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 failure.
  • The importance of using our power as consumers to start dialogues with our care providers about breastfeeding and lactation.
  • 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 medical school.
  • 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 functions.
  • 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 happens.
  • 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 unbiased source.
  • 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 down.”
  • 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 breastfeeding.
  • 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



Call of The Wild

How We Heal Trauma, Awaken Our Own Power, and Use It For Good

Sign up to get Chapter One Delivered to your Inbox