the lines themselves.

  49. Jennifer 41, David,

    I agree that it is sophistry to declare that denying someone because of regulation is a restriction on choice, while denying someone based on wealth, opportunity, or knowledge is not a denial of choice. I think they are both denials of choice, and splitting this hair is sophistry.

    My point is merely that such sophistry is usually propounded and defended quite vehemently on this site.

    For example, how would I be received if I stated that repealing Social Security would deny me the choice of a retirement income? After all, the Social Security Administration would be just as restricted from sending that freebie as Massachusetts hospitals would be if this regulation goes through; my choice to accept that check will be taken away just as assuredly as new mothers’ choice to accept the free formula will be taken away; and my “opportunity” to save the money for myself will be just as real as the opportunity of a new mother to guy buy formual by herself.

    Yes, somehow, I doubt Mr. Sullum would frame the debate in the same manner.

  50. Jennifer,

    If you want to pretend not to understand the meaning of the word “choice,” as it is used by libertarians, then I’m doing arguing with you.

  51. If you want to pretend not to understand the meaning of the word “choice,” as it is used by libertarians, then I’m doing arguing with you.

    The word ‘choice’ has different meanings in different contexts. What you’re doing is pretending that Sullum is using Definition Number One when he’s actually using Definition Number Two. Or vice-versa.

  52. SULLUM: My daughter has a set of pretty jeweled barrettes, which she likes to wear in her hair.

    SOPHIST: No she doesn’t. A set is a mathematical term referring to an abstract collection of numbers and symbols, so unless you’re saying that your daughter uses prime numbers to style her hair I must call you out for your dishonesty.

  53. Actually, Jennifer, I’ve never seen Definition Number Two deemed acceptable here. I typically get shouted down when I bring it up.

    And the meaning of the word choice on a site like this not a mathmatical abstraction, but a rather fundamental concept undergirding an entire worldview.

  54. Mr. Nice Guy points out (in an e-mail message with the subject line “Tit Nannies,”

    Mr. Nice Guy rules! He is the pinnacle of eloquence.

  55. *joins in the chorus*

    Hey, Smacky.

  56. You have to use the definition that works best.

    The question is, who does definition number two work for?

  57. So Joe, if some state government tries to make it illegal for doctors to tell pregnant women about the possibility of getting an abortion, and Sullum or some other Reasonoid writes an article saying “It’s wrong for the government to limit women’s choices like this,” I assume you’ll be making indignant posts pointing out that making it illegal to tell women about abortion options does NOT impede their choices in any way, since it is still perfectly legal to get abortion information elsewhere?

    And if another state makes it illegal for doctors or counselors to tell minors about contraceptives, and some Reasonoid complains about that, you’ll insist that said Reasonoid is violating his principles because minors’ birth-control choices are not being at all impeded, since they can go find information somewhere else?

  58. Praise from the resplendent smacky! The beauteous maiden?s jibes doth make me grin. And I?ll ignore her penchant towards irony πŸ™‚

    And joe?s arguments are really bouncing off my skull today. Maybe because it?s Friday. I?ll check back after 4:20 and see if they make more sense.

  59. Sullum may not have phrased things perfectly, but I hardly think he was arguing that free choice is impossible if people aren’t allowed to give you free samples in a particular setting.

    I think he was making a larger point about how the people who oppose these samples are (allegedly) opposed to people making a particular choice, and will do whatever they can to limit access to info that might lead others to make a particular choice.

    Sullum may be right or wrong in his analysis of their motives, but I don’t see any hypocrisy.

  60. Hmmm…I totally see joe’s point. It’s one of those rare days, I guess. Go, joe!

  61. And I?ll ignore her penchant towards irony πŸ™‚

    MNG,

    But never! (Well, not in this instance, at least.) My praise for you was spoken with 100% sincerity.

    Hi, Eric the half-bee.

  62. Hmm…let me see.

    Formula manufacturers freely choose to give free samples of formula to hospitals who can then give them to new mothers.

    Hospitals accept free samples and make them available to mothers. Mothers can now choose to accept said freebies, buy their own formula or breastfeed.

    Thus manufacturers, hospitals and new mommies have a range of choices and an environment in which to make said choices.

    Government agency steps in and seeks to prohibit the giving of free samples of formula in order to advance an agenda.

    Is anybody other than joe having a problem understanding how some peoples’ choices have been limited here?

  63. FYI doodz:

    I’ve had the pleasure to meet smacky at a H&R gathering several months ago. She reminds me of that one really cute girl you see at a science fiction convention. All of a sudden, you regret wearing those Spock ears.

