Michele Bachmann vs. Michelle Obama in breastfeeding war

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Michele Bachmann trashes Michelle Obama over breastfeeding.
​When the teabaggers made Michele Bachmann their queen, were they hoping she'd start a war with First Lady Michelle Obama over breastfeeding?

Because that's what she's doing.

Mrs. Obama has promoted the idea of more flexible workplace rules for nursing moms, and an IRS ruling that makes breast pumps and nursing supplies tax deductible.

For this, Bachmann accused the First Lady of an evil plot to put us all at the mercy of the nanny state.

Here's Michelle Obama, talking to the Congressional Black Caucus Conference last fall:

"Because it's important to prevent obesity early, we're also working to promote breastfeeding, especially in the black community--where 40 percent of our babies never get breastfed at all, even in the first weeks of life, and we know that babies that are breastfed are less likely to be obese as children."

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Artist's Recreation by Mike Kooiman
Michele Bachmann breast-feeding one of her five children without the government's help
​Breastfeeding is better for babies than bottled formula, and it helps prevent childhood obesity, so it's a sensible issue for the First Lady to promote.

But Bachmann doesn't think it's that innocent. On Laura Ingraham's conservative radio show, Bachmann bragged about her ability to breast feed her brood of five children with no help from Big Government.

"I've given birth to five babies and I breastfed every single one," Bachmann said. "To think that government has to go out and buy my breast pump.... That's the new definition of a nanny state."

Bachmann went on to say that the First Lady's agenda to encourage breast feeding is "very consistent with where the hard left is coming from."

"For them, government is the answer to every problem," Bachmann said. "And so government got us in this problem, and so they think government is going to get us out of the problem. Clearly they're wrong."

Clearly Michele Bachmann knows no shame.

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RetiredWhiteMale
RetiredWhiteMale

Michelle Obama is pointing out a key way that people can improve their lives. And it's not a matter of liberal whatever, it is medical fact. She is also pointing out how health care costs can be lowered WITHOUT a government - sponsored health care plan, by individual action (check out the report on causes of obesity and its consequent whopping health care costs for our nation that came out this week). I call all that "leadership," not a "nanny state." Bachman is once again guilty of twisting what another person said, both literally (the government isn't paying for anything) and in its intent and impact, presumably to score political points.PS When the IRS rules something is tax deductible, perhaps in a private letter ruling, it is because the person was able to demonstrate to their satisfaction that the deductible expense was meaningfully related to income-producing employment. If it is deductible as a medical expense, it is relevant to health needs (not sure which category the pump falls under). Either way, before even getting this very modest deduction you have to itemize deductions, AND there is a percentage income threshold that deductions in that category must first exceed. In other words, a tempest in a teapot (or in a baby bottle filled with expressed breast milk).

sandy
sandy

So much agree with Bachman! Obama - get a life on your own merits!

guest
guest

Holy mackeral! I might have agree with Michelle Bachman on this one.

banana state
banana state

Michelle is lucky that she has all of that money from her "nanny state" farm subsides to pay for breast pumps.

OnDa'Teet
OnDa'Teet

Uh, I think I agree with MBachmann on this? This is weird, I don't feel good. I kinda feel like the dude in District9, with a huge alien arm. I might be sick.

My wife is at home right now breastfeeding our 6 week old baby. It's hard work and emotionally taxing, she does it becuase its the right thing to do; its what's best for our baby.

As a big flaming liberal (and I am) I understand the idea that if there is an activity we want to promote, we should incentivize it. But this seems silly - people should know that breastfeeding is the right thing to do. And do it. Period. This is kind of a Darwinist thing, if you aren't willing to make effort to ensure the healthy survival of your offspring/genes, then, that's your bad.

But that's just a philosophical opposition. If you can make the argument that the cost of tax breaks for breasfeeding outweigh the future health/ societal costs of future obese adults (and I am pretty sure you can). Then, that's the way to go. So I disagree with Bachman after all. Phew!

For whatever reason the culture of breastfeeding has been lost on the black community. I'm curious why? Is it correlated to the number of single mothers? Poverty? Education? Motivation?

Reality Check
Reality Check

In answer to your final paragraph, part of it is lack of education. Most breastfeeding mothers are older and college educated. If breastfeeding were taught in middle and high-school health education as being optimal, we might see its rise in the urban black community, where women are more likely to have children younger and less likely to be college educated. Breastfeeding is down among the urban black population for the same reason as obesity is up: this segment of the population is not being adequately educated about proper health and nutrition.

Another factor is the normalization of formula and aggressive promotion on the part of the formula manufacturers. Formula companies pay big incentives to hospitals to hand out bags full of "new mother" goodies--which inevitably include samples of their product, but not a breast pump (or if one is included, it's the cheapest, most cumbersome manual model available, something that will make it seem like pumping is uncomfortable and impractical.) Hospitals in the suburbs can often afford to reject being a part of this marketing scheme. Hospitals in the inner city? Not so much.

So these new mothers are sent home with cans of formula that the HOSPITAL gave them (thus giving the woman their implicit stamp-of-approval to formula-feeding.) Breastfeeding success depends largely on frequent breastfeeding in the first six weeks of a baby's life, which is also the period in which breastfeeding is the most difficult for both mother and baby (as I'm sure you know). A woman educated about the benefits of breastfeeding and determined to make it work might muscle through this time without resorting to formula. But what about those who are less educated? There are those hospital-given cans of formula sitting there, waiting to be used, looking SO much easier to use than breastfeeding during those first few difficult weeks.

Poverty is another factor. Women in low-end jobs are far less likely to have adequate breaks for pumping breastmilk or to have adequate facilities in which to do it. And, of course, they're far less likely to be able to afford a quality breastpump, which can make all the difference.

Which is the point of this entire thing, isn't it? Impoverished black women are set up to fail at breastfeeding on a number of levels. But when the First Lady tries to redress this issue, all of a sudden it's about the "nanny state."

Bachmann, your privilege is showing.

James M. Mcdonald
James M. Mcdonald

What are you talking about? A breast pump is a one time purchase, not a bill. Shouldn't a mother and father sacrifice for their child? And black people aren't stupid, I'm sure they know that breast feeding is better for their children than formula, because people talk about these things and word gets around. This is an idiotic speel you made, to try and sound smart, by using a bunch of big words.

DS
DS

Also, low income mothers can get assistance for formula costs, while pumps only qualify for tax itemized deductions ( assuming you pass the 7% threshold) or FSA reimbursement (and I don't think FSAs are very common in low wage jobs)

Donna
Donna

Michele Bachmann is right. This smacks of "nannyism." The government needs to stay out of our personal lives (Hey -- isn't that the liberal mantra?). Also, I thought we were trying to move away from line item tax breaks.

Mmf99345
Mmf99345

you mean stay out of our personal lives the same way politicians want to monitor a woman's pregnancy to ensure she doesn't abort the child? oh wait, isn't that the conservative mantra? you can't criticize the government for stepping in and providing the OPTION of helping mothers when those same politicians suggest they should dictate how a woman deals with her pregnancy.

and another thing, making something tax deductible does not mean that the government PAYS FOR IT, it means that you MAY receive a portion of that money back. the government isn't buying these devices for anyone. it is up to the individual to purchase them and claim them as a tax deduction if they choose to do so!

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Yawn

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