The push for regulations that give US moms a place and time to pump their breast milk overlooks a major part of the age-old breast-feeding debate, Jill Lepore writes in the New Yorker. “Is it the mother, or her milk, that matters more to the baby?” Lepore asks. High-tech pumps and office “lactation rooms” promote a woman’s right to work more than anything else, she argues.
If encouraging breast-feeding is the goal, we should address the real obstacles: limited maternity leave and few workplace day-care centers. “Something you plug into a wall socket is a far cry from a whisper and a kiss,” Lepore writes. Regardless, the tide is likely to turn again: Breast-feeding has come in and out of fashion for centuries.