Milk, It Does A Body Good

September 25, 2008

Dear PETA,

We here at the Society for the Control, Containment and Commodification of Women (CCCOW) were delighted to see your most recent press release proposing the replacement of cow’s milk with human breast milk in commercial dairy products such as ice cream. We have long argued that women best serve society in their natural capacity as nurturers, and what better way to nurture America than as providers of dairy and other commercially viable foodstuffs?

You state in your press release that human breast milk is nutritionally superior to cow’s milk for humans, and we suspect that this may be true. This corresponds to the scientific findings of our Research Team, which has also found that human babies prefer human mothers, and also that human women are sexually attractive to many human males. This has led us to support the idea that human beings organize themselves into Family Units, wherein the woman remains within the home, caring for babies and servicing the males. Your proposal, however, that women provide breastmilk for use in commercial dairy products leads us to consider the possibility that the “family” might be reconfigured to better reflect the needs of a changing market society, and women put to better use. Specifically, why not establish Woman Farms, wherein women are kept and used for breeding purposes and for the purposes of supplying dairy for America’s food supply?

We have not yet worked out the logistics of such a program, but we imagine that it would be possible to remove human babies from their herded mothers and feed the babies with formula (which Science has proven to be comparable in nutritional value to breastmilk, and far more economically viable as a foodstuff for babies, if breastmilk is to be diverted into the marketplace), so that lactating mothers can be milked for the greater good of the American Economy, and cows released back into the wild (we propose that they be released in Alaska, where they will no doubt restore themselves to the ecosystem by becoming foodstuffs for polar bears and additional hunting quarry for Alaska’s political elite, which will itself be a more balanced system once voided of women.) Dairy farmers of America need not suffer – a simple transfer program of cows for women (exact ratio to be determined, based upon productivity of lactating women as compared to cows and potential market value of human breastmilk over cows milk) and a government-funded transition program to educate farmers on the care and feeding of women, as well as some funding for equipment adaptation (we understand that breast pumps are less technically sophisticated than milking equipment, but very probably less durable), and so we believe that farmers will weather the transition easily.

We believe that our proposal is more ethical and better suited to the wellbeing of both human and cowkind than the current, inefficient and immoral system of using cows as sources of dairy for human consumption: women are natural producers of milk for human consumption, and – if contemporary popular culture is to be believed, as we think it is – are happy in the state of pregnancy and lactation so long as they are kept supplied with Frappuccinos (blended with soy or formula, of course, the better to avoid Maternal Spongiform Encephalopathy, or Mad Mom Disease) and given regular pedicures and steady exposure to Entertainment Tonight and People Magazine. They will be happy to be contribute to the economy in this way, and will no doubt be glad to have played some small part in liberation of cowkind.

We hope that you will support CCCOW in this endeavor, as we believe that the CCCOW vision for a prosperous and ethical America corresponds with your own.*

We expect to hear from you soon!

Yours Sincerely,

William “Bull” Crapperton, Jr.
Media Relations, CCCOW

*Ben & Jerry’s is refusing to support our initiative, but we do currently enjoy the support of the Bovine Liberation Front and the NRA. Please consider lending your support!


Where we stand on sleep chez HBM: there is none. The problem, at the moment, is this – I am single-parenting at the moment. The husband is working very long hours, such that he is only home for a few hours at night and can’t spell me off. I gave Behemoth Baby some rice cereal last night, which seemed to help – he slept for about five hours, from 8pm to 1am, but I was so buzzed from lack of sleep and a day spent knocking back espressos that I couldn’t settle during those hours. I fell asleep close to midnight, only to be awoken an hour later, and then every hour on the hour thereafter.


I need to survive until end of day tomorrow, when the husband is back. How do I make it until then?


Also, Gwyneth Paltrow can just zip it, please and thank you.


Westjet has finally responded – in a comment to my original post (scroll waaaay down to here). Note that they get the incident wrong – they think that I’ve written about something that happened to another woman back in July. They assert that they’ve ‘already apologized’ for the incident. Which, no you did not, twits. I had no response to my original e-mail to them, and they clearly didn’t read any of your letters, nor did they read either of the posts, because THEY THINK WE’RE WRITING ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE THAT HAPPENED TO SOMEONE ELSE. It actually made me freaking cry because, are you serious? Am too tired to shout at them to pay (expletive) attention.

