It’s been in the news lately (see here and here) that tainted baby formula in China has created a global shortage of the good stuff, due to Chinese parents (by the millions, evidently) buying and hoarding reliable European brands.
You’re not going to be surprised at my take on this.
I do feel sorry for all those parents and hungry babies. They are caught in a web, and for most of them, there’s simply no escape. Without formula, the babies will die, or at the very least, become sick or malnourished due to improper substitutes (like plain cow’s milk).
Some will escape the web because their babies are over a year old and are eating enough solid food to survive without formula. Some could escape if the mother is willing and able to put in the struggle to start her own milk up. It can be done, but it’s not easy. It’s also not quick, so wouldn’t solve the immediate problem.
So the world’s current parents are in a seriously difficult spot with no good solutions.
But all you future parents out there? The ones who are pregnant now or hope to be at some future time?
You, folks… you lucky people have a REAL choice. You can relax, smile a small, secret smile to yourselves, and calmly go about your business. Because you have no worries.
Because you can choose to breastfeed.
Right now, before there’s a hungry baby in danger of dying from contaminated formula or from no formula on the grocery store shelves. You can make a choice that will put you forever above the fray, out of the web of bad and worse choices.
Sometime in the weeks before your baby is born, your body… your amazing mammalian body… will start to make milk. At first, it’s this thick, sticky, incredible mix of proteins, carbohydrates, and antibiotics called colostrum. This is exactly the thing a human baby needs for its first few days of life.
Exactly the thing.
Not even the formula companies can claim to do that.
Then, a few days after your little bundle puts in an appearance, that colostrum turns into real, human milk.
For real, human babies.
Isn’t that amazing? Uncontaminated, fresh, always available, always-the-right-temperature, real, human milk.
Did I mention it’s free?
What else can you do with the few thousand dollars you would otherwise spend on formula and baby food? I’m sure you can think of something.
Did you know that your milk changes its composition, depending on the age and health of your baby? You don’t need to buy “infant” formula, then switch to “older baby” formula, then switch to “toddler” formula, or whatever other marketing gibberish the formula companies are putting on the shelves. Within the intimate breastfeeding relationship, your body determines the specific needs of your baby, and adjusts accordingly.
It is amazing.
People, trust the female body. It will never be perfect, but after millions of years of evolutionary trial and error, it’s damn close. It’s miles ahead of anything a scientist can come up with in a food lab. The human female body can feed a human baby without any other additives. You don’t need iron, vitamins, rice cereal (shudder), or anything at all except your breast.
Convenient, perfect, and free.
Learn about it. Practice it. Go hang out with women who are doing it.
And trust your body.