No wetnurses in 1970s Indiana (thank gods & angels.May that vile form of human exploitation never return). Formula existed. I got a healthy microbiome from fingers in my mouth & kisseds & dirt & sharing biscuits w/ the dog.
You didn’t think it manufactured itself for Yuppies, did you? Perrier & Evian were legacies of 18th & 19th century water cures.
Nope, crisis water is a thing; More so the tech to make the bottles. (Fuck you, too, Dupont.) Marketing it was Nestle’s evil genius.
There is not an industry in the world that doesn’t exploit for profit.
Hi, Eugenics. Haven’t seen you in a while.
You know who’s watching? Nestle. Silicon Valley. Monsanto. Medical device manufacturers. Pharma. Plastics.
No, think... industrial dairy farm.
Except Uberized. Gig economy.
I swear on a stack of IUDs that I am not exaggerating how badly this can go.
When wetnurses were common, women couldn’t afford to feed themselves had to let their babies starve. They were paid in room, board & pocket change to feed wealthy babies. Women whose babies died of diarrhea or diphtheria sold their milk while weeping about their dead child.
Milk supply expands to fit needs, but not indefinitely, nor perfectly. A woman with a 6 mo old hired to feed a 2 week old isn’t providing either kid with what they need. Is it better than nothing? Sure, but so it sugar water with vitamin supplements & fats & proteins.
But the Marissa Mayers & Kim Kardashians of the world don’t want a crying, grieving poor person in their house. No, much better if the milk comes in anonymous, cute-kawaii!! insulated boxes, delivered by sexy young men in clean, new cars. Blue Nipple. Promo code LECHE!
But... The woman with the pump who is supplying Blue Nipple for an extra $30 a day? Where’s her baby? What’s her baby eating? Is her baby thriving?
Hey, Brave New World readers: Here’s your Deltas & Epsilions. No cloning or decanting needed.
I mentioned contraception. Yeah, hormonal contraception can interfere with milk production, requiring supplemental formula.
You know what else interferes with milk production?
Leche Paratroopers hate to admit it, but lactation is NOT contraception...
...except the way all babies are contraception. Ovulation may cease, but exhaustion stops ovulation, too. Which exclusive, on-demand breastfeeding causes. Plus, birth is injury. Everyone’s tired, half the partnership is sitting on ice packs, nobody’s having sex.
At best, it lasts 6 months. 3 mos of healing, 3 mos fatigue... Calling LAM contraception is functional bullshit, because it is unreliable, especially in the last month, when you may have ovulated but don’t know it yet.
And 2 kids in diapers SUCKS.
...what’s egalitarian about that? Why should the man respect her right to refuse sex when she says she’s too tired/sore? She was just hanging out at home. He’s supporting her. So what if she gets pregnant? Another kid doesn’t cost much more. Reusable diapers & breastfeeding.
I’m not talking about the 18th century. I just described the 1950s in the US in the white suburbs. Marital rape. Financial coercive control & abuse. This is within living memory.
Pray for that washing machine. It’s the last holdout here.
If you aren’t sick to your stomach at the thought of being FORCED to give up your agency to breastfeed... okay, here’s the obverse: if we make formula expensive and rare because we’ve killed global demand for it, we can force women to breastfeed.
Just not their own children. Remember, Blue Nipple needs producers. A lactating woman is a necessary resource. You know, we know how to *make* people lactate. It’s not that hard. A few hormones and some stimulation. Easier if they’re already doing it, but we can force it.
Now let’s give the cops an incentive to arrest more young women between 18 & 40. Hey, the ones protesting for their right to work & determine their own health care! Give ‘em a felony & 5 years as a milk machine. They’ll never work again. Problem fucking solved.
Have an approved kid & your felony is expunged, except not really. You’ll never work again thanks to that long employment gap. Sell some leggings. Or makeup. Recruit your neighbors & facebook friends for bonuses.
Hey, have you heard about Blue Nipple’s free breast pump?
And if we’re okay with milking humans, why not let them serve their sentences as incubators? The adoption and trafficking market can’t survive on stolen Guatemalan kids forever.
What about kidney donors? Liver lobe donors? Heart donors? Let’s quit using that expensive machine dialysis & hook the male prisoners up to famous violinists and CEOs. Gender parity, after all.
