Of all the decisions pregnant women must make, how they will feed their babies is one of the most important. The breast versus bottle debate is a heated one, and now there may be a new contender to up the battle even more -- cows. Scientists in China have somehow created cows that can produce milk identical to that of human breast milk.
No, it's not some crazy science fiction novel where a breastfeeding superhero mother will overcome the evil cows, or anything that makes that much sense. It's real cows who have been subjected to all sorts of crazy technological treatments (much like those poor Dolly the sheep had to go undergo), and now they could nurse a human baby ... I guess. Cows as wet nurses? That's not actually the plan (though I'm sure someone will try it), but rather this new milk will be sold in grocery stores -- likely within the decade. For real.
I'm all for breast milk any way you can get it, pump it, donate it, on a train, in a tree -- whatever. But from cows? Call me crazy, but that just creeps me out. Plus, no matter what properties it contains, it's still coming from a cow, and I see nothing human about that. Genetically modified food freaks me out in general, but this is beyond freaky.
Though sweeter and "stronger," the human cow milk supposedly is more nutritious than traditional cow milk. If adults want to drink it, that's one (worrisome) thing; I'm concerned more about babies whose mothers would see this as an easy way out of breastfeeding. And who knows what the long-term effects of genetically engineered foods really will be.
Sure there are women who for whatever reason aren't able to breastfeed, and for those babies to get the wonderful qualities of breast milk would be wonderful, but not like this.
The milk is still undergoing safety tests, and isn't projected to the hit the market for years, so there's time to stop this mad cow mess. But wouldn't it be nice if they took all that time, money, and effort and figured out how to help all women breastfeed the old-fashioned way (with REAL human breast milk) and give them the support they need along the way?
Would you give your baby "human" milk from a cow?
Image via wwarby/Flickr