News: It’s Time for Feminists to Stop Arguing About Breastfeeding and Fight for Better Formula

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Registered: 05-20-2008
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
It’s Time for Feminists to Stop Arguing About Breastfeeding and Fight for Better Formula
As Bloomberg cracks down on infant formula, a nursing naysayer wonders: can’t we just make it better?

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/

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...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.

I don't see how not being linked biologically makes a difference. It reminds me of people who object to adoptive BF'ing because the adopting mom has no biological connection to the adopted baby which I never understood either. BF'ing is about the health benefits primarily IMO not about bonding. The fact is their are many ways for the non-Bio parent in this relationship to form a strong bond. My DH did so despite not BF'ing our son. He also found many ways to should the burden of caring for put son despite me doing most of the feeding. I don't think that my husband being biologically linked to out son made any real difference in the bond they have as I believe that if he had been born from sperm bank sperm that my DH would still have an equally strong bond.

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.

That first part is a load of BS. I seen this argument from a certain segment of the feminist population and I find it to be based on faulty logic IMO. Plenty of feminists agreer with me as surveys have shown more feminists support BF'ing then don't. There is no evidence that BF in and of itself interferes with a feminism's progress in any way that can't be overcome with better support for pumping in the workplace and better mandated maternity leave. Now as to the second part of the paragraph about the health benefits of BF'ing I agree with but I wonder if the author agrees with that or is simply stating what Bloomberg administration has said.

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.

I see all of those steps as good things IMO. None of them will prevent the author or any other mom who wishes to do so from FF'ing.

“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.”

I agree with all the above too.

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 anti-feminist 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.

I'm sorry but I really hate how some people throw around the phrase "nanny state" for any policy or regulation they don't like. Sometimes it's a valid charged but all too often IMO it's used against policies that have valid reasons for being enacted. For example, seat belts save lives and laws requiring them are not nanny state laws. The same applies to hospital policies that improve BF rates and duration among moms. I also hate how some feminists try and claim only their brand of feminism is genuine feminism and either refuse to recognize other self-proclaimed feminists as true feminists or simply pretend they don't exist. The fact is that their are lactivists who are also feminists though I bet she will argue they are not true feminists. Now as to the natural argument, the fact is that few BF advocates argue that breast is best simply because it's natural but rather because of six decades of research supporting that claim. Some do throw the natural argument in as an aside but not as the main argument in favor of BF'ing. She conveniently ignore all the research in favor of BF'ing as healthier in her argument, I suspect because she realizes she has no good argument against that. It's been my experience that the feminists who argue against BF'ing go to great length to either ignore the health arguments or claim the health benefits have been greatly exaggerated, probably because it would not go over as well if they came across as ignoring the health implications for the baby in favor of their own feminist interest only.

Our bodies age and die, too, but that doesn’t stop people from pumping them full of medicine, slathering on skin-care lotion and doing everything else we can think of to overcome “nature.”

Umm, sorry but I don't see that as a proper comparison. The fact is a great deal of research shows formula to be riskier then BF'ing, it's not simply that BF'ing is natural and formula is not. If some new formula was ever invented that was truly equal health-wise to breastmilk (something I don't think will ever be possible in our lifetimes) then I suspect many lactivists would not push BF'ing to the same degree. But I don't seen us every improving formula to the degree needed to make it close enough or equal to breastmilk in our lifetime. No one argues we should not improve formula but let's be honest about the current limitation in science in making formula that matches BM and continue to push BF'ing unless by some rare chance we actually do ever match or surpass BM. As stands today, formula is not close to BM yet so we should continue to promote it as as best.

Never mind the difficulties of breastfeeding for women who juggle multiple jobs and kids in single-parent homes. It’s a tricky task to pull off for all working mothers, in even the most progressive workplaces. Not everyone has a private office for pumping; nor does every company have a “lactation lounge.” And despite all the supposed good vibes around breastfeeding, ask any woman who has actually pumped every two to three hours at work for months how that went down with her boss and colleagues. (No prob, maybe, if you run a yoga studio; not so easy when you wait tables or teach or even sit on a trading desk.)

