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The Case Against Breastfeeding

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Four women discuss the science and culture of breastfeeding.

Mom Hanna Rosin GOES OFF about the pressure on women to breastfeed in the April 2009 issue of The Atlantic.

"In certain overachieving circles, breastfeeding is no longer a choice -- it's a no-exceptions requirement, the ultimate badge of responsible parenting," she writes. "Yet the actual health benefits of breastfeeding are surprisingly thin, far thinner than most popular literature indicates. Is breastfeeding right for every family? Or is it this generation's vacuum cleaner -- an instrument of misery that mostly just keeps women down?"

Hanna continues: "Breastfeeding exclusively is not like taking a prenatal vitamin. It is a serious time commitment that pretty much guarantees that you will not work in any meaningful way. Let's say a baby feeds seven times a day and then a couple more times at night. That's nine times for about a half hour each, which adds up to more than half of a working day, every day, for at least six months. This is why, when people say that breastfeeding is 'free,' I want to hit them with a two-by-four. It's only free if a woman's time is worth nothing."

Hanna and three of her friends sit down to discuss breastfeeding, and most seem to feel it's just another thing to control women and bring them down:

Do you agree?

next: Couple Charged for Taping Sex Acts with Children
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Melanie January 4, 2011, 12:23 PM

I breastfed my son for 6 weeks and after each feeding he would projectile vomit. I tried eliminating things from my diet to see if he was allergic to something I was eating but was not successful in finding what was making him sick. 6 weeks of worrying about him and having him constantly scream was enough for me. We went to a special formula for a couple of months and then to a regular formula and that worked fine. I felt so guilty about not being able to breastfeed him. My other two children after him have been exclusively breastfed. Funny thing is he is smart as can be, healthy, and doesn’t get as sick or as many ear infections as my daughter.

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