Friday, 20 June 2008

Tell me what breastmilk really is, please frequently field questions like:
  • when do I start feeding my baby real food?
  • she isn't eating very much real food, what should I do?
  • how much real food should my baby be getting?
My policy has long been to answer every question with a question... What I'd like to ask is:

What on earth have you been feeding the baby so far? Spackle?

I am familiar with the popular cultural idea that babies aren't really people, so I suppose it makes some deranged sense that the food made specifically for them (by a human body) probably can't be real either. 

I mean, truly, babyhood is just a transition period from non-existent to potential humanness (which happens on a sliding scale, generally just a bit older than the child currently is), so obviously anything that happens in that period is, by definition, not really happening. 

 At least not to a real person. 

They won't remember it anyhow, which is somehow justification for behaving as if their feelings or experiences aren't real. Hmm... back to that real thing, already.

Breastmilk (and all the commercial products made to look or, no, just look... vaguely like it when viewed from a great distance in a dim light) probably, by natural extension of the thought-process involved, would automatically not really be real or worth anything either.

But, people: what is milk, if it isn't food? is the baby growing on, thriving on... surviving on, if it's not food? What possible other category could it go into? Here is a selection of options:
  • transportation methods
  • building materials
  • ideas
  • furniture
  • pets
  • genre fiction
  • sport
Life is filled with all kinds of spectacular mental gymnastics. The maneuver that puts breastmilk (or its artificial substitutes) into a category with wishful thinking and the tooth fairy is very odd to see in action.

So, to clarify: breastmilk is the ideal human food. In a healthy mother, there are no nutritional deficits (no nutrient required by a human body that is not supplied by milk) and the only reason we move on to a wider variety of food is... okay, there're 2 reasons:
  1. eventually mom would have to eat more than her bodyweight in food to satisfy the children's caloric needs, and;
  2. it would become a closed system with energy used up and not supplied from anywhere else which, until people can do photosynthesis, can't succeed.
It's food. 

It's real. 


1 comment:

  1. How do all those savages living in the jungle far away from supermarkets manage to raise children when there is no "real" food around for them. Why, they feed them breast milk for 3 or more years and the children manage to grow and everything. Amazing.