This is not so much a issue with BF'ing in and of itself but of laws designed to support pumping moms and provide maternity leave. We don't just need to accept the status quo as unchangeable but rather push to resolve these issues. I hate the pessimism some critics have when they seem to imply their is nothing we can do to make it easier for working moms to BF or stay at home for longer via increased mandated maternity leave. Countries liker Sweden and Norway have proven things this argument against BF'ing when it comes to working moms to be bunk.

How much of that magical oxytocin, the “love hormone,” does it take to counteract the stress of holding down a high-powered job while expressing milk every couple hours?

Again, this can be resolved in a number of ways other then going with bottle feeding formula, not the least of which includes improved longer mandated maternity leave.

Aside from being a potential career-killer, breastfeeding operates against all parents in more insidious ways. A bottle positions men and women equally over the care of infants, while breastfeeding cements the notion that women are central to the process of nurturing children. Wasn’t feminism all about de-emphasizing our corporeality by arguing that our bodies should not define or limit our rights and responsibilities?

Bull! First, it's would not ever be a potential career killer if we updated our laws to improve maternity leave and other support for working BF'ing moms. Second, a bottle is no guarantee of equal care from mom and dad of the baby not it that a necessarily thing when it comes to feeding. Fathers can help in many others way in caring for the baby besides just bottle-feeding. The fact is the as much as she may not like it, mom is the one who lactates after birth and thus going to be the one who will have to do the feeding (absent a wet-nurse or the father inducing lactation). Feminism should not be IMO about trying to erase all differences between mens and woman's bodies. We should not try and pretend, for example, that we can compete on equal terms with say male NFL players or heavy-weight boxers and we should not pretend that bottle-feeding will make the mom and dad equal without any health consequences for the baby. I never interpreted feminism to be about completely ignoring those things which make us women such as birth and breastfeeding. No one is arguing women should be forced to use their bodies to BF against their will. That does not mean they should not be encourage to for the sake of health of the child or that those do so for that reason should be criticized as working against the feminist cause. Just as I think women should be free to choose to house-wives or stay-at-home moms I think they should free to choose to BF and still be feminists. The issue in the past was being forced to be a house-wife or stay-at-home mom when a women wished to do otherwise, not  said positions in and of themselves. I fully support men or father wishing to be house-husband or stay-at-home dads if they so choose to and reject notions they are simply lazy and avoiding work as it greatly undervalues housework and parenting. They are not incompatible positions as she argues.

Cultural critic Hanna Rosin touches on this point in her myth-shattering 2009 must-read for The Atlantic, “The Case Against Breast-Feeding.” The consequence of reinforcing women’s parental centrality—superiority, really—in matters of child care is that it overwhelms mothers and undervalues fathers.

I disagreed with Rosin's piece when it first came out and still disagree with it. It's not the push for BF'ing that undervalues fathers and overwhelms moms IMO. It's other factors at play that can be resolves by other means other then devaluing BF'ing.

That unequal relationship is at the very crux of pay inequality between men and women, according to Stephanie Coontz, professor of history and family studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. She says women start taking a financial hit when parenthood begins, “because moms are still the default parent—the ones most likely to adjust their work hours or change or quit jobs to do childcare.” It’s a lot easier to breastfeed when you’re home with the baby, right?

First, taking a financial hit is not always a bad thing as not everyone views a family's total salary as the most important issue so long as they can make ends meet. Second, any problem with any significant loss of salary that does have an impact can likely be addressed via other means that allow such moms to BF.  

Plus, pumping milk at your desk isn’t even good enough for our most passionate nursing advocates. They insist on direct feeding from the breast itself, even though its supposed emotional benefits over a bottle haven’t been scientifically validated. Two leading breastfeeding experts I interviewed couldn’t point to a single study concluding that nursing emotionally trumps a cuddly bottle feed.

