Kimberly Seals Allers
“After her own struggle to breast-feed her daughter, Kimberly Seals Allers began exploring why so many American women opt out of breast-feeding. Why had she been discharged from the hospital with a gift bag full of formula? Why had a pediatrician encouraged her to supplement breast-feeding with formula? And why did she question her body’s ability to produce enough milk for her child?
“It was doubt,” said Allers. “Doubt created by the formula industry. … It’s a very effective marketing tactic.”
Allers’s book “The Big Letdown,” (St. Martin’s Press, 2017) is stacked with research to buttress her claims: formula companies make millions by convincing women they aren’t capable of one of their most basic bodily functions, and have spent millions of marketing dollars aimed at women, doctors, hospitals, scientists and policymakers to hammer this point home for the past century.
Breast-feeding is hard, says Allers. The obstacles are real, and women will need support, education and encouragement to succeed. But rather than seeing breast-feeding as a challenge worth fighting for, women are handed a bottle of formula and “told to give up and not feel bad,” she writes.
Allers says she may be an unlikely face of the breast-feeding conversation: She’s a black woman in a movement she says has been dominated by white, middle-class women. Allers is engaging with communities of color to transform the narrative surrounding breast-feeding into an empowering message.”
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