I just want an apology, even just some evidence that they pay a little (expletive) attention when a customer gets (expletive) upset. But am too (expletive) tired to deal with this right now. I hate everything right now. BAH.

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    Steph September 25, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    This is fecking awesome.

    Oh, and about the sleep… No more espressos, woman!!!

    zeghsy September 25, 2008 at 12:35 pm


    um, yah. the espressos might be hurting the bb more than helping you.

    Her Bad Mother September 25, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    The espressos are necessary to keep me alert while baby is awake. I start hallucinating from exhaustion mid-afternoon, which is when Mr. J is usually getting his groove on.

    Immoral Matriarch September 25, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    Stupid, STUPID PeTA.

    Her Bad Mother September 25, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    also, they’re only half-caf. still, I hear ya.

    so how do I stay awake when I need to be awake, and sleep when I need to sleep?

    Steph September 25, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    If I knew the answer to THAT I’d be a millionaire.

    zchamu September 25, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    That was utterly (udderly?) classic.

    Stac Cole September 25, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    I think you should forward your letter to PETA to every national news organization out there. And personally mail a copy to the Pam Anderson’s of the world.

    Very well said HBM. Very well said.

    Shawna September 25, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    I once read a very disturbing sci-fi short story based on this premise.

    Major Bedhead September 25, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    That letter is hysterical.

    Does Wonderbaby go to preschool? If she does, the minute you get back from bringing her, crawl into bed with the baby and sleep/nurse until you need to pick her up again. This saved my sanity many a time when I was nursing my two.

    Also, you might want to cut out the espressos – that may be making the little man wake so frequently.

    T with Honey September 25, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    My old nursing shirt that said “Got Milk!” across the front just took on a whole new meaning for me.

    Mary Beth September 25, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    I have several people who would like to apply for the job of milker please.

    Madame Queen September 25, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    That is the best thing I’ve read in ages. Everyone forward it to everyone you know.

    Karen September 25, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    more cereal? maybe oatmeal.
    also, have your expressos earlier in the day?
    or add wine as soon as his little eyes start to look heavy?

    also, saw on CNN women are selling their breastmilk in China. Women who who are poor, who have given their second babies up for adoption because they cannot afford the tax. Women who are now, presumably, worried that the babies that placed in the care of orphanages are not now drinking poisoned formula. They are selling their breast milk to worried parents whose babies must now not drink any formula. It is just totally fucked up.
    PETA sucks & so does poisoning baby formula to make a buck.
    We all need to be able to feed our children safely, without poison, sneers or staring.
    And also, it is okay not to co-sleep. We gave up around that age with our more social child. The introverted ones seem to do better longer, but that true extrovert really just kept waking up to talk. Limited topics at age 4 months, so we added oatmeal & took away mommy's magical presence.
    Hope HBF gets home earlier soon.

    MissAnna September 25, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Excellent letter–I was certainly amused by PETA's statement yesterday!

    As for the sleep…certainly not the expert on babes & nursing whatsoever, but I know that being outside wakes me up and exercise helps me sleep. Long walks? (Is it crappy weather there?) Indoor track? The aisles of Costco?

    Kyla September 25, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Quiet funny, HBM!

    Goldfish September 25, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Brilliantbrilliantbrilliant. Are they cracked?! Sleep: no suggestions, just moral support. Do you want me to ask my baby? He’s 9 mos now, and went from up 2-3 times a night to sleeping 13 hours at a stretch just this week. For no apparent reason. (Which, by the way, means that I have an abundance of milk for Ben and Jerry’s at 7am every day now.)I’m not bragging. Just want to tell you I’m as in-the-dark as you….

    No Minimom September 25, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Playing devil’s advocate: Over all I see your point re: human milk in dairy products, but I don’t think the point is to take mothers away from their babies, but to have the women act as a kind of wet nurse. That is, once their child is weaned (at whatever age) the mother would continue to produce milk for the purpose of sale.

