Baby, we were born to breast-feed?

A San Diego billboard grabs the attention of the blogosphere.

By Rebecca Traister
Published December 19, 2005 4:35PM (EST)

While checking out Shakespeare's Sister this weekend, I noticed her entry on a San Diego roadside billboard that reads "Babies were born to be breastfed."

That's a pretty strong statement, and Shakespeare's Sister smartly wonders whether "making women feel guilty for not breastfeeding" is the way to go.

But what I wondered is why the Web address on the billboard didn't lead to the La Leche League but, rather, to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Does it seem hinky to anyone else that the U.S. government is putting up billboards telling women that babies were born to be breast-fed? Breast-feeding is healthy and economical, but it's not a realistic option for a lot of women. For instance, women who do not get paid maternity leaves may find it difficult to breast-feed, as may women who work multiple jobs. Then there are women who for medical reasons are unable to nurse.

What were their babies born to do?

Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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