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There’s actually someone more scathing in her assessment of natural mothering than me

Psychologist Susan Franzblau is even more scathing in her indictment of the inherent misogyny of natural parenting than I am. I recently came upon her chapter Deconstructing Attachment Theory: Naturalizing the Politics of Motherhood included in the 2002 book Charting a New Course for Feminist Psychology. Although Franzblau is refers to attachment theory, it seems […]

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Natural mothering seeks to shame women for daring to consider their own needs

I’ve often noted with surprise that no sooner do I write about a topic than natural mothering advocates rush to illustrate my claims. This time though, I’ve been preempted. I had already planned this post when New Zealand lactivists serendipitously came to my aid with the perfect quote to lead it. Access to infant milk formula should […]

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Midwives don’t know much about history

An article in Quartz illustrates the way that midwives are trying to rewrite the history of childbirth. The piece, entitled The reason American women over-medicalize childbirth has its roots in racial segregation, by Annalisa Merelli is pure, unadulterated nonsense. There were three reasons obstetricians and hospitals came to dominate childbirth in the industrialized world and […]

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The cultural construction of women in natural mothering

For the past two days I have written about the cultural construction of nature in natural mothering. In Mothering like an animal, I pointed out that mothering in nature has been thoroughly romanticized, starting with refusal to acknowledge the extraordinarily high death rates from childbirth and breastfeeding in the animal kingdom. Yesterday I wrote about […]

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Natural parenting and alternative health are based on a TV commercial for margarine

In perhaps the ultimate irony, the contemporary natural parenting and alternative health movements are based on a TV commercial for margarine. The tag line of the 1970’s commercial for Chiffon Margarine was “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.” Mother Nature tastes the margarine and declares that it is her “sweet, creamy butter.” When apprised […]

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Mothering like an animal

The central conceit of natural parenting is that we can and should recapitulate the practices of our ancient forebears. Why? Because that’s what brings us closest to nature and nature has, though evolution, optimized animals for perfection in parenting. Consider this supremely stupid parenting meme posted by the geniuses at Occupy Breastfeeding: “Breastfeeding is too […]

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Dear LA Times, imitation of my work is the sincerest form of flattery but …

There is nothing more satisfying than having your work reach the mainstream. It is truly thrilling to read people expounding on the themes that I have blogged about for over a decade and collected in my book Push Back: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting. But it’s a little disconcerting to see it in […]

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Anti-vaccine social media: peer to peer sharing of ignorance and fear

Winston Churchill famously noted: A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. And that was before lies traveled at the speed of the internet. While the internet has brought many improvements to our lives, it has dramatically empowered liars. That is especially true of social […]

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Breastfeeding community roiled by brawl over ideological purity

The lactation community is tearing itself apart over an issue of ideological purity and no one could be happier about it than I am. Lactivism is a cult, and like most cults, it places a premium on ideological adherence and punishes those who don’t demonstrate appropriate ideological purity. Exhibit A: A Change.org petition designed to […]

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Co-sleeping: there is no benefit of breastfeeding worth risking a baby’s death

During the Vietnam War, a military officer remarked about the village of Ben Tre: “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it. The quote came to epitomize the brutality and absurdity of the war itself, a war based on killing people in order to “save” them. I was reminded of that quote by […]

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