Posted by: gdevi | May 26, 2011

Baby pills

Nestle has manufactured breast-milk capsules. Start the pill-popping right out of the womb.

There is a reason why a woman’s breasts get filled with milk on the same day she gives birth to a child. This is our crucial connection to our species as mammals, as those who raise their youngs. Every member of the mammalian species shares this milk-producing capacity for its female members.  But I can completely see the need for a breast-milk substitute; some new mothers do not produce enough milk for the baby, nursing might be painful for the mother and the child, the child takes longer to learn how to suckle (it is easier for the baby to latch onto the rubber nipple as opposed to the human one)–the biological needs and symptoms can be quite distressing. So it is fortunate that there is such a thing as a breast-milk substitute. But it is sort of like that Charlie Chaplin movie or what Hegel observed about History: every historical event happens twice; once as a solemn and serious event, and the second time as a farce. It is unfortunate that this farcical breast-milk capsule thing will make its round amongst us.  So you don’t even want the new parents to wash a feeding bottle, boil it and sterilize it, measure out the formula, boil water, mix it, and cool it? You want to spare them even that much effort to feed their child? Why?

I find the way Nestle is marketing this pill-popping appalling–“quick, easy, hygienic”.  Really? Really? Raising a child is not quick, easy, or hygienic.  It is just sad that these have become the criteria to pick what is life-giving for your child. Mothers and fathers remember how their child struggled with something, how you struggled with your child, how their struggle produces empathy within you to help them, how you discover the patience you thought you never had within you when you see your child struggle. Quick, easy, hygienic just don’t cut it, Nestle. You have to make the road by walking it; not quick and easy. I find the hygienic part particularly worrisome. Have you noticed how pediatric allergies are on the rise as never before? The new prescription in the western world to bring children up in a germ-free, super-sanitized (artificially) world is part of the allergy and immunity problems. While children should grow up with good hygiene, we should not create artificial environments for them to grow up; their bodies need to develop natural immunities naturally to the world around them. The mother’s human breast and skin are infinitely better for a child than the boiled and sterilized bottle with the pill dissolved in it at the right temperature by a machine.

When we were in grad school, one of our friends told us this very funny story about her six-year old daughter. She was taking a bath with her daughter, and her daughter kept looking at her, and looking at her, and finally asked her, “mummy, when I grow up, will my boobies be as long as yours?”  “Yes, my dear, yes,” our friend told her, “yes, it will be. It is called children.”

Here is another example of technology used meaningfully: Lamborghini police cars in Italy. No Ford Taurus or Crown Victoria. The perfect profession to use a Lamborghini. It would be hard to lose a Lamborghini police car in a car chase. When they were kids, my brother and all the boys in my family used to play with toy Lamborghinis; some vehicles are made for a specific purpose and I think Lamborghinis make great police cars. Frightening speed limits, needs really qualified drivers, and to be used on the road only for real purposes and not for fun.

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