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Breastfeeding: Aggie Professor Joan Wolf Questions the Battle Against the Bottle

Ever since First Lady Michelle Obama talked about removing barriers for breastfeeding mothers last week, we've been thinking more than usual about boobs.

Maybe that's why we were interested to read about a Texas A&M researcher's new book, Is Breast Best?, which questions the methods of studies suggesting that boob-food is a billion times better than formula.

"Hyperbole is commonplace in the world of breastfeeding advocacy, and it is staked on an overwhelming consensus that breastfeeding is the optimal form of nutrition for virtually all babies everywhere," writes Joan Wolf, an assistant professor of women's and gender studies. She writes that her book is "a study of weak science, an investigation into how cherished but unsubstantiated beliefs about health become conventional wisdom."

We wanted to check out the buzz on some motherhood blogs, but ran into real problems when we discovered that many of these blogs had photographs of mothers who weren't hot breastfeeding in public; many had gross names (e.g., "Lactivist," "La Leche League") and then things got even worse when we read the sentence "scabbed bleeding nipples" in one blog. It's almost enough to turn a person off boobs forever. But we soldiered on and checked out the reaction on some of the more popular blogs.

Over at Blacktating, the author criticized the book before it was even released, writing that "I would argue that the risks of formula feeding are understood and that those risks are not minuscule, but you don't have to be a martyr to breastfeed. Many women come to the conclusion that bottle-feeding was not as freeing as they were led to believe it would be."

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It also stirred up emotions on Mothering.com, where comments ranged from rabid ("typical 'new generation' feminists despising everything that womanhood has represented for thousands of years") to reasoned ("It ends saying she isn't against breastfeeding, just that others shouldn't condemn those who choose to or really truly can't breastfeed") to cynical/prophetic ("you don't think it's going to be a media (breast)feeding FRENZY when it actually hits the shelves??").

We're not really sure what to think, other than that, if a woman does breastfeed, there oughta be a cut-off point.

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