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Milk, Money, and Madness: The Culture and Politics of Breastfeeding Paperback – 30 Nov 1995

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bergin & Garvey (30 Nov. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031336060X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0313360602
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.7 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,484,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"With well-founded indignation, Baumslag and Michels describe a medical, political, economic, and historical background that has deprived too many infants of their nutritional birthright. Breastfeeding should need no defense...Yet a combination of forces, including sexism that distorts the breast's functional role and corporate greed that promotes artificial feeding in developing nations, has created a public health problem in which infants die unnecessariuly for lack of breast milk." - Choice "...not intended as a how-to manual but rather as an analysis of the medical, historical, social, economic, and political issues surrounding breastfeeding. Strongly in favor of breastfeeding under virtually any circumstances, the authors convincingly illustrate its medical and economic benefits to mothers, infants, and the general population. Useful appendixes include, among other items, a brief directory of organizations involved in the promotion of breastfeeding, a summary of recent legislation, and a recommended reading and resources list. With its in-depth analysis of the topic, this highly readable work is a worthwhile addition to public libraries and all large health sciences collections." - Library Journal "This book provides much information that parents and health workers need in order to understand the evolution of formula feeding and the impact made by associated advertisements." - Midwifery Matters "There's nothing wishy-washy about the authors' attitude about breast-feeding versus bottle-feeding: they marshal a range of medical, economic, cultural, and psychological arguments for the proposition that all infants would be better off if they were to receive some breastmilk. Baumslag...[and] Michels focus on why to (rather than how to) breast-feed. The authors survey the history of breast-feeding and its substitutes in a variety of cultures; explain the nutritional and immunological differences between breastmilk and various infant formulas; and examine the issues's economics, including the roles of formula manufacturers, governments, and employers of working mothers in the U.S. and around the world. A thorough analysis; includes tables, charts, and appendixes." - Booklist "This book covers a great deal. It contains a lively chapter on the history of breast-feeding, another on the value of human milk and a long chapter called Breastmilk Economics that covers the corporate and government politics." - The Women's Review of Books

From the Author

Provides an understanding why breastfeeding is an issue.
It is an irony that this book needed to be written. It wasn't that long ago that breastfeeding was as much a part of the maternal experience as pregnancy. Now, many American mothers think twice about it ... and decide not to bother. There are many wonderful books instructing women "how" to brestfeed, but information on "why" to is scarce. This books provides the big picture about breastfeeding, explaining its history, culture, biology and politics. It is an important book to help women understand the miracle substance they are capable of producing and to respect the magnificence of their bodies. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Leon on 7 Aug. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has a lot of interesting parts, particulary on the rise of formula feeding (FF), rather breaking the myth we (I?) have that women were completly content to breastfeed before the 1960's...The author also looks at other cultures for a fuller understanding of BF mores...all very interesting.

At times the "facts" in the book are clearly anecdotal and data poorly interpreted in an eagerness to present a story. Eg women in developing countried don't BF because formula company pressure advertising, but a second interpretation could be because the women have to work in unprotected conditions - India may have great maternity rights, but I guess most women do not have work contracts and thus have to contiue working or face poverty. Combining full time employment with BF even in Europe is difficult enough!

I'd hoped the book would deal more with the westernised image of the breast and other social factors which may hinder women BF. This is surely a break on young women choosing to BF despite great maternity working options in Europe....something I see in friends in any case. I also found the book a little too US-biased and a little too campaign-y - surely not ALL BF woes can be attributed to Nestlé?