    I tend to agree with the ick factor from a consumer standpoint, but I wonder why we all feel that way. Why is it OK to feed our kids with it and even feed other people’s kids via milk bank, but not OK for adults to consume?

    Her Bad Mother September 25, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    No Minimom – I’m not tackling the ick factor (the first person who consumed cows milk prolly had to overcome a huge ick factor) – it’s the idea of the commodification of mother’s milk, the idea that if take milk from cows and sell it, why shouldn’t we take it from mothers and sell it? Well, for starters: WOMEN ARE NOT COWS.

    I’m all for wet-nursing, for donating milk to moms/babies in need – but making a commercial turn to breastmilk over cows milk in order to save oppressed cows? Not so much.

    Rusti September 25, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    you are fabulous! keep it up!

    oh, and I hope you make it through the day until husband comes home – I really really do!

    No Minimom September 25, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Point taken and agreed. However, couldn’t this be a viable income for some women if they chose that route?

    Karen September 25, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    hbm – yes okay with milk-donating and banking – not so cool with selling because I see huge economic disparity, who would be the most likely among women to be needing to sell their milk. I just don’t like the way that sounds, like the comodification of women’s bodies.

    Her Bad Mother September 25, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    But then there’s a creepy have/have-not divide, isn’t there? between women who can afford to keep their breastmilk, and those who might be compelled to sell it (and perhaps wean their babies early to do so)?

    And it still leaves us with women being commodified. Why not just keep commodifying the cows, and leave the boob-juice for the babies?

    Steph September 25, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    My favourite line on GOOP is “my life is good because I am not passive about it.” Umm, really? Is that REALLY why GP? Is it not good because you have the time and money to be active just for you all day long? Eat a sandwich or something for god’s sake. Or babysit for HBM for just one night.

    No Minimom September 25, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    My thought is that it’s no different than a woman selling her eggs or a man selling sperm. I’m a breastfeeding mom (for the 2nd time) and if I were given the opportunity to make money from my milk (when I’m done nursing or if I had surplus), I totally would. Of course no choice is right for everyone, but I’m curious as to why breast milk becoming a commodity is such a bad thing when there are other human “biproducts” on the market.

    (I hope you all realize that I’m not trolling! This topic just really interest me. I’m enjoying the discussion.)

    Amy September 25, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Lower. Your. Standards.

    Go to bed. Take the baby with you. Take a few entertaining toys and place them around the baby on the bed. If you have older kids (can’t remember, sorry!) put them in front of a video in your bedroom (move equipment if necessary). Shut the door, turn off the phone, turn off the computer, and hibernate until your husband gets home.

    Try not to throw the baby at him when he gets back, or if you do, throw underhand.

    Hang in there,

    BaltimoreGal September 25, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Another case of PETA being COMPLETELY misogynistic.

    Her Bad Mother September 25, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    No Minimom – but we don’t (at least here in Canada) let people sell eggs or sperm (they need to be donated; similarly, women can’t be hired to act as pregnancy surrogates, for the same reasons) – so that these most fundamental things – building blocks of life – don’t get commodified and, most importantly, so that the poor don’t experience pressure to give up these things in exchange for $$.

    An extreme libertarian-capitalist argument would hold that we should be able to sell any part of ourselves – body parts, reproductive capacities, sex – with impunity. But most societies limit/restrict the saleability of these things to protect the vulnerable. My implied argument here is that PETA has no problem with making women vulnerable in order to save a few cows.

    And, no worries about trolling! There’s a very big difference between good discussion and trollage – I’m enjoying the discussion, too!

    Her Bad Mother September 25, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Amy – am going to try just that (and, underhand, ell-o-ell.)

    blissfullycaffeinated September 25, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    Listen to me: Get someone — a friend, relative, grandmotherly neighbor, homeless dude, SOMEONE –to come over to your house for a few hours during the day when the baby is more likely to be relaxed and on less of a crying jag. Nurse the baby really good, maybe pump a bottle if Jasper will take a bottle, hand off the baby to your stand in, and GO TO BED. Take a nap. You need it.

    Also, re the PETA thing: You are a genius. They are out of their minds.

