Defining the Sides of the Debate 2

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Defining the Sides of the Debate 2
Thu, 01-09-2014 - 11:03am

Side 2

"I care most about women who've been …harmed by the breastfeeding rhetoric, having those precious first day/weeks/months of motherhood stolen from them by a tornado of judgment, fear and expectation. The claims about breastfeeding are often misinterpreted. I don't seek to promote breastfeeding because I feel like that's being done -- and done to such an extent that it's harming parents and sometimes even children, and allowing our society to put responsibility for the health of the nation onto the already overloaded shoulders of women….

If someone either actively chooses to formula feed, or ends up formula feeding due to extenuating circumstances, then there is a reason that they are doing so. These reasons are not mine to judge, nor are they anyone's (especially the clerk at the grocery store, your pediatrician, or random snarkettes on the interwebz).

In fact, I don't think we should promote breastfeeding for its "health benefits" at all. We've all gotten the message. It's turned into something we have to do, rather than want to do, and that makes me sad."

Side B 

"Being made to feel bad is one of the worst things that can happen to you, according to the unspoken laws of modern society, on a par with being told you need to have your left leg amputated or that you're being sent on a one-way flight to North Korea. It's because our self-esteem is so fragile……

I discovered this when I ventured to suggest, in this newspaper, that it isn't great for young children to be dumped in full-time daycare before they're knee-high to a grasshopper and that mothers – and fathers, I emphasize – who have the luxury of choice in these matters might do well to rethink their career plans.

The response was ferocious. I was told, in no uncertain terms, that if I wasn't prepared to support mothers in every possible choice they make I was to (a) clear off; (b) get a proper job; and (c) stop masquerading as a feminist. If you can't say anything nice, I was school-marmishly informed, then you had better say nothing at all.

You see? It's practically the 11th modern commandment: nobody will be allowed to say anything that makes someone else feel bad. At this rate, giving your opinion, or even stating a fact that somebody doesn't want to hear, will soon be described as a hate crime, prosecutable by law."

[As we have all said lots of times, pro-breastfeeding and pro-formula feeding do not adequately represent the two sides of the debate. Being pro-formula doesn't mean that you are opposed to breastfeeding, just as being pro-breastfeeding does not mean you are opposed to formula feeding.

In terms of health benefits, the debate is very lopsided. The preponderance of evidence supports breastfeeding. Despite that breast vs bottle is a still a hot button.

So here is one way to view the sides:

Side B: The health benefits of breastfeeding are significant enough to promote awareness, public conversation and changes in policy to increase accomodation for improving rates of breastfeeding.

Side 2: The health benefits of breastfeeding are not significant enough to override the emotional harm done by advocacy toward women who are not able to breastfeed. Active attempts to increase awareness, keep breastfeeding in the media and increase breastfeeding rates by policies such as not handing out unsolicited formula to new mothers should be curtailed.

Is that the new frame. Is it about one side trying to "make it an issue" and the other side saying "stop forcing it down our throats"?

Which side are you on? "Keep it down, we get it already." or "We still have a long way to go."]