chapter  13
14 Pages

Breastfeeding and sustainability: Loss, cost, ‘choice’, damage, disaster, adaptation and evolutionary logic

ByCAROL BARTLE

Breastfeeding is as old as human life itself. Infants are born into the same environment as always – their mothers. It is the context, milieu and the cultures affecting their mothers that have altered. This does not change infant needs and instinctive newborn behaviours. The growth and survival of humans has been dependent on breastfeeding women, wet-nursing,1 breastmilk, close women-kin, allomothers2 and extended family support structures. Hrdy writes: ‘For thirty-five million years primate infants stayed safe by remaining close to their mothers day and night. To lose touch was death’ (1999: 97).