Pediatricians say you should but it's okay if you don't. The hospital says, "Breast is best," but sends you home with formula "just in case." Your sister-in-law says, "Of course you should!" Your mother says, "I didn't, and you turned out just fine." Celebrities are photographed nursing in public, yet breastfeeding mothers are asked to cover up in malls and on airplanes. Breastfeeding is a private act, yet everyone has an opinion about it. How did feeding our babies get so complicated?
Journalist and infant health advocate Kimberly Seals Allers breaks breastfeeding out of the realm of "personal choice" and shows our broader connection to an industrialized food system that begins at birth, the fallout of feminist ideals, and the federal policies that are far from family friendly. The Big Letdown uncovers the multibillion-dollar forces battling to replace mothers' milk and the failure of the medical establishment to protect infant health. Weaving together research and personal stories with original reporting on medicine, big pharma, and hospitals, Kimberly Seals Allers shows how mothers and babies have been abandoned by all the forces that should be supporting families from the start--and what we can do to help.
"With abundant research to back her narrative, journalist Allers, who has two children, shows how and why American women have been made to feel ashamed of breast-feeding...Allers makes the message loud and clear: since breast-feeding provides the most benefits for mother and child, for those who are capable of doing so, it should be the feeding method of choice. Easily digested research and personal stories in support of breast-feeding and its importance to mothers and their children." -Kirkus Reviews
"Formula companies make millions by convincing women they aren’t capable of one of their most basic bodily functions, and have spent millions of marketing dollars aimed at women, doctors, hospitals, scientists and policymakers to hammer this point home for the past century. Allers is...transform[ing] the narrative surrounding breast-feeding into an empowering message." - The Washington Post