Today, we welcome another member to the staff of The Soap Boxers.  The Crunchy Conservative is a longtime personal friend of Editor-in-Chief Kosmo.  She will be writing conservative articles for the Political Observers feature.

Hello loyal readers of The Soap Boxers. You may be wondering about my name, The Crunchy Conservative. Let me tell you a little bit about myself.

I am a college educated, twenty-something mother of two boys from Iowa. I have my Bachelor of Science degree in English, emphasis in British Literature and Creative Writing. And I lean to the right, politically speaking that is.

I was nicknamed Ann Coulter while working at the Iowa State Daily as a conservative opinion columnist. I think it was intended to be an insult. I took it as a compliment.

I have worked on many political campaigns ranging from local city council to Communications Director for a US Senate race. I also volunteered for Bush 04 and the McCain campaign.

So where does the “crunchy” come in? Well, I am passionate about breastfeeding, baby wearing, and co-sleeping. I’ve even dabbled in cloth diapers.

I maintained my household, a full time job and a toddler while my husband served in Iraq. And I’m opinionated and strong. And I’ll let you know it. And I hope you enjoy reading my contributions to The Soap Boxers.

A Health Care Plan I Can Believe In

I’ll admit it. I’m a nerd. I spent a weekend reading the 1000 page healthcare bill.

I’m highly irritated that our representatives are willing to vote on a bill that they have not read. If I can do it while doing my usual weekend duties (laundry, cleaning) AND nursing a 6 month old who is going through a growth spurt, I’m sure they can take time to read something they are going to vote on. Isn’t that why we send them to D.C?

Our Commander in Chief seems to be a big fan of Thomas Jefferson, therefore, I think in this instance, it is fitting to quote him. “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.” Wise words Mr. Jefferson. Well informed. How does one become well informed? Well, how about reading what you’re voting on!

Public Option? No. No way. No how. Again, let’s see what Mr. Jefferson thinks about that. “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

Cease to exist. Pretty strong words.

I’ve seen too many people leech off of the system. It makes me sick. I am working 40+ hours a week and paying full price for daycare for my children while other parents get to enjoy watching their children daily and stay at home (while I pay them?). It’s not right and it’s not fair. And now they want me to pay for their healthcare too? What’s the point in working anymore?

Personal responsibility and a dash of pride.

Do you want to take care of yourself and your children? Or should the Government do it for you? Now here comes the Conservative mixed with the Crunchy. You chose to do the action that created the child. After conception, the child is a child, not a choice. You care for the child while it’s in the womb, giving the baby nourishment and helping it grow, so why discontinue that after birth?

An article I read in Mothering magazine showed how breastfeeding can boost the National Economy and decrease the burden on our health system.

Nursing by Numbers: How Breastfeeding Boosts the National Economy By Olivia Campbell Web Exclusive, April 2009

In 2001, the USDA concluded that if breastfeeding rates were increased to 75 percent at birth and 50 percent at six months, it would lead to a national government savings of a minimum of $3.6 billion. This amount was easily an underestimation since it represents savings in the treatment of only three of the dozens of illnesses proven to be decreased by breastfeeding: ear infections, gastroenteritis, and necrotizing enterocolitis.

The AAP says each formula-fed infant costs the healthcare system between $331 and $475 more than a breastfed baby in its first year of life. The cost of treating respiratory viruses resulting from not breastfeeding is $225 million a year.

The multi-study report estimated that breast cancer rates could be cut by more than half if women increased their lifetime breastfeeding duration. The National Cancer Institute reported the national expenditure on breast cancer treatment in 2004 was $8.1 billion, meaning extended nursing could save upwards of $4 billion a year.

For the national Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), supporting a breastfeeding mother costs about 45 percent less than a formula-feeding mother. Every year, $578 million in federal funds buys formula for babies who could be breastfeeding.

The health benefits of breastfeeding alone is what motivates many families to feed their babies breastmilk, but the individual costs of formula (quoted as anywhere from $700 to $3,000 per year) also has a huge impact on family budgets.

Let’s think about it. Decreased risk of breast cancer for the mother, healthier babies AND 578 Million in Federal funds saved on formula alone. But what do I know. I only breastfed my oldest until he was 2 1/2 (night nursing after age 1 ½ ) and am now nursing baby #2. I have also noticed that my children are healthier and smarter, I believe, partly due to breastfeeding. The bond that nursing mothers have with their children is something that Enfamil could never produce.

Take responsibility for your health and for your children’s health. It would save everyone money, it would produce healthier people and maybe even more emotionally adjusted children. Children who bond more with their parents are more likely to be well adjusted adults.

So here’s my health plan. Encourage breastfeeding. Stop the formula subsidies. Make the mothers on public assistance feed their own children. If a woman physically cannot breastfeed (which is only about 2% of women), a doctor’s note would be required to obtain formula.

This is a healthcare plan that I can get behind. And it didn’t take 1,000 pages to do it!