This is a very steep slope made of ice & ICE & coconut oil & teflon ball bearings. It’s so slippery that it’s already happening. The organ trade is all over refugee camps, China & SE Asia. (See: The Red Market, Scott Carney)
Surrogate wombs - Indian women in Nepal & Bangladesh (Radiolab, Birthstory, Jun 7 2018) Baby trade in US - international & regional adoptions. Public foster to Private adoption agency pipeline. Plasma. Milk banks. Uncompensated prison labor for private profit.
The Religious Right already teams up with the aspirational motherhood lifestyle influencers to promote a vision that says women who can’t or can’t afford to breastfeed are failures. (See: Mormon Mommy Blogging as career.)
Making people commodities starts with 1 act. I can’t pay for passage to Virginia colony, but I promise to work it off. The captain sells my bill to a farmer. Who cheats me on my pay, but eventually, even as innumerate as I am, I get free. That’s indenture. Slavery for time.
My brother is captured in a local war. I’m traded for my brother & cousin. I’m the new lord’s 4th wife. My job is to feed the babies of his favored wives. He trades away my one surviving girl. Politics. I die young, my bones depleted by two continuous decades of lactation.
Or a girl is captured in a local war. The conquering warlord sells her to a third lord as booty. That’s life slavery. She has a baby in captivity. That baby is saleable, too. That’s chattel slavery. It’s that simple.
Don’t say having a baby is her choice. Pregnancy isn’t always voluntary. Avoiding pregnancy isn’t free & requires medical help. Circumstances at conception may favor being a BF SAHM, but 40 weeks is a long time. Conditions change. Children aren’t punishments.
Now the obverse: formula also oppresses women and children.
(I said I’m not ceding ground to either side. I am Team Everybody Eats. Also team Everybody gets a say.)
Don’t get me wrong - daycare is the BEST thing there is for socializing small human beings. Kids should be in crèches for 4-6 hours a day from the time they can crawl. Humans are social animals & need to be around others at the same developmental level regularly.
Locking toddlers & 1 parent in suburbs w/ no interaction except each other stunts children’s emotional development & isolates their parents. Who then get fucking squirrelly as all hell.
(See above, antivax, aspirational lifestyle. Note that the US center of this shit - Utah- has highest use of benzos, anxiolytics & antidepressants & women’s suicide attempts.)
But that’s not what we’re doing. Too many people are working for daycare. It costs more to put a kid in daycare where I live than out of state tuition at the top flight (public) University where I work.
And unlike your kid’s college, you can’t finance daycare with your (or their) future earnings. You gotta pay every month, usually when your career & budget don’t have much wiggle room.
I know (white, educated) nannies who make more than my grad students & I pay as well as I’m allowed. (I flatter myself that we have better hours & conditions; no poop, no vomit, tantrums limited to sun downing emeritus Freudians) Hell, babysitting bought my Bachelors.
But if you stop working, since you’re only working to pay for daycare anyway - and stay at home...
If that’s not structural sexism related to childbearing, I don’t know what is.
This is especially true if they can fill that gap with anything, from ‘volunteer’ work like open-source coding/app dev or calling themselves independent contractors, even just handyman/shadetree mechanic/volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. Women don’t get that benefit.)
So. You’re a woman who wants a career and a baby. If you don’t go into labor with an extra year’s salary in the bank, if your marriage/partnership doesn’t survive the earthquake that is parenthood, if your employer doesn’t approve...
FMLA doesn’t require you get YOUR job back. Like, if you were tech support & climbed the ladder to good tech support jobs (say for a specific client), your employer doesn’t have to put you back. You can be put back in the pool, taking rando incoming.
*Note: Many shrinks are considered contractors, not employees. No benefits in many practices. Self-employment taxes. No FMLA or protections. Don’t become a shrink it you think it’s a route to wealth, job security & happiness.
We don’t talk about it, but bad employers make new moms’ working conditions worse to make them quit. Some employers feel betrayed that she took time off. They had to pay a temp. Mom’ll take more time. They get passive aggressive & take it out on the returning employee...
Fulfill her destiny to be a stay at home mother!
That’s why I call it the Fuck My Life Act.
As Admiral Akbar says, It’s a TRAP.
Babymilk is the secret sauce that makes the daycare ‘maternity leave is a shitstorm’ - ‘take this job & shove it’ -’Kill your career’ cycle work. So if we just didn’t have formula...
No. Please go back to the top. Biological determinism, forced lactation, human tissue harvesting, Blue Nipple ads on podcasts.
That is the Bad Place that looks like The Good Place only when compared to the shitstorm. The one with chowder fountains.
