Saturday, January 29, 2011


Someone just sent me the links to two translations of my article "Nursing Times", which first appeared in History Today Magazine in December 2008.  You can read the oroiginal article in History Today online. You can read the Spanish version here.  If Hungarian is your preferred language, then click here.


  1. Well...I listened to a BBC program a couple of weeks ago. New findings seem to have uncovered that babies who were weaned after 6 months could suffer from iron deficiency or be prone to food allergies...
    When breastfeeding until a later age seems to be the “safe” option in developing countries, it seems that introducing solids to babies as early as 4 months in western countries where there is reliable food quality control and “clean water” available, was a responsible thing to do. So??
    As you wrote, fashions, but also circumstances and type of society change the way we think and act, and again what is valid for an African mother is not for a western European one!
    I lived in China for nearly 2 decades and was still there when these babies died, and this tragic story reignited the debate “breastfeeding versus formula”.
    Formula is safe...this one was not...because it was not formula... it was just a dangerous cocktail of deadly chemicals that had been substituted to proper formula...
    There are a lot of legends and stories supporting breastfeeding as this was the “safe” option for most countries until the middle of the 20th century, when women started to work.
    A lot of these stories make a lot of women feel guilty or inadequate. As for anything, we have to adapt, and mainly do what works for us (there is no rule here!), follow our common sense and our instincts (and you can trust a mum’s instincts!), refuse to be pressurised by society’s “do and don’t do”... I don’t think there is a definitive answer...DeeBee

  2. Oh my Hungarian has gone a little threadbare! But good to see the translations coming in.

  3. I thought you were fluent in Magyar Padraig.

  4. DeeBee, I agree that this debate is ultimately about who controls women's bodies. One thing though, I don't think women went back to work in the mid-20th century. Women have worked outside the home throughout most of history. Working class women never stopped working outside the home, and women from poor rural backgrounds all over the world have always had to work, and in both cases this was combined with breast feeding. Western middle class women did stop working outside the home - it was a matter of bourgeois status that the man could be the sole breadwinner.