Monday, September 25, 2006

Breast Nazis

I know this is a second post for the day, and that’s odd for me, but I came across an article in Redbook (of all places) that really set me off. So, what better place to let loose a rant then here?

Redbook has a section called the “Red-Hot Topic” and at issue in this particular segment was breast feeding vs. bottle feeding, no not the age long debate but if a warning label should be placed on baby formula. This warning would say something to the effect of: “Breast-feeding is the ideal method of feeding and nurturing infants.” And basically label formula feeding an infant a “risky behavior”. (Proposed by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA))

Now, I don’t have a personal stake in the issue because I don’t have any babies to feed with either my breasts or store bought formula, but I imagine that many women who want to breast feed can’t and would be pretty upset to find these little warnings on their bottles of formula. Also, this is indicative of the crazy militant breast feeders I love to hate. These women will breast feed anywhere, any time with no sense of common decency. No the breast isn’t shameful, and feeding your child is beautiful, I would never relegate someone to the bathroom or other undesirable place. But, don’t just rip the shirt off and sit there with both breasts hanging out with an infant suckling at you in a 5 star steak house. Please, use a blanket, or better yet don’t go to such fancy places with an infant so young. Just a thought.

But now, these women/men aren’t just trying to reclaim their right to feed their children unbothered, no they must ensure everyone also breast feeds, and that anyone who doesn’t do so is a bad parent taking risks with their children’s health. This is really where I draw the line, if you want people to respect your choice and respect your right to practice your choice then please respect the choices of others. Chances are the mothers not breastfeeding either (a) cant and no amount of shaming will make it physically possible for them to do so or (b) don’t want to, they have probably already thought it out, how it fits with their schedule and life style. But if they know the health benefits/flaws of both sides and simply chose not to, you don’t make them and shaming them is just silly.

Do we do this with any other diet choice adults make for themselves/their families. If I stop by to get McD’s for me and my family why don’t we slap a label on their that says: “Eating low fat home made meals is ideal for your health, ingesting this food is a risky behavior”. Well maybe we should have that label but you get my point.

I wholeheartedly agree with educating people about their choices. But once they are educated and have made them, don’t chastise them for choosing differently then you wanted them too. So, LLL (La Leche League) and various “lactation” consultants, understand some people cannot breast feed and some do not want to. Do what is best for you and your body and let others do what is best for them and theirs.

OK, rant over.

First Year


Blogger Nut's mom said...

excellent. Thank you for pointing out that some people (like me!!) tried their hardest but just didn't PRODUCE MILK!! and I hate the fucking milk natzi's who treat me like shit when I say I didn't. fuck them!!!!!

ok rant over. and thanks for the IM head's up. :)

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is kind of crazy. I didn't realize how adamant people were about this subject until fairly recently.

Formula isn't bad, it's just (arguably) not as good, right? I think you're right to compare it to McDonald's. You can inform people, but unless you criminalize consumption (maybe MacDo would be a good candidate for that), I don't think you can have labeling that just reflects the opinion of the most powerful (either financially or better organized) lobby.

They put warnings on cigarettes, which are unequivocally bad for you, but at the end of the day, I seriously doubt that it affects behavior. Everyone knows they're bad for you.

Yes, I can now comment with impunity, thanks Blogger :)

11:04 PM  
Blogger Save Sheila said...

I love your rant! I'm the same way! I was one of those people who wasn't able to breast feed (he was premature and the milk just never came in), but I tried so hard for six weeks and then had to give up as he had to be bottle fed just to live. It was frustrating, so I tend to go a little crazy when people say you "must" breast feed or your child will suffer. He's not suffering! He's a healthy, average sized teenager! But I would like people to cover up when they do that in public.

4:49 AM  
Blogger Evil HR Lady said...

I breastfed for 18 months. I even did so in public. But, you would never have known I was nursing in public. Feed your baby however you want, but please don't put on a show when you do so.

7:29 AM  
Blogger LawNut said...

I couldn't agree with you more, FY. I don't have kids and I don't think I'll ever have them, but if I do, I don't intend on having it suck on my boob. So I wouldn't appreciate a "warning label" on the milk I feed my child, as if that makes me a bad mother!

11:04 AM  
Blogger Marcia said...

It's amazing how controversial this issue is, and how it rages through the blogosphere. I plan on doing whatever works best for my kids - if and when I ever have them (but I'm kind of excited about using breast feeding as a way to get my pre-baby figure back, again, if and when I do have kids) (god, I'm so selfish.). Some 30% of women are unable to breast feed, other children have bad reactions to formula. Interesting topic, though...

11:43 AM  
Blogger dicta said...

boobs out: good
boobs out, baby attached: not good

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG. Did you watch Nip/Tuck last night? Part of the dramatic tension was that Julia wasn't able to lactate, and everyone wanted her to breastfeed so that the baby would be "strong enough" and "feel comfortable" for the eventual surgery on his hands.

You're f'ing clairvoyant!

10:39 AM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

Referred here by Nut's Mom. Congrats on your award.

While I agree that women who don't breastfeed should not feel shamed about it, I also don't really have an issue with the new formula labels saying that “Breast-feeding is the ideal method of feeding and nurturing infants". I'm not sure what they are proposing the exact text of the rest of the message to say and how it implies that formula feeding is risky behavior. I would have to read it to comment on that part, but I do agree that implying that formula feeding is risky goes a little far.

That said, I was given a huge box of formula to take home from me at the hospital when my son was born (even though I planned to breastfeed) and I found that very offensive. Since when do public health professionals promote formula feeding? Well, since hospitals get paid by formula companies to deliver the product to new moms. I think that in an atmosphere like this where we're competing with the messaging of formula companies, it is important that we continue to educate mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding. And cans of formula are as good a place as any. I wouldn't necessarily assume that all mothers know that breastfeeding is best (when possible of course). The key is to craft the message respectfully.

1:39 PM  

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