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Thursday, April 05, 2007If you haven't already started to hear the buzz, you will soon.
On today's episode of Dr. Phil, he and several other doctors (including a pediatrician and an OB/GYN) were covering a wide variety of controversial topics. Things like older women having babies, celebrity rehab, sleep issues, and so on. During the conversation, wet nursing came up.
Since I can't find the video anywhere on YouTube yet, I've put together a transcript for you.
DR. PHIL: All right. Another topic that gets people talking, and this one just, I got to tell you, this kind of creeps me out, is the use of wet nurses popping up in social circles. Can't breast-feed your baby? No problem. Call one of your friends who's breast-feeding and see if they can do it!
What is up with this?
Dr. MASTERSON: They need to really start thinking about it, because they don't know what their friends have that they could be passing to the breast milk. So at that point, you know, formula may be just as good. I mean...
McGRAW: Well, psychologically speaking, I got to tell you...
Dr. STORK: That's gross.
McGRAW: ...if I grew up and found out that my mother had been passing me Around the neighborhood, I'd be walking down the sidewalk going, 'Oh, God. Is she one of them? Oh, no!' I mean, that would be horrible.
Dr. ORDON: I know--I know I was never breast-fed. Maybe that's why I went into breast surgery. I...
Dr. MASTERSON: My...
McGRAW: Well, I wasn't either, and I'm glad now.
Dr. MASTERSON: I think there's real big time when that, you know, nursing helps to, you know, mother and child bonding. I mean, what do you think?
McGRAW: Yeah, but I don't want to bond with the neighbor.
Dr. ORDON: On a serious note, some women, for whatever reason, they may have had cancer surgery, they just may have very poorly developed breasts, they just can't breast-feed.
Dr. BROWN: There are people who cannot breast-feed and there are alternatives. They actually have mother's milk banks where this milk is actually, you know, the moms are tested, the milk is tested. It's pasteurized. I mean, I would definitely do that. But this is just really wrong on so many levels. OK?
McGRAW: We got to move on.
I find this sad.
Not because they talked down about wet nursing...after all, I can completely understand that most people would be uncomfortable with the idea in this day and age. I personally don't think there's anything wrong with it, but I understand how it weirds people out.
What makes me sad is the fact that a group of doctors that includes a pediatrician and an OB/GYN think that the only benefit of breastfeeding worth mentioning is the bonding.
Perhaps Dr. Phil and his guests fall into the 25.7 percent of Americans that think formula is just as good as breast milk.
While I have no problem with them cautioning against the casual sharing of breast milk without properly screening the mom acting as wet nurse, they could have easily done so without all the "gross" and "really wrong on so many levels" talk, you know?
What they've done is further perpetuate the myth that breastfeeding is ONLY about emotional bonding.
They've also perpetuated the idea that breastfeeding has some type of sexual aspect to it by ranting about how sick and disgusting it is for one woman to nurse another's child.
Then again, Dr. Phil and I don't agree on a lot of issues, so I don't suppose I should be surprised about this one. Again, I'm just VERY disappointed to see them fail to recognize the health benefits of breast milk and to understand that some moms may want those benefits badly enough to seek out a wet nurse. It also fails to take into account that to many women, cross-nursing babies (say while baby-sitting for a friend) is no different than letting another mother give your child a bottle.
Labels: Milk Banking and Sharing