    And finally – F*ck that Gwyneth Paltrow. Who does she think she is? Give me a break.

    rantsalamode September 25, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Great post. Wickedly funny. Very “A Modest Proposal.” Peta is crazy, I believe. I mean, it’s cool to like animal rights, but their ideas about how to improve animals rights, are ludicrous. So it’s better to buy breast milk from poor women in the developing world (which is what we would end up doing) than to take it from cows? It’s better to exploit human women than cow women? At least suggest we use soy-milk, don’t suggest we just substitute human moms for cow moms!

    blissfullycaffeinated September 25, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Oh, and I forgot to say, "Ew."

    I've breastfed two kids for more than a year each, but yuck. I don't want anyone replacing the good ole pasteurized cow milk in my Ben & Jerry's with breast milk. No no no.

    Niksmom September 25, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Try to limit espressos to morning/midday. No more after 1 or 2 p.m. J is totally get his buzz on from your high-caff boob juice! LOL

    On the whole selling milk issue…not really viable if you consider the medical screening which must be done prior to the, erm, milking process. Then there’s the whole storage, pasteurization process, etc. All those cow-to-human modifications of the machines (OUCH!!) cost money ya know.

    Seriously, is someone at PETA on drugs?

    the weirdgirl September 25, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Thank you so much, HBM, for bringing this timely and relevant idea to our attention! This makes so much sense! However, I am one of those inefficient lactators… I am fearful that I’ll be unable to participate in the new world order. How can I effectively contribute to society without squirting? Do you think I’ll be ostracized?

    Just Call Me Sleep Deprived September 25, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    wow do I know how you feel! I am a single mother and have the same problem with the sleeping, being the only person waking up with the baby. After a night of waking up every 1 or 2 hours the only possible way I can function or think straight is a day filled with caffeine. I have found that if I have a cup early in the morning and then another an hour or 2 later and nothing after about 3:00 pm I can make it through the day and then crash around 10pm. I definitely sympathize with you and understand your absolute need for caffeine to care for your baby! Good Luck :)

    DivaDunn September 25, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    I can’t remember age recommendations anymore, but I started adding some mashed avacado to her cereal sometime around 5mo. With all the good fats it kept her full a lot longer than the carby cereal.

    She was also a terrible sleeper and I was following the “rules” of putting her down drowsy in a quiet room blah..blah… Around nine months old I caved and turned on lullaby’s and she slept throught the night!!! I often wonder if it would have made a difference at a younger age.

    Hang in there till HBF’s home!

    Robbin September 25, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    I think this is my favorite Her Bad Mother post EVER!

    Steph September 25, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Isn't it a viscous cycle, though?

    Caffeine > No Sleep > More Caffeine

    … ad nauseum. I’ve started and stopped with the caffeine more times than I can count (tea is my drink of choice now), but in my partum and post-partum days I was better off caffeine free. It’s not easy, I realize.

    Oh, and the avocado thing sounds very good!

    Steph September 25, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    That would be vicious cycle, but I’ve been known to have one or two cycle’s that were viscous as well :)

    Steph September 25, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Cycles, not possessive… now who’s sleep deprived?!

    Vanessa September 25, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Hire a babysitter. I kid you not, woman. And don’t even think about feeling guilty to do it.

    And yes, I know Jasper’s a boob feeder, but there’s a family I’ve babysat for since their oldest was an infant (he’s now 9), and now they’ve got 3. Each time the mommy got baby burn out, she’d ask me to babysit for a day, and she’d get some much needed rest. Even if it was just sitting in her room, reading a book, she didn’t have to get up to get a screaming kid a cup of juice, cause that was my job. The only time I disturbed her was to attach the baby to her boob, but when she was done feeding, I took said baby back.

    The boobie is still there, when need arises, and so is mommy, if things get really chaotic, but if you trust the sitter you pick, you really should be able to get some naps stuck in there. Or a bubble bath. Or some quality time with a book. Or whatever you find relaxing.

    Anissa Mayhew September 25, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    As I am done breeding and no longer lactating, is there a plan off attack of what to do with those no longer productive members of the herd?

    Backpacking Dad September 25, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    A swift and biting proposal.

    Bella September 25, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    GREAT letter!