Few BF advocates argue that pumping BM is a bad thing is the mom has to work or insists in working. It's true that many BF advocates would argue that directly breastfeeding is better then pumping and bottle-feeding. Partly that is because it's much easier then pumping all the time. That does not mean they generally are against all pumping and bottle-feeding though. Many also see likely benefits to the skin-to-skin of direct breastfeeding even in they can't be proven at this time. It's true that currently no study holds that "nursing emotionally trumps a cuddly bottle feed." but that maybe due to lack of any way to design an ethically sound study that could prove that if indeed it did exists.

Instead, curiously, they resorted to sexual metaphors.
Dr. Jack Newman, author of The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers, contends that “no close holding of the bottle-fed baby can duplicate the nursing relationship.” We asked whether there are any studies that support his thesis. “Feeding a baby with a bottle is akin to making love with a condom,” replied Dr. Newman, who founded the Newman Breastfeeding Clinic and Institute in Toronto. “Ask the men. They’ll tell you direct contact is different.”
No thanks, we’ll take your word for it!

I think their likely is at least some difference though I'll admit I can't prove it and thus is purely speculative at this time. But while I do think that maybe the case, I don't use that argument in promoting BF'ing because I realize I can't prove it.

Katherine Dettwyler is an anthropology professor at the University of Delaware, who co-edited two crucial books on the topic. In an email, she likened breastfeeding to partnered sex and bottle-feeding to masturbation with a vibrator. “Orgasms are lovely, but they only represent the tip of the iceberg,” she said. “Breastfeeding is a complex, physically intimate, loving relationship between two people who love, trust, and respect each other.”
Okaaay …

Again this relies on argument I nor any other person can prove nor disprove at this time so I can't say her argument is true or false only that it could have be true. I believe she is on to something here but I admit I could be wrong. Until such a way to prove or disprove it is found then we'll just have to leave it at that.

Still, nobody is arguing for the abolition of the vibrator. Or Mayor Bloomberg isn’t, anyway.

I don't know any lactivists advocating for banning formula either. They only want to discourage (but not prohibit) moms from using it by choice or because they been mislead into believing it's medical or otherwise necessary in their situation. I suspect most women who have ever had good sex would agree though that it's better then going strictly solo with a vibrator. In that case the two can compliment each other but with formula, you have an issue that it has negative health risks for the baby unlike a vibrator for a women (for the most part with proper usage).  

Here’s an idea that might preserve women’s choice to parent according to their own preferences, while also supporting the health of babies: advocate for making formula better. Wouldn’t that solve a lot more problems than pushing every new mother to become a milkmaid?

Like I said before, I don't see any way we can improve formula enough to make it even close enough to breastmilk at this time, at least not in our lifetime. Just the fact that we do not know how to create artificial anti-bodies is a major stumbling block to what she advocates. Of the problems she list that I agree, they can be addressed by other means other then formula and bottles. For the others, I disagree they are valued issue in the first place.

If the supposed health advocates who insist on breastfeeding held children in such high regard, they’d also be rallying for advances in formula to ensure that all kids, including those sad unfortunates who aren’t breastfed, are well-nourished anyway.

We all support advances in formula or at least the vast majority of BF advocates do but we also realize the limitations of doing that at this time. Until the limitations are overcome, formula is still a risky choice health-wise compared to BF'ing. Thus I believe advocating for BF'ing is a valid position if your interest is in improving the health of babies and children overall.  

There are different kinds of formula bases—cow’s milk, soy, amino acid—and they contain several vital nutrients. The fundamental problem with them is that they are not a live substance with all the antibacterial and immunological benefits of breast milk. For instance, white blood cells, which are contained in breast milk and defend against infectious disease, can’t be replicated in formula. Moreover, breast milk is made to measure for each baby at the moment he or she drinks it, changing all the time (from the beginning to the end of a feeding, for instance) for optimal effect.

This points to a key reason why it's not likely we will ever have formula that is close enough or equal to BM in our lifetime.

That said, whether or not formula could contain some of the key ingredients of breast milk is a question biochemistry should be asking, said Suzanne Barston, author of the forthcoming Bottled Up, a sharp and measured critique of America’s discourse on breastfeeding. “If my iPhone can talk back to me, if we can view photos of Mars in real time, if we can transplant someone’s heart into another body, I think it is entirely possible for us to come up with a
formula that doesn’t fall short,” she noted.

