Milk, milk, and wine

News & Politics

Orion Magazine has an interesting article on the perils of trying to have a healthy baby in an unhealthy society. The article mostly focuses on the author's attempt to research whether breast milk is really the best food for babies, given the toxins that have been found in a variety of samples (yes, she finds, it is). But in the process of researching, she discovers a number of other toxins that can harm a fetus, many of them she can do nothing about.

The article saves itself from obsessiveness at the end:


As overwhelmed as I have felt, my worries have been too narrow. The health of my child depends on more than whether I forgo dry-cleaned clothes, avoid artificial fragrances, eat organic spinach, or ventilate my computer room. As the person responsible for raising a healthy child, I need a few things from society too: mandated safety studies, bans on chemicals that aren't demonstrated to be safe, and a transformation of basic values. I need a world that no longer treats chemical-coated nonstick cookware as necessary, and the gift of life itself as expendable.
But it still seems one thing is missing; the one thing that, as a parent, most drives me crazy about parents. She talks about personal consumer choices, and then what she needs from the world, but missing is what we can give to the world and how having children could make us have a wider worldview, and deepen our commmitments to social change, instead of narrowing it to just focus on how we can take care of our own. After all, many parents don't have the choice of "forgoing dry-cleaning" and always buying organic spinach.

Hopefuly, more pregnant women have the option of drinking cow's milk, which researchers are now saying is "essential" in pregnancy. This is the same Vitamin D that used to mostly be gotten just by regular time in the sunshine, before we destroyed much of the ozone and made it not safe to go out without sunscreen. Don't worry about the continued incidents of mad cow disease, apparently, it isn't transmitted through milk, even that of mad cows.

All this figuring out how to have and raise a healthy child is enough to drive a parent to drinking. That tired parent might even be tempted by what a truly strange new phenomena, individual wine boxes. These aren't the big ones my friend Cynthia, who is 92, likes to serve, but single serving ones, that, in their bright purple and green wrapping, look a lot like juice boxes (or even, dare we say, milk).

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