28 April 2009

Pill popping/Milk stopping

Just when we thought we were making in roads in convincing women that breastfeeding is by and large very good for babies, the Daily Mail has announced that some mothers in the UK have been resorting to the HIV drug called Cabergoline, which is marketed as Dostinex, in order to stop lactation. This drug is specifically made for women who have HIV so that they quite sensibly won't risk passing on the virus to their babies through breastmilk. Nevertheless, the off-market uses are interesting. Cabergoline is used by women who don't want to breastfeed for whatever reason (because it is painful) or because they don't want to wait until their milk dries up naturally. Some of the important off-market uses of the drug are also for women who have traumatic first births or for women who have still born babies and quite legitimately don't want to be reminded of their trauma.Women are also using it for 'social reasons': some women are taking the drug because they are worried that breastfeeding changing the shape of their breasts (which pregnancy does anyway). The drug takes effect very quickly (just 2 doses over 12 hours) and some obstetricians freely administer the drug to women who ask for it. Kevin Harrington, an obstetrician with a private practice at London's Portland Hospital, said that he offered cabergoline to women who could not or did not want to breastfeed.

'The breastfeeding police frown on the use of cabergoline. But for some women their breasts are an important part of their sexuality and they don't want to use them to provide milk. There is not enough difference between breast milk and infant formula to make a fuss about it.'

I don't know how I feel about this. I know that breast isn't best for everyone but it makes me a bit sad to think that women wouldn't breastfeed solely because they have been misled to think that breastfeeding is bad for your breasts. It also makes me sad to remember that we live in a world where women's breasts have solely become the play things for men.


Cherryskin said...

Makes me sad, too, that as a society we truly have forgotten what breasts are really for.

We're mammals. Our most defining feature is the fact we feed our babies with milk. How much more basic can you get?

And WHY the forgetting/denying?

Spr0ut said...

Disgusting. I'm tired of people taking things invented for one purpose and then using it for their own devices and turning it into a "right". Formula is supposed to be for sick infants who can't nurse or for the rare woman who really can't produce milk etc. and now it's EVERY woman's "choice". Condoms for married to couples to control their fertility became facilitators for premarital sex, which is now the norm and contraception is the "responsible" thing to do, and it could very well become every woman's right to take this type of drug to shut down the natural production of milk. Some women really make me embarrassed to be a woman. Is it really that controversial, breastfeeding? We don't see whales nursing on lions or mixing up concocted sub par "formulas" because they just don't want to do it/want someone who isn't the mother to feed their child. It baffles me when women with no health problems to them or their babies "choose" to formula feed from the start or early on. I wonder about their motive for having a child and how much they are willing to sacrifice. Because that's what you have to do as a parent.

Craving Cinnabon said...

while im pro breastfeeding it would be nice to have something to stop milk since for me it took 3 very painful days followed by a 7 more miserable days to stop milk flow.

Anonymous said...

Spr0ut, I think you're judgmental. While the activities of La Leche League and other pro-breadfeeding advocates has done wonderful things in educating the public about the benefits of breastfeeding, it's also caused non-breastfeeding mothers to be demonized as selfish, vain, stupid, or otherwise unworthy of being a mother. If a woman admits she doesn't want to breastfeed, people demand to know her reason. If it's not a sound medical reason, she meets with sound disapproval. Fathers don't meet with so much hatred, that's for sure!

My SIL wanted to breastfeed her daughter. She tried, but after 2 months gave up. It just doesn't happen for some women. Her now-3 year old, fed on formula, is a bright, healthy, precocious child.

And if some women are concerned about the physical affects on their bodies, what business is it of yours? It's HER body, HER life, and HER choices, not yours. Have your babies in the manner you prefer, and trust that other adults are capable of doing the same.

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