OK, now she seems to recognize the limitations in making formula better as compared to BM which is a good thing but she seems to think we can get much closer despite the anti-body replication issue then I believe we currently can. I'm pretty sure people are already asking the question Suzanne Barston thinks we should investigate but I think we already have the answer at least as it applies to current abilities of science. I disagree with her assessment that we can make formula equal to BM using current science. Maybe at some far off point in the future but no anytime soon from everything I have read.

But Ms. Barston, the star of a Pampers-sponsored reality web series, A Parent is Born, and author of the provocative and independent blog fearlessformulafeeder.com, believes that part of the reason formulas still don’t measure up is that there’s no financial incentive for manufacturers to improve them. Even if they did make scientific strides, Ms. Barston believes, the psychological appeal of breastfeeding would be so strong that the activists would find other reasons to favor the natural approach.

First, I disagree that their are no financial incentives to make formula better. I believe a formula that truly was equal would convince a lot of moms who currently BF largely for the health benefits to FF. Sure some, like myself, would still BF for other reasons and their would be lactivists who would promote BF'ing for other reasons. I bet that if, for example, Nestle thought it could make formula that truly unequaled BM they would do so in a heartbeat since that would give them a great marketing advantage over the formula other companies where selling. It may be true that to some degree that currently they push supposed advances in their formula that are of unproven value. This can be addressed via better regulation and restrictions on misleading marketing such that they can only trump genuine improvement to their formula backed by solid studies.

It’s a vicious cycle, whereby formulas remain sub-par and therefore women who resort to them are seen as sub-par moms. “Once we as a society can accept that many women cannot or do not want to breastfeed, we can then deal with what their babies will be missing,” she added.

I don't believe the problem is simply the lack of desire to make formula better by the formula companies or the lack of a push to do so by lactivists or governments but largely a product of limitations in the science currently.

Not that the breast-is-best crew is likely to be satisfied. “Even if there was a formula that could compete with the benefits of breast milk (which there isn’t now, and never will be),” Ms. Dettwyler insisted, “I would still be a passionate proponent of breastfeeding.”

I don't see that as a invalid position. Even if formula where ever to become equal health-wise, I think it's perfectly valid to argue that other benefits still exists to BF'ing. Others, such as this women, can argue the opposite position and moms-to-be can decide for themselves which side they believe in. You could argue then that maybe the remaining benefits of BF'ing in that case would not justify strong government programs promoting it but that does not mean non-governmental BF advocates can't maintain a pro-BF position. It is still a free country is it not?  

It’s arguments like these that pretty much convince me that underneath all the pro-lactation rhetoric is a nostalgia and conservative orthodoxy that wants to affix every woman’s destiny to her biology. But as the highest-thinking creatures on Earth, isn’t the goal to move beyond the limits of our bodies?

Sorry but his argument has as much bull in it as the others. I don't see BF'ing as incompatible with feminism nor do majority of other feminists who support BF'ing. Currently there are limitations in how much formula can be improved. Even if we could overcome those limitations, I think valid arguments could be made in favor of BF'ing for other reasons. None of it is about nostalgia or or conservative orthodoxy that wants to "affix every woman’s destiny to her biology.". It's appears as if she doesn't seem to recognize that not every feminists agrees with her on this issue and  thus she ignores the possibility that some feminists see BF'ing as pro-feminism rather and even those that don't invoke feminism at in their lactivism don't generally have negative motives behind. I don't think we always have to move beyond the limits of our bodies in all cases. Sometimes that's a good goal but I think it's misguided application of this goal in the case of BF'ing.

In that spirit, Sabrina and I, two formula-fed babies who grew into hearty, healthy women, will be nursing our infants from bottles. Some people, we know, will disagree with our choice. They can suckle it.

I wonder what her and her partner might do if their infant is sick a lot or doesn't tolerate formula well. Will her partner remain on board with formula as a feminist liberation tool and the best choice for therm? Will this author stick to her position? I have seen a few moms who discovered that hard way the not every FF babies is relatively healthy and thus changed their view about BF'ing the next child.