  64. Sci-Fi convention cute is right on the cusp of being a backhanded compliment.

  65. I woke up the day after my emergency C section (before which I, and my unborn baby, almost died from lack of oxygen), hooked up to myriad IVs and intubated to boot, with a vague sense that I’d had a baby, and this wasn’t the way I had planned on doing it, and when they realized I was conscious one of the first things an ICU nurse said to me was along the lines of “…don’t worry, you’ll still be able to breast feed and we’ll have a lactation consultant up here soon.” Um, sure, thanks….but that’s really not what was uppermost in my mind at the moment, you know? And then I had to have more surgery, and more drugs, and when I asked the doctor about breastfeeding he laughed at me.

    I gave my electric double-boobie breast pump to a friend, who only pumped and never fed her daughter at her breast because the baby just wouldn’t take the nipple. But she was being fed ONLY mama’s milk. So that’s ok, right? Nope. Breast Nazi’s Local 101 said that by not feeding the baby at the breast they were missing out on some mystical bonding/emotional sustenance and the quality of the milk was not the same and bullshit bullshit.

    My bottle fed, disposal diaper wearing daughter is now 4 and healthy and brilliant, and so is my friend’s child.

    And those mothers who’ve embraced the “no diaper” movement, like others who deliberately shun technological advances that make our lives easier, tend to be highly educated, middle to upper class women. Why is that? Something emotionally significant is going on there.

  66. David:

    I disagree. Many years ago, my girlfriend was such a Trek fan that she took ME to conventions. And she also looked very much like that Keira Knightly chick (she was actually acquainted with the actress who played Savik in the later Trek movies – they both looked very similar). The grin plastered on my face was quite smug.

    If you actually ever attended a convention, you would see girls who would be cute in any context. But in that particular environment, it is sorta ridiculous.

  67. “Something emotionally significant is going on there.”

    You bet. It’s called an obsession with control.

  68. I was just kidding, MNG.

    Actually I have gone to one convention, but I don’t remember there being that many women there period, let alone any Keira Knightly types. You lucky bastard!

  69. Something special about being #69 on a thread about breast feeding.

    No matter how old I get my juvenile male sense of humor stays as agile as ever. πŸ™‚

  70. No matter how old I get my juvenile male sense of humor stays as agile as ever. πŸ™‚

    Mine, too. πŸ™‚

  71. Okay, so I work in public health. I love my job, even though working for the government chafes my inner libertarian. Anyway, my inner libertarian wants to tell Massachusetts to suck her balls (a vasy majority of public health pros are female, incl. me). Yes, breast milk is best. That’s a given that has been supported by overwhelming amounts of valid sceintific evidence. Campaigning has shifted attitudes positively in favor of breastfeeding, and that’s a great thing. But the breasts themselves ain’t perfect (you boob-men can choose to argue, but this isn’t about form as it is functionality). Not all women can lactate at volumes sufficient to feed their babies. I’ve talked to a few of these women, and they all expressed disappointment in themselves because they were incapable of lactating enough. There are a lot of HIV-positive women out there who simply cannot breastfeed. Anyway, Gov. Romney makes perfect sense, and I’m just glad I didn’t get my public health degree at Boston U. So give the mommies the formula option but tell them that breast milk is good. Let it go from there.

  72. That seems quite sensible, PHP.

  73. Breast Milk use in infancy increases IQ 6-7 points at age 8. Formula isn’t something that hospitals should be encouraging the use of.

  74. Joe,

    You want women to stop working and stay home I guess, since you claim they can’t switch back and forth from breastfeeding to the bottle (which includes bottles of their own milk, dumbass). So you leave moms with the alternative of 100% formula (which heaven forefend anyone gives them for free) or staying tethered to their babies (hard during board meetings). Which is it?

    Or can you just admit that you’re not a father, never have “been” with a women, and just commented out of bitternes over Republican gubernatorial supremacy in the bluest of states.

  75. Or can you just admit that you’re not a father, never have “been” with a women, and just commented out of bitternes over Republican gubernatorial supremacy in the bluest of states.

    Jimbo, I completely disagree with Joe on this issue, but he DOES have a kid, which I assume was conceived in the standard non-virginal way, and your comment makes even less sense than anything Joe has said here.

    And that is saying a lot.

  76. Formula is some expensive shit.

    That alone is a good reason to encourage breast-feeding.

    That said, I concede that some women have a great difficulty succeeding with it. When my wife had our first child, she (the baby) couldn’t figure out how to latch on for the first few days; she would nurse ineffectively for a few seconds, then pull off the breast and scream. It was about the worst week of our lives. (And oh, yes, the hospital was absolutely useless about helping us figure out what was wrong. Which may have something to do with the fact that the next four children were all born at home.)

