Suck On This
1st April, 2006
The human species has been breastfeeding for nearly half a million years. It’s only in the last 60 years that we have begun to give babies the highly processed convenience food called ‘formula’.
The health consequences - twice the risk of dying in the first six weeks of life, five times the risk of gastroenteritis, twice the risk of developing eczema and diabetes and up to eight times the risk of developing lymphatic cancer – are staggering.
With UK formula manufacturers spending around £20 per baby promoting this ‘baby junk food’, compared to the paltry 14 pence per baby the government spends promoting breastfeeding, can we ever hope to reverse the trend? Pat Thomas uncovers a world where predatory baby milk manufacturers, negligent health professionals and an ignorant, unsympathetic public all conspire to keep babies of the breast and on the bottle.
All mammals produce milk for their young, and the human species has been nurturing its babies at the breast for at least 400,000 years. For centuries, when a woman could not feed her baby herself, another lactating woman, or ‘wet nurse’, took over the job. It is only in the last 60 years or so that we have largely abandoned our mammalian instincts and, instead, embraced a bottlefeeding culture that not only encourages mothers to give their babies highly processed infant formulas from birth, but also to believe that...
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