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I'm starting to find the rhetoric really scary.  No one has ever seriously advocated banning formula.  Not even close.  I wouldn't be surprised if formula is more dangerous than 32 oz sodas.  But there is simply no question of banning formula.  

So why does this article, and others like it, give me the feeling that storm troopers are going to shove my tit into a baby's mouth at any moment?  

The fact that mild educational programs are being talked about in terms of intrusive overreach of the law is not just annoying anymore.  It is scary.  It is paving the way for any type of breastfeeding support, even for those who desperately want it, to be viewed with suspicion and hostility.  

Another aspect that's creepy:  For years the mantra was, "of course nobody is against breastfeeding, we jsut think women should ahve the choice to formula feed."  Now, it seems, it is becoming acceptable to out and out oppose breastfeeding.  Women who breastfeed are traitors to feminism, women who breastfeed are stripping men of their parental rights, women who breastfeed are against equality and against family values.  Breastfeeding is jsut EVIL!   

 

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Maybe it's just me, but I actually think it's really important that doctors and hospitals are in the business of my health and the health of my children. I would much rather that they were better-informed, less susceptible to the whims of business. And if that makes me a fan of the "nanny-state," then so be it.

Why do many feminists automatically say that natural=anti-feminist? If someone were saying that IVF should be preferred over natural conception because some women can't conceive on their own and we don't want them to feel bad; if IVF were put forth as preferred because you can do all sorts of pre-testing beforehand and be sure what you're getting; this would cause a feminist backlash. That, like the pathologization of pregnancy and childbirth, would put the power into the hands of doctors and businesses, instead of women themselves. How is this any different? Why is it different? The prevailing feminist argument is NOT that women should avoid pregnancy and become parents through adoption, to avoid the misogynistic societal pitfalls common to pregnant and newly post-partum women. So why would we, as feminists, encourage women to fight biology and place themselves dependent on the whims of businesses, in large part run by men? It makes no sense, no sense at all.




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pterodactyl wrote:

I'm starting to find the rhetoric really scary.  No one has ever seriously advocated banning formula.  Not even close.  I wouldn't be surprised if formula is more dangerous than 32 oz sodas.  But there is simply no question of banning formula.  So why does this article, and others like it, give me the feeling that storm troopers are going to shove my tit into a baby's mouth at any moment?  The fact that mild educational programs are being talked about in terms of intrusive overreach of the law is not just annoying anymore.  It is scary.  It is paving the way for any type of breastfeeding support, even for those who desperately want it, to be viewed with suspicion and hostility.  

I can't say for certain what is going on here but I have long suspected that many of these types of articles are written by people who ar ebeing paid by the formula company PR firms such as the International Formula Council. The women who right these article may not be as they claim such as not being moms at all even and may be making up the charges they use to jusify their positions ouright. Even if they are genunine, they mauy have had experiences that have led them to too easily buy into the formla company propoganda that convinces them these sort of programs would limit their choice to FF or otherwise put up unfair onbsticle in their way. Some of them may have their own personal reasons to distort the truth as to what a pro-BF program like Bloomerg's will actually due, maybe they don't really want to society that is truly pro-BF for of becoming a tiny minorty.

Another aspect that's creepy:  For years the mantra was, "of course nobody is against breastfeeding, we jsut think women should ahve the choice to formula feed."  Now, it seems, it is becoming acceptable to out and out oppose breastfeeding.  Women who breastfeed are traitors to feminism, women who breastfeed are stripping men of their parental rights, women who breastfeed are against equality and against family values.  Breastfeeding is jsut EVIL!   

 It does seem as if for a long time those that opposed BF'ing outright felt the need to hide in the closet. Instead of coming out against BF'ing directly they defended FF'ing under the justification of mom's having a choice and attacked BF advocates and specific methods they use. I wonder if it's not the fact that the internet has given rise to a whole new venue for BF support and advocacy as well as a whole new venue for anti-BF types to speak out anonymously. In the past, to get support you had a few books on the subject and maybe a local BF support group like LLL. LC's didn't come to be until 1985 and didn't become common in major cities until much later then that. The Internet on the other hand has open a whole new easy to access venue for support. This decrease the chances a women will fail at breastfeeding which is not so good for the formula companies. So that may part of why were seeing more anti-BF articles lately. 

