THE BIG LET DOWN, published by St. Martin’s Press, is an in-depth analysis of the social, economic and political influences of the American breastfeeding culture. For decades, the breastfeeding conversation has been rooted in an individualistic approach, leaving women to fend and fight for themselves–usually turning on each other. But there is a bigger picture–one that involves structural gaps, capitalist interests, feminist ideology and the growing industrialization of our food system that begins with a battle for the first meal of every newborn. Yes, breastfeeding is only a small window of the motherhood spectrum, but it provides a powerful lens to peer into the conflicts shaping and dividing women’s lives. And we are all affected, whether we have children or not.
Falling back on my journalistic training, I’ve delved into fields as varied as pediatrics, sociology, history, feminism, capitalism and pop culture to better understand the social history and the modern influences, some subtle some blatant that impact women as infant feeding decision makers every day. The mother-child dyad is the most basic yet significant biological unit of humankind, and if something is occurring to contaminate that relationship and every woman’s right to feed, on either side, whether that is by well-meaning activists, scientific research processes or deep-pocketed drug companies, then it must be thoroughly examined. The Big Let Down is eye-opening exploration of what I discovered.