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  • Writer's pictureDeShanti Jones

Exploring the Impact of "The Big Letdown" by Kimberly Seals Allers


Reading The Big Letdown by Kimberly Allers has been such an enjoyable experience. As someone who has never had a firsthand breastfeeding experience, I gained so much knowledge. I believe that even women who have only considered or attempted breastfeeding will also find some value in this book. I was so unaware of the intricate history and details around infant feeding in this country. I was able to gain a deeper understanding of how infant formula became such a popular and preferred method of feeding children for decades.

As a mother, consultant and maternal & infant health advocate, author Kimberly Seals Allers is more than qualified to relay this information. She opens the book by being vulnerable with a personal story about her own breastfeeding challenges that inspired much of her work. She sets out to not only explore the reasons behind why breastfeeding is not the U.S. standard but also how we can evolve as a society to eliminate the stigmas. She accomplishes this with data as well as personal stories from herself and other mothers. This helps make the material more digestible for the reader.

I feel that Allers’ greatest goal for this book was to inform and include mothers in the conversation about what it really means to breastfeed in this country, while also shedding light on the history of how we got here. She wants mothers to know their feeding options as well as all of the risks & benefits associated with each. Although some may view her tone as slightly biased as an advocate for breastfeeding, she takes a very straightforward and factual approach in the way she expresses her ideas.

Some of my favorite parts of the book revolved around the historical context of how cold physicians & pharmaceutical companies invaded the warm maternal health world. This is something I’ve always been curious about so it was nice to examine the timeline of infant feeding in America and the nuances that contributed to its controversy. I also gained more perspective around how I can approach breastfeeding as a birthworker rooted in education in advocacy. I will definitely be recommending this book to my future clients & colleagues as an excellent resource to analyze the role this country plays in the way we feed our children.



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