"Begin at the beginning,and go on till you come to the end: then stop." (Lewis Carroll, 1832-1896)

Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked."Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat."I don't know," Alice answered."Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

"So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation. "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

"All right," said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone. "Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!"

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Location: Australia

I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe. Like Arthur Dent from "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", if you do not have a Babel Fish in your ear this blog will be completely unintelligible to you and will read something like this: "boggle, google, snoggle, slurp, slurp, dingleberry to the power of 10". Fortunately, those who have had the Babel Fish inserted in their ear, will understood this blog perfectly. If you are familiar with this technology, you will know that the Babel Fish lives on brainwave radiation. It excretes energy in the form of exactly the correct brainwaves needed by its host to understand what was just said; or in this case, what was read. The Babel Fish, thanks to scientific research, reverses the problem defined by its namesake in the Tower of Babel, where a deity was supposedly inspired to confuse the human race by making them unable to understand each other.


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Saturday, May 06, 2006

3,000 Breastfeeding Women

As this is a special report, some of the links will be in "nipple pink".
More than 3,000 mothers packed a Philippine sports stadium in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for simultaneously breastfeeding their children.
The event was organized by the Manila city government along with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and local health officials to promote public awareness on breast feeding, and wean mothers away from using baby formula.
I like this story. Can you imagine the hullabaloo by the religious rightwing in the so-called "free nations" if such an event was held? There might be rightwing religious fundies bombing breastfeeding mothers for being lewd and ungodly. Same thing would most likely happen in the so-called "unfree nations" of course. If exposing your ankle is bad, exposing a breast would be an abomination before the male god whose word on sexual organs is "Here a chop, there a chop, everywhere a nip and tuck." (Sorry, that is my obscure reference to male and female circumcision.)

In patriarchial societies the breast is seen primarily as a sexual organ designed for the pleasure and arousal of the male. Thousands of breast enhancement surgeries are performed annually as a result of this mentality. Women in the west claim these surgeries make them feel better about themselves. In reality, many have these surgeries performed because they have succumbed to the pressure to meet the standard of the "female stereotype." One of the female stereotypes is the impossible youth standard set for women and their organs, which is concocted by all sorts of businesses in order to generate cash flow.

The primary biological function of the female breast and its primary reason for existence is to suckle an infant. This seems to have escaped the collective bee mentality of "god's police", aka the religious rightwing. I am here to remind them of it. If, as a male, you find watching a female publically breastfeeding her baby to be sexually overpowering, you need to stay home permanently and read "Superman Comics."

The use of infant formula particularly in the developing world, is somewhat contentious and it has come under scrutiny. Many scientists believe that infant formula exposure increases the risk of several conditions including insulin dependent diabetes mellitus asthma, and eczema. It is well-established that non-breastfed infants suffer significantly more middle ear infections, respiratory, intestinal and other bacterial infections. An association with lower cognitive development has also been shown in several studies. The U.S. government has identified breastfeeding as an important measure of infant and maternal health.

If the US government has identified breastfeeding as an important measure of infant and maternal health, then why is the US the biggest producer of baby formula worldwide? Surely we in the west would not be interested in selling products to developing nations regardless of the known deleterious consequences?

If poor infant nutrition is the reason for the use of baby formula in developing nations, perhaps it makes more sense to increase the nutrients in the diet of mothers so that when breastfeeding occurs, the infant is receiving the known benefits associated with mother's milk. One positive benefit of infant formula is its use as a replacement food supply when the infant could be infected with HIV/AIDS via breastfeeding. It's widespread use seems inappropriate though, if the use of said product produces no benefit medically.




Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great, creative thing to do! Kudos to whoever thought that up. I must report that I have been thrilled to see provincial government-sponsored breastfeeding campaigns in Nova Scotia and Quebec with photos of actual babies suckling. These campaigns are promoting public breastfeeding and it is a major gain in provinces where women have been ejected from stores and public events for breastfeeding. As a side note, what women living with HIV/AIDS in developing countries need is still CLEAN WATER to prepare formula in. If Nestle and others are going to sell formula there, they ought to provide the clean water too, don't you think?

11/5/06 4:45 am  

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