Interesting read though!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 April 1997
Format: Hardcover
This book is very inspiring as well as being very well researched. It is the perfect follow-up to Gabrielle Palmer's Politics of Breastfeeding. It documents the continued violations of the World Health Organization's Code for the Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes by formula companies while describing the history of infant feeding practises around the world. A very provocative read.
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By Caroline Sugden on 9 Jan. 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the most inspiring book about breastfeeding I have ever read. It will open everyone's eyes to the dirty tricks employed by formula companies to undermine and thwart the most beneficial and natural thing a mother can do for her child. Once you've picked it up you'll read it non-stop from cover to cover and hang on to it forever.
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Format: Hardcover
Baumslag has done an excellent job again to help promote the ways and whys of breastfeeding, to help health professionals, potential breastfeeders, and, most importantly, the little ones who stand to benefit most.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 25 reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
This is a fabulous, thought-provoking book! 7 Dec. 1999
By "godeby" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book takes a historical and cultural look at breastfeeding and formula-feeding. Fact-based and well-researched, this book is full of thought-provoking information and information that is not usually made public knowledge due to politics and profit interests.
Sections cover: * Breastfeeding customs around the world * Wet nursing, surrogate feeding and healing qualities of breastmilk * Cow's milk is for cows * Artificial feeding * The global search for formula sales * Women and work
Of particular interest is the United States' historical/cultural lack of support of global breastfeeding policies and the strength given to formula companies to dictate the health of America's babies.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Excellent information....all expectant parents should read 16 Mar. 2001
By Patty MB - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book explains the WHO Code in detail and how American companies are ignoring it; it also explains the Nestle Boycott (which my family is a part of!).
It's not just all emotion....the authors have facts and figures and references. The historical content was so interesting to me.
In a perfect world, all mothers would breastfeed their children; this isn't a perfect world by any means. If, however, those who are against breastfeeding (for whatever reason), would read this book, perhaps they would see things differently.
And yes, there are mothers who can not breastfeed, no matter how hard they work at it, no matter how much support they have...I'm not against artificial baby milk: I'm against the way it's marketed and the way the companies undermine a new mother's attitude - by supplying her with formula as she leaves the hospital - in a "Breastfeeding Success" diaper bag! Honestly, I received one of these after having my son. What kind of message is that for a new mother - and why are we allowing this to happen in the USA after agreeing to adhere to the code?
Everyone ought to educate themselves - especially expectant parents, fathers included!!! The WHO Code is an important agreement and we should all be aware of it. This book is perfect reading - loaded with information.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
An Education, should be requisite for teenagers 14 Dec. 2001
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book should be required reading for all teenagers as part of their economics classes, their sociology classes, and their health classes. The subject matter in this book covers all of this range. Shown is the health implications for babies who are denied their mother's milk. This is especially important for those babies who are artificially fed in undeveloped countries where there is no access to clean water or sanitation. For those babies, artificial feeding is not only a substandard choice, it is a deadly one. Further, this book illustrates why the chioce to artificially feed infants is being made in more often in these countries, dealing especially with the lies the formula companies perpetuate. Readers will understand how a multibillion dollar business has been developed on the backs of babies.
Readers will also learn, probably for the first time, that the behaviour of formula companies has become so evil that there are a number of international organizations that have ongoing efforts to save babies from the deadly consequences of the formula manufacturer's lies. Many will be surprised to read of a decades old boycott, and an ethical marketing code developed by the World Health Organization, both of which have been flaunted and ignored by the formula manufacturers.
Most readers will be familiar with movies and novels that deal with drug manufacturers making deadly substances and knowingly hiding the information, even at the risk of many deaths, in order to reap the profits. Milk, Money, and Madness will detail such a story. It's all true and much more evil and insidious than anyone will ever suspect until they read the book.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A must read for any one who is concerned for the welfare of 6 May 2004
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I read this book before I gave birth to my first child. (I am the mother of six.)It made such an impact on me that I have been a breastfeeding advocate ever since. This book covers cross cultural aspects of breastfeeding. Beware that this book has the possibility to make a mother feel very guilty for not breastfeeding. It gives a mother infinite reasons of why human milk is what every infant is entitled to consume. I have used this book as a reference to many research projects from formula study to mother - infant bonding. Fathers should be encouraged to read this book. No man should question a mother's right to breastfeed after he reads the views put forth in this masterpiece. I agree with other reviewers that all teenagers should read this book. Future generations would benefit from current generations reading this book.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Essential for expecting mothers (and fathers) 28 May 2001
By "hcollin" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Once elegantly dubbed "...intimate to the degree of being sacred" by the US government, in practice, breastfeeding is not regarded as highly by underdeveloped nations nor is it really held as sacred by developed countries. Thus, this book is certainly a timely essay on breastfeeding practices around the world. But Baumslag and Michels really aimed at setting the record straight for normal infant nutrition; they analyze the cultural practices surrounding natural, and hence normal, feeding in infants and bravely expose the lucrative business of artificial, and hence abnormal, infant nutrition. They also explain in great detail the almost miracle properties of human milk, as opposed to artificial formulae, and how it protects children far beyond infancy in ways no health insurance can. Unfortunately, they avoid discussing practical issues, such as the means to enhance milk production or even breastfeeding techniques. Neither pharmacologic galactogogues, such as metoclopramide, nor the scientific basis for their proper use, are discussed in any detail. Furthermore, the obvious lack of pharmaceutical support and funding for studies in the field of galactogogues (which would be an area of fruitful research, by the way) is not dealt with in this book. The fact remains that, even now, with less than 50% of all new mothers attempting exclusive breast-feeding, and with less than 20% of them maintaining it for four months in a row, there is still a lot to be learned in the fields of psychology, sociology, endocrinology and even economics to explain these disappointing statistics. All things considered, this book is a serious step in the right direction.
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