Skip to main content

What do Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, money and culture have to do with human milk sharing?

My contribution to World Milk Sharing Week


What do Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, money and culture have to do with human milk sharing?

I was kindly invited by a breastfeeding dad - yes you read that right - to write a post on milk sharing.
I am currently on holiday in my home town of Alicante in Spain where my brain has gone into relax mode but have still found myself trying to stumble across a story for the purposes of this article.

I wanted to look back and find the commonality of women feeding their children, their sisters' children and their friends' children. 

I spoke with my mother who recalled talk of milksharing in her own family but, it was in connection with an older brother who died before she was born.
Then I met a Muslim friend in the street and we talked about how in her culture babies who are not part of the same family but have been breastfed by the same woman are considered siblings and therefore can't marry. 
I called some associations in Alicante and a lovely girl told me that although she didn't know where I could find historical information, she did mention that her late grandmother breastfed other children.

What I was looking for I couldn't seem to find so I just tried to relax with my family. 
So we rented the movie The Lorax based on the tale by Dr. Seuss. 
It's an ecological story of how greed destroyed nature until everyone forgot how nature looked like and what impact it had for ourselves and all the things around us.
There is a point in the story where the main character is explaining what real trees are like and the evil guy trying to control everything reacts by shouting how disgusting the earth is and how it breeds dirt and bugs and pollutes the air. He has become rich and all powerful by selling bottled air to people in this polluted world and I couldn't help thinking of the similarities with the way milksharing is depicted today on the few ocassions that it is even mentioned: as something that is weird and disgusting, risky, dirty even, as something that it is alien to us when actually it's what makes us us

Earlier this year a couple of friends had minor issues with their babies. The biggest problem was trying to gain support from professionals for formula not to be administered as a simple remedy. One midwife threatened my friend with calling the social services if she accepted donated milk from any of us which
we had expressed, something that for me came naturally after feeling my milk building up as the mum was telling me she needed help.
I never felt anything beyond the fact that a human baby needed milk, a friend's baby. I had milk so why wouldn't I help? 
It was as natural as if someone was crying and I happened to have a handkerchief with absolutely no relation to the social perception of women fighting each other in their motherhood capabilities according to production, quality or endurance of their 'job'. 
We do not do that. We mammals mother our babies. We nurture and care for them. We impose milksharing on cows. We steal their babies milk for our babies while we censor our own mothers' power and abilities because somebody once put a label to an imitation of something that cannot be imitated. 

In The Lorax a tree was cut down. Then another and then some more until there were no trees left of even a memory of them. The perpetrator didn't have bad intentions. He simply saw that there was a need for his product.
Not that long ago there was a culture of normality of mothers feeding their babies, 
and indeed the babies of others. 
I am glad that even if I was personally unable to find out much from our past culture of milksharing, perhaps because milksharing was seen as an ordinary act of love within the greater matriarchal story that remains unwritten, I was thrilled to see so many references in my life to the new seed that will not allow our 'tree' - the milk of human kindness - to be forgotten. 
Our milk is ours. Our babies are ours.
Our milk is free. Our babies are too.



UNLESS someone like you 
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
It's not." Dr. Seuss  


Ps: This post is dedicated to Trevor Macdonald a breastfeeding dad and everyone who cares a whole awful lot.

Popular posts from this blog

Ya no hacemos homeschooling

Vengo de llorar en una reunión del colegio de mi hijo mayor, a quien desescolarizamos a los 7 años. Cumple 14 este mes  y este ha sido su primer año en la escuela por decisión propia, por si es de interés vivimos en Londres. Su tutor nos ha enseñado sus resultados finales y son los mejores de su grupo, y en todas las asignaturas está muy por encima de la media nacional. Ha resaltado sus habilidades de liderazgo, el ser capaz de animar a los demás a no molestar y concentrarse, su capacidad de debatir y la seguridad con la que lo hace incluso con chicos mayores que él. Su tutor ha dicho que se quita el sombrero ante nosotros porque sus resultados son increíbles. Y aquí es donde me he puesto a llorar, siendo la principal responsable de su educación (aunque desde la perspectiva autónoma que hemos seguido en realidad lo ha sido él) me he pasado muchos años bajo presión, escuchando la misma retahíla que todos los homeschoolers conocen tan bien....

¿Y no seguís el currículo escolar? ¿Y cómo …

Lo siento, pero no estás embarazado.

Recientemente una amiga hablaba por facebook de lo mucho que le irrita que haya hombres que diciéndose feministas quieran usurpar solapadamente aquello que biológicamente es "competencia" de las mujeres. Y sé exactamente a lo que se refiere, pero no se puede decir en voz alta.


Por una parte el feminismo comprendido por algunas y mal usado por otras ha vuelto a ser un tema de conversación y ya era hora porque las mujeres en todo el mundo seguimos sufriendo abusos y discriminaciones por nuestro genero.
En el debate social actual, sigue habiendo mucha confusión y dentro de la búsqueda de la igualdad hay muchos hombres heterosexuales que dicen querer ser padres activos y a menudo lo hacen a través de la usurpación verbal de lo que nos pertenece biológicamente y sí biológicamente tengo un amigo transexual que parió y amamanta y a este amigo siendo hombre también le pertenece el embarazarse, parir y amamantar.
La cuestión es que a menudo los hombres me cuentan que se sienten desp…

La dificil tarea de criar a un hijo

Si alguien nos diera una planta y nos dijera que tenemos que cuidar de ella pero que no podemos darle luz, ni regarla, ni abonarla. Pensaríamos que esta planta pertenece a una especie muy exótica y desconocida. Y se nos haría una tarea muy difícil.

Casi todos los métodos, libros y programas que más venden sobre crianza, parecen haber eliminado lo aprendido en experimentos como el de Harlow y Harlow.
Experimentos crueles que demostraron que el vinculo afectivo, el amor de una madre era más importante que el alimento.

Hemos medicalizado el parto y esto nos ha demostrado que el parto es patológico y complejo.
Hemos comercializado el alimento de nuestros hijos, y esto nos ha hecho incapaces de amamantarlos.
Hemos intelectualizado nuestros instintos hasta crear la necesidad de libros, métodos y clases que nos digan como cuidar de nuestros hijos.
El mismo abuso que esta penado por la ley si produce un genio musical se llama método. A las madres que lo practican se las denom…