    About the sleep, I live in Toronto and could give you the number of the night nurse I used when my twins were tiny. I’d pump at 10 pm (and some throughout the day) and she’d feed them a couple of times throughout the night. I did this at least twice/week so I could at least catch up on my sleep every couple of days. The catch 22 for me was that if I didn’t get enough sleep, I stopped producing enough milk, so I was very motivated to get the sleep. Could you try a night doula/nurse?

    Email me if you want the info.

    Hang in there otherwise… I remember all too well, where you are…

    OLM September 25, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    almost 12 months, and *occasionally* she sleeps 10 hrs straight, 1-2 times a week only one wake up, and 1-2 times a week i end up sleeping with her and patting her back to sleep every 2-3 hours or more.

    When she was an infant – she slept, ONLY ON A PERSON, and anywhere from 30- 45 minutes, maximun of 3 hrs (once a day, at a random unpredictable point in the day). By the end of month 1, I was officially sleep deprived and depressed. At the beginning of month 3 a very experienced babysitter “misunderstood” me and put her to sleep, IN HER CRIB, on her stomach. She slept 4 hours solid and would have stayed asleep except I felt I HAD to wake her to feed her.

    Feeling VERY guilty, I then put her to sleep on her stomach regularly. And I got more sleep. For Christmas (end month 3), she gave me the present of sleeping 5 hours solid, and then 3 more hours after a feeding, at least one point in every day (technically an 8 hour block of sleep). By month 5, I had shifted that 8ish hours to between 11pm and 7am. In month 7 or 8 she slept solid, 9 hrs through the night for the 1st time ever.

    I only survived via my friends coming over to take the babay so that I got at least 1-2 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night, plus an incredibly understanding job that let me work short hours until this was all sorted out. [I essentially slept whenever she did, all day.] Oh and I have only one child.

    Winkin1 September 25, 2008 at 4:58 pm


    Been there. I second what everyone is saying about getting help. When DD was small, my mom would occaisionally pull “night shift” and do all the cuddling, soothing, and LISTENING all night. (It turns out that simply knowing you are “on duty” with that baby monitor or baby in the room means you can’t sleep near as well). She was responsible for doing whatever it took to make DD go no less than 3 hours between feeding (2 1/2 if things were really hairy, but really, they can wait even if they don’t want to). Then you know the drill–when you make ‘em wait a bit, you get more milk, they get a better feed, and they can go longer. Also–sleep is the most important thing in making milk.

    Any reasonably reliable adult will do, you know. Got a neighbor? Surprisingly people are pretty willing to help out even at night because they can have the baby to themselves (yay!).

    As for caffeine, I was an addict too in those first months (probably first 9 months or so). I never found it to effect baby one way or another. I also never found a glass of wine to make baby sleepy either (foiled!).

    hugs to you. hope you get to rest soon.

    r3 September 25, 2008 at 5:00 pm


    1. White noise machine. Very cheap. Workee goodee. Turn onee.

    2. You takee one half of benadrylee after last breastfeedee.

    3. Put baybe in cribee.

    4. Night night.

    P.S. ya gotta knock of the caffeine, or least reduce it. Sheesh.

    Katrina September 25, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    How in the hell does PITA, er, PETA think humans could EVER produce THAT MUCH MILK???? My gosh, cows give about 2-4 gallons each milking, and they’re milked twice a day!!! On my best day, I maybe got 20 ounces (in addition to nursing) and I definitely had an abundant supply. The math is way outta whack.

    PETA’s just being a bunch of asses as usual. I dealt with them personally several years ago…bah.

    Katrina September 25, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    Oh, and the sleep nightmare…I’d give cereal to baby, take half a benadryl (ask your doc, s/he may let ya take a whole one!) then curl up with little one.

    I know it’s an old wives tale and docs say the cereal won’t help baby sleep but anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise. I tend to like old wives myself, so it couldn’t hurt to try!

    And have a neighbor, somebody! come over for a few hours.

    Definitely get a noise machine, or even a cool mist humidifier would work great to help little one sleep. Works very well with Max.

    Hang in there, chickadee!

    Sam September 25, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    Uh…I might be speechless over West Jet’s response. I do not think an incorrect comment on a blog post is the way to handle a customer service issue. EVER. Stupid douche canoes.

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