Photo of breast feeding policewoman during the Sichuan Earthquake from The Moderate Voice
Here’s heartening news for breast milk advocates: In the wake of the recent milk powder scandals (most recently, the possibility that one type of milk was causing babies to grow breasts), mothers in Shanghai at least are turning to the nip.
A survey by the Shanghai Morning Post found that 85% of 452 Shanghai residents believed breast milk to be superior to other dairy substitutes. Though the whole thing may just be a quality issue rather than Shanghai mothers really thinking “breast is better.” After all:
About 33 percent of the respondents said they will no longer buy domestically manufactured milk powder because they doubt the quality, while 41 percent said they usually buy imported milk powder.
About 10 percent said they will buy milk powder that comes at a price higher than 300 yuan ($44) per jar (900 grams), while 20 percent said they do not want to pay more than 100 yuan per jar.
Some 43 percent said they will go for milk powder that is in the price range of 100 to 200 yuan per jar.
According to an interview with breast milk advocate, Yanhong Wheeler, using formula is a new phenomena that caught on quicker than anybody expected. The convenience of formula -which let coddling grandparents in on the feeding process, coupled with misinformation about their nutritional quality and the effect of breastfeeding on breasts (they don’t actually sag from it, girls) made breastfeeding decline from 76% in 1998 to 64% in 2004. But with melamine and now hormone scares, it seems infant formula has finally lost some of its appeal.
Then again, perhaps Shanghai mothers are lucky in that they can, for the most part, choose to breast feed – there’s even stores that sell pumps to make it easier for you to draw milk from the office. It’s hard to imagine someone without the privilege of a white collar job (or no job at all) being able to sit down shirtless for 1/10th of the day.