Find a Conversation
|Thu, 02-07-2013 - 1:45pm|
I consider this to be the extreem pro-formula viewpoint. How about you? Does it seem one sided to you?
Having breastfed both of my children for different lengths of time, you cannot tell me that doing so generates nothing but positive feelings. You just can't. There are times when you're exhausted and the last thing you want to do is breastfeed, especially in the middle of the night and the baby takes an hour to do it because he/she keeps falling back asleep. Or, conversely in the middle of the day or early evening, when you've got dinner to make for other kids, you haven't showered yet, the house is a mess, and you're tired, breastfeeding is not exactly what you want to do. Or maybe it just hurts like hell. You can't tell me that there aren't times when negative feelings about it creep in. That's just natural. Yet you never ever read anything that suggests breastfeeding is nothing but a joyous experience. You never read about the hardships of breastfeeding. Somehow that is kept out of the picture. So much for balance.
Many activists suggest that breastfeeding is natural. So can childbirth be natural. But if you ask me, in childbirth it's natural to ask for an epidural! Joking aside, what does natural really mean? The word "natural" has all sorts of underlying and nuanced meaning. It's natural for us to want our children to be themselves. It's also natural for us, as parents to help them be what they can be. It's natural to be naked. It's also natural to put clothes on every day. We have to be careful, because by saying that breastfeeding is "natural" one is implicating that using formula is an unnatural act, when in reality, it's healthy for our babies and might be the natural thing to do given everyone's unique family circumstances. Suggesting that only breast-feeding is the natural way to feed a child, implicates that you're being a bad mother if you choose not to.
Hospitals have jumped on this somewhat political bandwagon. Many call themselves "baby friendly" because they only promote breastfeeding. What about family friendly? What about a woman's sanity? Is that not important? Most women are led to believe that, no matter what, they can breastfeed. It's simply not true. There are many women who can't breastfeed no matter what a lactation consultant tries. Hospitals and politicians shouldn't take on the ethics of breastfeeding. It's not for them to decide. The choice is a personal one and should be encouraged and supported no matter what.