Lactivist (lactation activist)

Why would breastfeeding need political action?
Because over 1 million babies a year die for lack of it.
Because huge commercial interests subvert it.
Because women have been arrested for doing it.
Because "the other stuff" pollutes our world.
Because breastfeeding is normal but all too often is treated as radical.


I think the point that JasonM missed (but seemed to understand more in his adendum) is that breastfeeding provides not only normal nutrition but a normal immune system for children. Without both of these the child is susceptable to increased morbidity and mortality. Formula attempts to immitate the nutrition provided by breastfeeding but does NOTHING to provide a normal immune system. Formula feeding is harmful, it beats starvation but that's about all that can be said in its favor.

Babies are in fact dying in numerous quantaties due to tactics used primarily by the Nestle corporation. They offer free powdered milk to mothers of newborn children who are not well nourished and so cannot produce breast milk which supplies all the needs of the baby. Once the mothed stops producing her own milk they start to charge to mother for the milk. The problem with this is that the water supply in the local area is not clean and so when the powdered milk is mixed with water it becomes disease ridden.

This tactic is primarily used in Brazil and other under developed South American countries.

Due to this method of money making many Student Unions in Great Britain have banned Nestle products from Campus. My own school has also implemented a boycott.

Another problem with infant formula in developing countries is that it is marketed as being better than breast milk. But it is so expensive that mothers buy it, then dilute it and dilute it, so their babies are basically drinking water with a little white vitamin powder in it.

A million babies die for lack of breastfeeding? Are they otherwise being fed, or is it really that they are malnourished? Please explain.

Let me clarify:

The World Health Organization estimates that 1.5 million infants die around the world every year because they are not breastfed.

Breastfed children do not get diarrhea from contaminated water in mixed formula (pre-mixed formula is not offered in third world nations.)

Breastfed children do not get seizures from low sodium levels caused by watered down formula. (This happened just this February in Minnesota to two separate families)

Breastfed children don’t get salmonella, strep, staph and botulism from improperly sterilized feeding equipment. (again not an exclusively third world problem)

Breastfed children have a 25% higher chance of living to age 3 worldwide.

If you are merely arguing semantics then the statement that might satisfy you is this: They are malnourished because they are not breastfed. The element in breastmilk that children can’t obtain anywhere else is perfection. Perfect balance of water to nutrient. Perfect freedom from bacteria. Perfect antibodies passed from mother to child. Perfect lack of financial impact on a family who can’t afford it.

When you go to a hospital to have a baby, you don’t just come home with a new member of the family. You come home with a little baby wrapped in a little white onesie with a little pink or blue knit cap and some teeny tiny booties. If you forgot (or didn't have time to get) a going home outfit you will get a little blanket to bundle your infant home. All of these were paid for by a formula company.

Oh, but wait that’s not all! You will also get a free little bottle bag - not a diaper bag mind you, diapers and wipes and all the other trappings wouldn't fit in this. It is a thermal insulated bag with a pocket for an ice pack and made to hold two or three bottles of delicious, nutritious formula!

And wonder of wonders here is a case (yes I'm not kidding a case) of formula to put in your trunk! It's just enough to get you through until your milk dries up. Just enough for baby to get really used to the bottle nipple Playtex so generously donated in your Infant Nutrition Starter set.

Your doctor, nursing staff and hospital have just set you up to be a consumer of a formula company. You will spend about $3000 over the course of 12 - 18 months on an inferior product when you could have had the real thing for free.

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