Thursday, April 2, 2015

Feminist Jessica Valenti's Great Disservice to Mothers and Children.

    Jessica Valenti, the Guardian's feminist writer, has once again endeavored in doing mothers and children a disservice by lying about the benefits of breast milk implying that the science behind the health benefits is shoddy and inconclusive because studies do not count contrasts between lower and higher class, and white and minority mothers; plus the availability of time to breastfeed their children. As always, middle class and wealthy white feminists pulling the race card and using black women as mascots and shields;  here are some quotes from her article

"But breast milk being turned into a commodity rather than a freely shared favor has raised some hackles: what does it mean if low income women would rather pump to sell than breastfeed their own children? Are companies already targeting poor women and women of color?

No matter the ethical implications, selling breast milk is the inevitable result of telling women they’re creating “liquid gold” with every pump. So stopping the commercialization of breast milk would mean owning up to a very unpopular truth: the benefits of breastfeeding are murky at best.

Most major studies that have been done on breastfeeding conflate correlation with causation. Yes, breastfed babies are more likely to be healthy than formula-fed children – but we don’t know why that is. As professor Joan Wolf, author of Is Breast Best?, told the Guardian in 2013, “Women who choose to go through the labour of breastfeeding have made a commitment to go the extra mile for the sake of their baby’s health”.

Moms who have the time to pump for hours a day, for example, likely have more time to play and read to their children.Women whose employers provide lactation rooms and breaks are more likely to have jobs with better pay and benefits. It’s difficult to distinguish the benefits of having a more privileged or involved parent from the benefits of breastfeeding.

Even in the most recent large-scale study on breastfeeding, researchers admitted that the role mothers play in overall development could have impacted their results. (The one proven perk of breast milk is that it helps to promotegastrointestinal health – a small benefit for healthy babies, but a tremendous one for preemies who are at risk for the deadly intestinal infection, necrotizing enterocolitis.)

Despite the shaky science, we largely accept that breastfeeding isn’t just a better choice, but the only choice if you care about your kids. When New York City launched a breastfeeding initiative, for example, participating hospitals were instructed to treat formula like prescription medicine: moms who wanted formula would have to listen to a mandatory talk on the benefits of breastfeeding and give a “medical” reason for why they wanted formula. So much for my body, my choice!"

   Yes, because teaching women that they need to be responsible mothers is oppressive. Men are lawfully required to be financially responsible for their children or they are deadbeats, but Valenti thinks women not choosing to breastfeed doesn't make them deadbeat moms but are women exercising their "empowerment".
But a recent study from Brazil, also reported on by the Guardian's Sarah Boseley (Health Editor), which covers a range of 30 years of research on breastfeeding, accounted for all the variables Valenti had a problem with in demographic variables, causation for benefits(which she claimed there was no consensus what nutrients causes benefits) and her claim that the benefits are exaggerated. This study provided concrete proof that breastfeeding also impacts overall intelligence and success in life:
"The longer babies breastfeed, the more they achieve in life – major studyBrazilian study of 6,000 babies from all backgrounds since 1982 finds those who breastfed were more intelligent, spent longer in education and earned more." 

Researchers in Brazil have followed nearly 6,000 babies from birth for the past three decades, enabling them for the first time to get an idea of the long-term effects of breastfeeding. Nearly 3,500 of them, now 30-year-old adults, accepted an invitation to be interviewed and sit IQ tests for the purpose of the study. Those who had been breastfed proved to be more intelligent, had spent longer at school and earned more than those who had not been. And the longer they were breastfed as a baby, the better they tended to be doing.

It is already known that breastfeeding can increase a child’s IQ by a small amount. The question that Dr Bernardo Lessa Horta from the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil wanted to answer was whether this translated into greater intelligence and better prospects as an adult.

'Our study provides the first evidence that prolonged breastfeeding not only increases intelligence until at least the age of 30 years but also has an impact both at an individual and societal level by improving educational attainment and earning ability,' he said.

