Oct 18, 2018
EP48: Kimberly Seals Allers on How Medicine, Big Business and
Feminism Undermine Breastfeeding
What She Shares:
- How her book, The Big Letdown, explores the connections between
medicine, big business and feminism and their effects on
breastfeeding women today.
- How the environment we are currently in sets us up for
- The importance of using our power as consumers to start
dialogues with our care providers about breastfeeding and
- Taking morality and guilt out of the current debate on
breastfeeding and birth.
- The ways feminism has let mothers down.
- The importance of re-centering mothers in the fight for
reproductive justice and freedom.
What You’ll Hear:
- How the field of pediatric medicine arose in conjunction with
the development of infant formula.
- How this original alliance has shaped the pediatric field and
its relationship to breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding and lactating management are not taught in
- The lack of holistic care for women after birth: “Women are
broken down into the sum of their parts.”
- How we only deal with the body when it’s diseased, while
there’s very little support for its normal biological
- These natural functions are embodied and unable to be
monetized. What’s the economic incentive to support them?
- Our increasingly isolated lives contribute to this loss and to
the stress that negatively impacts a woman’s milk supply.
- There are some cultures where this disruption never
- We have to examine the systems we’re living in and how they set
us up for failure.
- The importance of creating a dialogue with pediatricians and
holding them accountable for having training that comes from an
- What is “Choice Feminism”?
- Parsing out the moral language in the current debate over what
is natural in birth and breastfeeding.
- “The guilt is not about you. It’s the system that let you
- How this “blame and shame” conversation divides and distracts
people from the larger issues.
- Cultural acceptance, public support, and encouragement from
pediatricians can help women overcome obstacles to
- The high cost of our feminist inheritance of “doing it all” and
being “equal” to men.
- We have to see the work of mothering as just as or even more
important than our productive work.
- Play the long game: investing in your health at this time can
benefit you for the rest of your life.
- We can’t evaluate our individual actions without also
considering the systems in place around us.
- The importance of including motherhood in the conversation
around reproductive rights.
- Kimberly Seals Aller’s upcoming webinar offerings.
Free: Upcoming webinar on Ethics and Supporting African-American
Communities with Breastfeeding