I also think that another issue that has long existed is coming to a head. Their have long been battles between difference branches of feminism with radical, liberal, social, sex-positive, and other branches fighting between each other. Key idealogical differences form the basis for how each branch views BF'ing vs FF'ing in the context of feminism. The Internet provide a very public medium for feminist debates that once existed mostly on feminist magazines, books, woman's studies classes, and the occasional public debate.
I don't think the sort of anti-BF rhetoric is really all the new, just more public then before. I also don't think it's all that dangerous. As long as the policy makers don't start cow towing to public opinion then I believe that policies like Bloomberg's Lach-on program will end up succeeding once women realizes they don't result in the negative things the critics are claiming. General, the biggest complaints about baby friendly hospital programs come from those FF'rs and their defenders who have never given birth at such a hospital not the FF'rs who have. I am not too worried just yet that such rhetoric will set us back much in terms of BF advocacy just yet. I do think though we should work to counter it as much possible just so it does not have a greater influence then it currently does.

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 I believe that policies like Bloomberg's Lach-on program will end up succeeding once women realizes they don't result in the negative things the critics are claiming.     

But isn't that largely a matter of perception?  All things, being equal, it's unlikely that any sane mother will feel oppressed by having to ask for formula (heck, I had to ask for diapers) instead of having it automatically shoved at you.  

But if you ave been primed with, "They won't even give you formula!!!!!" and then it is not there waiting for you, this will confirm your worst fears.   

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<<But isn't that largely a matter of perception? All things, being equal, it's unlikely that any sane mother will feel oppressed by having to ask for formula (heck, I had to ask for diapers) instead of having it automatically shoved at you. But if you ave been primed with, "They won't even give you formula!!!!!" and then it is not there waiting for you, this will confirm your worst fears. >>

I think a key issue here is that the program is just going into force and none of the critics have actually seen or experienced the program in practice. My point was that once the program is in place we will start to hear from moms giving birth at hospitals that are taking part in the program and we will see how it actually effects BF'rs and FF'rs. I believe that overall the response to this program will not be as negative as the critics who are prejudging the program. I suspect that many of the critics either are intentionally misrepresenting the program at the behest of formula PR firms or are being duped through FUD to unjustly fear what effect Bloomberg's program will have on women giving birth at participating hospitals. This all sort of reminds me of when programs like Medicare and Medicaid where created int he 1960's. Certain groups lobbied heavily against the creation of the programs calling them socialist medicine but President Lyndon Johnson overcame the opposition and got the programs past into law. Since then they have become popular with the public and it would now be considered a third rail to talk of dismantling or severely limiting them. I believe that is key reason why I believe the formula industry is likely clandestinely pushing all the propaganda against this program. Once the program is put into place and all the FUD fails to materialize then it makes it harder to argue for the program termination or major overhaul.

The formula companies tried to stop hospitals from allowing rooming-in back in the '90s but failed and now few would argue against rooming-in as an option. When babies where taken from the mom and put in a nursery that generally meant in many cases BF babies would be given formula by nurses rather then brought to the mom, even if she requested. The excuse being that the nurses wanted to allow the mom to rest. The formula companies like that practices because it increased the risks of BF'ing not working for the mom (through nipple confusion, low milk supply, instilling doubts in mom about her ability to BF). In response to rooming in, many hospitals starting storing formula in each maternity room. Now they want to stop hospitals from taking this accessibly accessible formula now stored in hospital rooms away because they no such a policy would reduce the number of cases moms using formula unnecessarily.

Now I will admit that you will likely still have a few moms, especially some FF'rs by choice, who will perceive having to ask for formula or certain other aspects of the program as creating negative environment for FF'rs and making them fell unfairly inferior. But I do think that overall most FF'ing moms will not feel this way and will adjust to the changes. Given that too many nurses are quick to push formula as the answer to BF issues, I doubt under the new policies many of them will start giving negative "lectures" to moms wishing to use formula.

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