It is not just the age of the participants that makes this study unusual. Horta says it is free of the major complication of most breastfeeding studies because, when it began in 1982, it was not just the more affluent and educated mothers who breastfed in Brazil. Breastfeeding was not limited to one socio-economic group. It was, he says, evenly distributed across the social classes. So the higher achievers at the age of 30 did not come from better-off homes.

Nonetheless, in analysing their results, now published in the Lancet Global Health journal , they took account of family income at birth, parental schooling, genomic ancestry, maternal smoking during pregnancy, maternal age, birthweight and type of delivery to try to avoid any of those factors skewing the results.

They found that all the breastfed babies had greater intelligence, as measured by a standard IQ test, had spent more years in education and had higher earnings. But the longer they had been breastfed, the greater the benefits. Children who had been breastfed for 12 months had an IQ that was four points higher than those breastfed for less than a month, had nearly a year’s more schooling and earned around £70 a month more – about a third more than the average income level.

Horta acknowledged he could not completely rule out the possibility mothers who breastfed helped their babies’ development in other ways. 'Some people say it is not the effect of breastfeeding but it is the mothers who breastfeed who are different in their motivation or their ability to stimulate the kids,' he told the Guardian.

But, he said, there is evidence from other studies of the nutritional value of mother’s milk, rich in long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential for brain growth. Some studies have suggested babies with a particular genotype are more likely to get the IQ benefit from breastfeeding than others. Horta and colleagues are now looking to see whether that applies in their cohort.

Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months is recommended by the World Health Organisation. Horta said babies who had been breastfed for six months got most of the benefits enjoyed by those who were fed for longer. 'Mothers should breastfeed for as long as possible,' he said, but he recognised that extended breastfeeding is not always easy for women. Less than a quarter of new mothers in the UK are still exclusively breastfeeding by the time the baby is six weeks old.

Dr Colin Michie, chair of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health’s nutrition committee, said: “It’s widely known that breastfed babies are better protected against chest and ear infections, are at less risk of sudden infant death and are less likely to become obese, but it’s interesting to see the benefits of breastfeeding for a prolonged period of time not only benefit the baby in the early years, but also translate into increased intelligence and improved earning ability later in life.

'It is important to note that breastfeeding is one of many factors that can contribute to a child’s outcomes, however, this study emphasises the need for continued and enhanced breastfeeding promotion so expectant mothers are aware of the benefits of breastfeeding. Furthermore, once mothers have given birth, we must ensure they are properly supported to continue breastfeeding for as long as they are able to.'"
"In 2005, estimates for initiating breastfeeding and continuing to 6 months of age in the United States were 72.9% and 39.1%, respectively (). Twenty-one states achieved the first Healthy People 2010 objective of 75% of mothers initiating breastfeeding (). Several states, especially Southern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, and West Virginia) have low breastfeeding initiation rates, ranging from 48% to 59%. Racial and ethnic disparities also exist in breastfeeding initiation rates. In 2005, the rate of ever breastfeeding was 79.0% among Hispanics, 74.1% among non-Hispanic Whites, and 55.4% among non-Hispanic Blacks ().
Using four years of data from Arkansas, we found that 37.7% of women chose not to initiate breastfeeding. Addressing our first research question, reasons women provide for not initiating breastfeeding, we found that the most frequent reasons women identified were individual reasons, such as not wanting to be tied down, not liking breastfeeding, being embarrassed, and wanting the body back to oneself. The next most frequent reason was household responsibilities, such as having other children to care for, followed by circumstances such as going back to work or school. These findings are consistent with those of previous studies ().
Jessica Valenti and her movement need to be cited these studies to show them how much damage they are doing doing by teaching women to be selfish in their responsibilities when they demand fathers to be responsible first, before having access to their flesh and blood. This is a another prime example of moral hypocrisy and double standards from the feminists.

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