Babymilk increases the risk your kid will die, but working increases the chance your kid will go to school & you’ll both be able to financially stable by the time the kid reaches adolescence. It’s the same trap, and all of these women are gambling with their old age care.
There’s no win here, because both sides of this are based on
To make this work, get that shit out of the mix. We must stop punishing the people who sustain our species. Since it takes two to make a baby, both people have to take parental leave.
Yes, both. And not Zuckerberg’s fake “paternity leave” where the dude spent six weeks sitting on the couch & playing Fortnite after changing one diaper a day. (That calls for justifiable homicide as far as I’m concerned.) Here’s my ideal, assuming a 2 parent family:
Both parents are off for at least 3 weeks before due date, and for at least 12 weeks after. Let’s say 16 weeks guaranteed, required, paid leave. It takes a minimum of 6 weeks to heal after an uncomplicated vaginal birth. 10 from a C. (Also, visiting nurse, every 2-3 days.)
Also, babies have fucked sleep schedules until about 12 weeks, with a especially bad patch around 9-11 weeks. (Shaking trauma SPIKES at 10 weeks b/c babies that were eating & sleeping just... stop. That software build is BUGGY as fuck! But it passes in the next patch.)
Both parents need some fucking sleep during that time. That’s why both parents are off. Right now, women get so sleep deprived after birth, plus the pain & the lifestyle expectations and JustNoMIL stories and ...
(As a PTSD researcher, I can tell you how to create PTSD: put someone in pain for an extended time frame, expose their private parts, don’t tell them what’s happening, deprive them of sleep for days/weeks/months & wake them up just when they hit REM....
... Why yes, PTSD & post-partum depression *do* look remarkably alike to me.)
Caveat: this assumes healthy baby & parents. Disability can extend it, or transform it to Disabled caretaker. Also, no exceptions. Jimmy Kimmel takes paternity leave & Mindy Kahling subs for him. The sandwich artist and the manicurist and the roofer take leave & get paid.
This lasts until kid starts crawling, around 6-8 months. Kiddo spends 4-6 hours a day at the crèche, chillin’ with other babies. Both parents need adults, meaningful work, alone time. Both work 25 hours a week, divide as needed. At a year, baby goes full time crèche.
Parents get their adult lives back. One wants to stay home? Kid still goes to crèche. A single adult cannot provide all social-emotional development. Volunteer. Have relationships w/ adults. Shower. Be a human who isn’t a baby bot. Children belong to themselves first.
We’ve never tried full employment. What we call full employment is 4-12% of adults not working. 4% is those drawing Unemployment benefits. It doesn’t count those who have been unemployed longer, are taking care of children/elderly, working 2+ part time jobs or gigging it.
Which means dude, we’ve got so much excess capacity that we can send about 1% of the workforce home for 4 months & part-time for another 8. (Also, weren’t you just shitposting about population crash, not enough workers for tax base? Don’t we want people having more babies?)
No, seriously. Do you think there’s a giant ball of gold at Ft Knox? You think that’s a good idea? Why? Don’t. Back to basics: gold isn’t edible, bad insulator, heavy. It’s just shiny. We stopped doing money that way & it’s a REALLY good thing.
(Go read Debt, the First 5000 years, by David Graeber; and Capital, by Thomas Piketty. And Political Order & Political Decay, by Francis Fukuyama. And The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein. That’s your 101 start. Come back when you’v finished. Take notes, you will be graded!)
Also, no more Glenn Beck for you.
(How old are you again? Over 50? Yeah, I’m gonna outlive you by 20, 30 years. I don’t actually care what you think. 🖕)
... You’ve made it abundantly clear that *your* parents didn’t have daycare available.
(Anyway, moving on, and we’re in the downslope now... Thanks for sticking with me! )
And Protestant, but only a few Dissenter sects. Mostly Anglican.
So probably not you. Be glad - the food & music is much better when you’re not stuck with only English Country Dancing and boiled turnips.
A corporation can’t skip every country. Well, they could confine themselves to countries that haven’t signed human rights accords, but North Korea isn’t very lovely this time of year.
Do we support a world where anyone can be commodified
one where our commodities & those who sell them work for us?
Like money, corporations exist by our will.
They can be dismantled. Surprisingly easily. (Hi, MySpace!)
Thanks for sticking with me. If you like my dystopian view of humanity, I write fiction! I’m releasing a fantasy series about a civil war. I’d love to have you along for that ride.