    Being pig-headed over-educated types, we found a lactation consultant who helped us (and the baby) figure it out. But I certainly wouldn’t condemn any mother who went through an experience remotely like ours, decided that breast-feeding wasn’t working out, and switched to formula.

  77. Sulla: maybe you’re right. But that gives the Freudian meaning of “anal retentive” a whole new dimension, doesn’t it. I mean, it’s one thing for a kid to derive a pleasureable sense of power from either holding on or letting go of their feces – but why’s mom doing it?

    I think it might also have something to do with generalized over-educated Western guilt combined with modern luddism – the same impulse that leads mulitmillionaire actresses to observe desperately poor women in faroff places giving birth on the dirty floor of their huts and say “wow…that’s like, so pure, so honest, so real, you know? that’s so much more natural than the sterile environs of a hospital.” Not that an actress would use a word like environs, but still…yes, it’s more natural. That doesn’t mean it’s better.

  78. joe, whose tit was I supposed to suckle from?

    I had to wait until high school before I had that distinct pleasure.

  79. Jimbo, I completely disagree with Joe on this issue, but he DOES have a kid, which I assume was conceived in the standard non-virginal way, and your comment makes even less sense than anything Joe has said here.

    FYI, Jennifer – that’s apparently a different Joe. Joe O, not Joe B.

  80. Or I could be wrong. I just realized Jimbo probably wasn’t talking about the IQ-boost comment.

  81. I was talking about the Joe who said:

    “…the problem with formula is not that it is unhealthy in and of itself. There is nothing in formula that is bad for infants. The problem is that formula replaces breast milk, which contains a lot of good stuff that isn’t in formula. A problem that is made worse by the fact that switching back and forth is very hard, because drinking from a bottle is easier for babies, and missing a couple breast feedings can make it harder for mothers to produce milk when they do want do a round of nursing.”

    I thought maybe someone who hadn’t heard of pumping (which goes in a bottle and at the same time stimulates the mother to keep producing milk) was never a father, nor had ever spoken to a mother, but I guess I was wrong. He’s just ignorant.

    I agree that breastfeeding is better, but banning businesses from giving freebies is not a way to convince people of that. We got a freebie formula bag at the hospital and promptly gave it to friends who could not breastfeed (or rather we gave them the formula and kept the useful bag and baby wipe samples). He should also note that while breast milk (and certainly colostrum) has more in it than formula (antibodies etc.), it also has less in certain aspects and needs to be suplemented with viatmins.

  82. JoeO:
    http://www.stats.org/record.jsp?type=news&ID=62
    the article ends:
    “There are plenty of reasons for women to breastfeed their babies. Possible marginal increases in IQ do not need to be added to the list.”

  83. “You want women to stop working and stay home I guess,” Wrong.

    “…since you claim they can’t switch back and forth from breastfeeding to the bottle” Wrong.

    (which includes bottles of their own milk, dumbass).” Wrong, at least in this debate, which is about baby formula.

    “So you leave moms with the alternative of 100% formula (which heaven forefend anyone gives them for free) or staying tethered to their babies (hard during board meetings).” Wrong, see above.

    “Or can you just admit that you’re not a father,”
    Wrong

    “…never have “been” with a women…” Laughably wrong. For example, while your mother is certainly no lady, she does count as a woman. And a half.

    “and just commented out of bitternes over Republican gubernatorial supremacy in the bluest of states.” Wrong, I have commented favorably on things Romney has done on these very pages.

    I’ve seen a lot of stupid comments on Hit and Run, but for you to pack seven factually untrue assertions into such a brief statement is really impressive, in its own way.

  84. I was bottle fed and I turned out fine. Hell, I probably would’ve been a fatter, healthier baby if my mom had had access to free baby formula, or even discounted baby formula she bought out of some native ameriacan’s trunk (between buying commodity food from indians and poaching venison, that’s how my folks fed us when I was a kid).

  85. 6 month old daughter had a bit ‘o jaundice at birth. The best way to get rid of small amounts is to feed’em lots, more than any breast-feeding mommy can supply at the start. So formula use was not an option. Thanks to our insurance, we wouldn’t have paid for it even if they didn’t have free samples, but I’m still glad the whole thing didn’t cost more. How would insurance companies react to tens of millions of dollars in formula costs each year?

    Also, it’s egalitarian at the DC-area for-profit hospitals. We were given a ton of free similac stuff in addition to the enfamil, but we’d already determined that if we needed to use formula, we’d be using enfamil. Didn’t see nestle stuff, which is their problem.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.