Breast milk isn’t a magical elixir that boosts IQ and thwarts illness, but it may be the residue of women’s subjugation, Hanna Rosin writes in the Atlantic. Science has never handily declared breastfeeding better than bottled formula, says Rosin. At best, it prevents gastrointestinal illness in some children, and at worst, wreaks havoc on a woman’s life, she adds.
In the 1960s the vacuum cleaner symbolized housewives’ oppression, but now it’s “another sucking sound” that’s “keeping me and my 21st-Century sisters down,” writes Rosin, who breastfed her three children, but cautions mothers against feeling pressured. “Overall, yes, breast is probably best,” she writes. “But not so much better that formula deserves the label of ‘public health menace’ alongside smoking.”