The Mommy Wars and Breast Milk

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5 Responses

  1. The Time piece didn’t identify what sorts of women were outsourcing the nursing of their children. We can guess that the women are wealthy because of the exorbitant cost, but are they professional women or just wealthy women who don’t choose to nurse their children? At least from my own experience and that of my friends, I can tell you that it’s much easier for professional women to nurse after returning to work than for other types of female workers. I’ve always had an office with a door that locks, but not every woman does. I’ve known secretaries that have had to go to conference rooms to nurse. Nursing at work comes with hassles, but those hassles are fewer as you go up the income chain.

  2. Frank says:

    Here’s a query/worry to add to Angel’s. On the one hand, a thriving market in breast milk may seem to enhance the freedom of working moms to perform demanding jobs without having to take time out to breastfeed. On the other hand, once that option is available, pressure may build to take advantage of it. I.e., it may seem less acceptable to give “wanting to breastfeed” as a rationale for wanting to have a maternity leave.

    Of course, concerns like this apply just as much to, say, pumps as to outsourcing (see, e.g.,

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/breast-feeding/PR00002

    Christine raises an interesting question re the class dynamics here; perhaps it’s more a matter of helping the middle class than elite moms. My law firm in DC had day care in the basement of the building and I would hope other top-tier employers consider this type of innovation important to retention. As E.J. Graff has noted, the class dynamics of the “mommy wars” are often skewed by the social network of mainstream media reporters:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9918831

  3. Nate Oman says:

    I would not that it is harldy the Mommy Wars alone that get skewed by the social networks of mainstream media reporters…

  4. “What does all of this have to do with law? We first have to ask whether states should regulate a market in human breast milk, or more specifically, who can be a wet nurse?”

    What about a woman’s right to choose?

    and

    “I must admit that I am particularly uncomfortable with the potential exploitation of poor women who have few options.”

    so you would consider reducing those few options by one?

    I know this posting was more questions than policy advocacy but let’s face it – the only market for this “service” is of other women…and I’m not comfortable working up concern for an issue that won’t primarily demonize conservative straight white males.

  5. proud breastfeeding mother says:

    i breast fed my own child and another child that came to this contry sick and alone.i was proud of my choice and would of continued doin it if i was able(developd postpartum and had to stop bc of my medicatin).i would do it in a heartbeat again and am ashamed that people are lookin down on those who do.i didnt do it for money,and it has nothing to do with slavery.Out of all that was wronge with slavery this isnt the biggest!!!!i would proudly nurse another baby no matter the race! better breast feed than prostituteing!thank u to all who nursed wether your own or others children.