Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Of Breasts and Udders

Disclaimer: This is a strongly worded post, which you don’t see so often from me. I apologise in advance and if anyone is of a particularly sensitive nature they may want to turn away now and resist reading on. In my defence I will say just this: I am NOT vegan  and am not in any way touting MY way as the ideal. In fact I am arguing that the whole human take on milk is wrong, that we have it all screwed up, and that major psycho-social changes need to take place publicly, openly and honestly.

I will reiterate: I am NOT VEGAN, though I am rapidly moving in that direction for a multitude of reasons. But weaning takes time...

Breastmilk, naturally. But which kind?

The whole world seems to have erupted over the recent Time article. YOU know the one I mean. But one thing nobody seems to be talking about is a topic so fundamental it is the oversized cow in the room...

Which would you rather drink, human breastmilk or cow’s milk? Cow’s breast milk, or udder-milk if you like. Which would you rather your children drank, and for how long? Should we be weaned off ALL milk as infants? At what age? 1 month, 6 months, a year, 6 years? Or perhaps more realistically, should we all stop drinking milk when our mother’s milk naturally dries up, whenever that is? Or should we be building up our milk-banks to enable all children to benefit from full-term breastmilk. Maggie Thatcher will forever be remembered as the one who “took away our free milk”... will the current leaders be man, or even woman - enough to make our human milk banks a top priority for the future health of our race?

I find it fascinating, this discussion on child-weaning, and the views of scorn and disgust over “extended” breastfeeding, whilst we all continue to guzzle our pints of cow (or goat or sheep) milk quite happily in the form of café lattes and cereal bowls and smoothies, cheeses, sauces, yoghurts, not to mention all the products containing lactose or its by-produts that you probably don’t even realise are there. Tip: if its not labelled as vegan, it almost certainly harbours some form of lactose.

And while we suffer more and more from lactose-intolerance because our biology and needs are fundamentally different to a calf’s, we try to suffer silently or perthaps cut down a bit whilst all the time berating the worthy mothers of our society for continuing to feed our children human breastmilk - the only kind of milk that was truly meant for human consumption and the only kind of milk that benefits our system wholly and properly, with 1001 nutrients and benefits for our growing kids that they simply cannot get in ANY other form. It’s time we faced up to the facts and stopped thinking of cow’s milk - especially in its pasteurised form which rids it of all the good AND bad bacteria - as n-o-r-m-a-l whilst human breastmilk is somehow 'weird and hippy'. Please wake up to the realities. Your body was meant to digest human milk. The topic as to how long for is debatable. But incontrovertibly, YOU ARE NOT A COW (whatever anyone says), nor even a calf.

And yet still we have this stigma, this ‘ickiness’ around breastfeeding and human milk, whilst the supermarkets are stuffed floor to ceiling with artificially extracted udder-milk - the calves for whom this was made having been sent to slaughter or kept on as future dairy queens when their work was done.

How do you feel about breastmilk smoothie now?


  1. Well put, I am not vegan either, but I don't consume milk, except for the occasional ice cream. Having said that, my husband when we married asked me how I expected to get our kids to drink milk if I did not. I informed him that milk was not necessary. In his defense his concern was calcium. Not to worry , I told him, the calcium in green vegetables is more bio available than the calcium in milk, not only that nuts like almonds deliver calcium.

  2. I am not vegan either, but I agree it's pretty bonkers that everyone is totally addicted to drinking cow's milk - i think people just think of it as white stuff in bottles and forget that a cow had to stand still and uncomfortably sacrifice itself against its will so we could have something to put in our tea and on our breakfast cereal, yet a human who does this is thought of as weird. I think it's because men, and consequently women too, have forgotten that human breasts were invented primarily for feeding human young, rather than simply as a sexual bit of kit for playing with and showing off. yeah, boobs are sexy but they're mainly put there for feeding our babies. People who think that's weird should really look at themselves more closely and what the hell they think tits were really invented for. It's a no-brainer! Nice post Zoe ;-)

  3. Exactly Lisa! It's the age-old argument of "where do you get your calcium from?" if you don't consume dairy. Um, hello? Do you think that our bodies are really so badly engineered as to be unable to survive without relying upon another species' breastmilk? And yet doctors tout this stuff too... it's bonkers!

    Thanks for commenting :)

  4. Thanks Motherfunker :) Yep, we are totally blindsighted as a society. How did this come about? I think sexuality is definitely a player, but somewhere along the line business has come into it too... is cow's milk the oil of the food industry?!

  5. I am so glad you wrote this. I do not call myself Vegan because of many of the things you mentioned, but I do not knowingly consume dairy, also for many of the reasons you mentioned.

    I have wondered how in the heck we are missing this point! That we we will happily pour into a bottle another mammals milk, but shun those who make it ourselves.

    Well done!

  6. Most awesome post ever! Cow's milk can suck it! I never drank it as a child and my daughter has neer tasted it. Coconut milk and almond milk for us!

  7. I hesitated to respond but intemperance got the better of me...a breastmilk smoothie sounds delicious ! Though I should add it would have to be my wife's milk, and yes, I have her milk every day.

    In some mysterious way her milk is more intimate than sex; perhaps because it's taboo.

    More than that, this respondent sayith not, lol


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