Since 1997, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended exclusive breastfeeding for a baby's first six months of life and in 2004, the Department of Health and Human Services launched their famous National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign. With these two influential organizations strongly advocating "breast is best," new moms have been inundated with statistics and information encouraging them to nurse.
This month's Atlantic Monthly presents the opposing view, with Hannah Rosin's Case Against Breast-Feeding. In her article, Rosin claims that statistics showing the benefits of breast milk have been greatly exaggerated and that societal pressure to breastfeed is preventing women from advancing to powerful positions in the business world. She suggests that the act itself leads to gender role assignments that also make co-parenting unattainable. It said:
Even in the best of marriages, the domestic burden shifts, in incremental, mostly unacknowledged ways, onto the woman. Breast-feeding plays a central role in the shift. In my set, no husband tells his wife that it is her womanly duty to stay home and nurse the child. Instead, both parents together weigh the evidence and then make a rational, informed decision that she should do so. Then other, logical decisions follow: she alone fed the child, so she naturally knows better how to comfort the child, so she is the better judge to pick a school for the child and the better nurse when the child is sick, and so on.
Do you believe that societal pressure to breastfeed has played such a central role in defining parental roles and career advancement?