News: It’s Time for Feminists to Stop Arguing About Breastfeeding and Fight for Better Formula
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|Sun, 09-09-2012 - 10:34pm|
By Stephanie Fairyington 9/01 8:53am
My girlfriend of four years, Sabrina, and I have been in an ongoing conversation about babies. Should we recruit a gay friend, adopt, or go the sperm bank route?
Those are the tough ones. The question of breastfeeding, luckily, is a subject on which we both agree: It’s not going to happen.
In part, this is simply a practical matter. Sabrina is a children’s therapist who sees an exhausting number of clients throughout the day; I juggle multiple gigs. Since we won’t be equally linked to our children biologically, we don’t dig the idea that one of us will forge a superior bond—and shoulder a disproportionate burden—by doing all of the feeding.
On a more ideological level, we’re eschewing the nipple because of how breastfeeding stymies the progress of feminism, which is why we’re stewing over Mayor Bloomberg’s new initiative, Latch on NYC, which takes effect on September 3. The new campaign will encourage new moms to breastfeed in the interest of babies’ health: breast milk is proven to lower infants’ risk of gastrointestinal and ear infections, along with other benefits.
Under the new rules, about two dozen hospitals will discourage new moms from formula-feeding by educating them on the benefits of breast milk, and will not provide formula unless medically indicated on the infant’s chart or requested by the mother. The rules will also prohibit formula freebies and ads in hospitals.
“Human breast milk is best for babies and mothers,” NYC Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said when the campaign was announced on May 9. He added that receiving free formula at hospital discharge time “can impede the establishment of an adequate milk supply and undermine women’s confidence in breastfeeding.”
Breastfeeding advocates hail the new policy, which takes Mr. Bloomberg’s nanny-state regime to its logical conclusion, but what has gone mostly unexamined is the antifeminist undercurrents of the lactivists’ cause. The notion that “breast is best” simply because it’s natural sounds ringingly similar to the arguments made by pro-lifers and even contraception opponents, all of which begin with the same basic premise: women should be shackled to their corporeal destinies. Your body is designed this way—to get pregnant, to bring an embryo to term, to nurture life—therefore you must submit to its dictates.
Read the rest of the article here: http://observer.com/2012/09/time-for-feminists-to-stop-arguing-about-breastfeeding-and-fight-for-better-formula/