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Breast Milk the Best Milk by Jessica Wintrip, Vegan Views 97 (Summer 2003)

I had always known the dairy industry was cruel, especially the separation of calf and mother, but it was not until my first child was born five years ago that the full impact of this hit me. In my arms was my small helpless baby totally dependent on me for milk. The thought of my baby being denied this was a terrible notion, yet for many it is still not acceptable to deprive the calf of its mother’s milk in order to “feed” humans. I made another shocking discovery. It is not just calves that are deprived of their mother’s milk. Many human babies are deprived of their birthright – their own mother’s milk. Government statistics for 2000 show that at birth only 69% of babies are breast fed and this drops to 52% at two weeks and only 21% at six months. The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breast feeding for the first six months of life and that breast feeding continues for the first two years of life. The alternative for these babies is artificial milk, which in no way matches the superiority of breast milk and usually contains cows' milk in some form.

I decided to train as a breastfeeding counsellor with the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers so that I could support women who wanted to breastfeed. I would urge all other vegans to support and encourage women to breastfeed. If all babies were breastfed we would have a healthier population and there would be less demand for cows' milk. If there are vegan mothers out there who want support with breastfeeding, they can contact me, Jessica on 01823 289393 or ring the ABM 24 hour helpline on 020 7813 1481 for a counsellor on duty. The web site has useful information too: http://home.clara.net/abm .

There is something wonderful about breastfeeding your own baby. Every mother of whatever species should have the right to do this.

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Cross-reference: Children