Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Got Milk?

I am going to try to attempt to explain my feelings on this delicate subject without casting blame or judgment on anyone, and if I do, than please understand that it is not my intention, okay?

What concerns me is that enough women are upset by the new pro-breastfeeding advertisements to get their "issue" on the 11 o'clock news. Apparently they are deeply offended by what the commercials insinuate: that by choosing not to breastfeed, you are taking an unnecessary risk with your child's health. I do not agree with the ad campaign's approach, but I don't think that non-breastfeeding women nationwide should have their panties in a bunch over it either. I guess I would say that I see both sides, but refuse to jump on either's side because I feel that they are both being way too extreme. Since when did it become of national concern whether a mother decides to breastfeed HER child?

The fact that I was lucky enough to be able to, felt comfortable with it and my lifestyle was conducive to it have nothing to do with my opinion. If I hadn't been able to breastfeed I am completely sure that I would feel the same way and would not be publicly protesting these ads. Are people that affected by what others think they should do regarding their children's nutrition?

If that is the case, why aren't these same mothers protesting outside of McDonald's playlands because aren't those parents also making poor nutritional choices for their kids? I am not suggesting that this is a rational idea, but I think that it is just as valid as advertisers making women feel horrible for their choices (even if it wasn't a choice they could make - some women are unable to breastfeed, not because they chose not to). And the women on the other side of this debate need to drop it.

Breastfeeding has fallen in and out of the social norm more times than I can count. Yes, I agree that its benefits are infinite in a perfect situation, but doesn't anybody realize what century we are living in? During the 40's and 50's breastfeeding was not the "norm". In the 60's it wasn't "cool" to breastfeed, in the 70's it became more acceptable, all the while, those who chose not to, fed their children "formula" that was far from the "formula" of today. Some of them even gave their kids (gasp) cows milk, and goats milk!

Where are these generations today? Oh yes, they are the ones that invented the internet, created Microsoft, changed laws, improved medicine, fought for civil rights and women's rights. They are a pretty messed up bunch, aren't they?

Just because I breastfed my babies and you didn't does not dictate that we are natural enemies and should be making eachother feel bad for our choices.

There are, of course, extremists on each side. I still remember phoning LaLeche League when I was nursing our first baby and after I hung up the phone, I knew I'd never call them again (my mom must've been out-of-town or something). And guess what, I figured it out and we breastfed normally for about a year. It was a choice that was right for me. Had I chosen not to, I would hope that I would've been treated the same.

It is no different than buying organic vs. non-organic. Are these folks slinging mud at eachother on tv? Nope, don't think so. It is your choice what you put into your body, and granted, an infant has his choices made for him not by him, but people are different. It may be unhealthy for people to live close to a nuclear power plant, but nobody is telling them they can't live there. What about high voltage power lines, we still sell real estate under them too. And for that matter, lets take into consideration the folks who live on the San Andreas fault, or in the Gulf of Mexico, it is their choice to live there and we aren't going to tell them that they can't. I realize that I've gone off on a tangent, but I feel so strongly that we need to allow each other to make our own choices.

What is the point of living in a country that stands upon the words "the free and the brave" if we can't stop ridiculing others for their legal choices?

This isn't the business of advertisers. It is the business of parents, and if we are all making educated, safe decisions regarding our own health and that of our kids, than whose business is it? Give each other a break.

13 comments:

Mamacita Tina said...

Do you know of a link to the ad? I'm not familiar with it and tried to google it without success.

Scary, but it seems we Americans are extremists. Hardly anyone takes the middle ground anymore. I just hope the ad was sent as a way to get information out to expecting mothers and make them aware of their choices.

I agree with you, each mother has to decide what will work best with her circumstance.

Angry Dad said...

I couldn't agree more, but with most things your going to have you 80% who sit in the middle and aren't fussed either way, and then the extermists at either end who demand their views be heard.

carrie said...

Tina,

I failed to find a link as well. The story was aired last night (6/14) on our local NBC station ( http:www.king5.com ). The ads portrayed very pregnant women doing things like log rolling and riding mechanical bulls in a bar and than said "you wouldn't take risks before your baby was born, why would you after?". I will see if I can find anything more out. Obviously, it sent me into a tailspin!!! Thanks for commenting! :)

Carrie

carrie said...

Okay, a little googling later and here is a link that provides the story behind the ads (from the people who made them: http:www.breasfeedingtaskforla.org/media/gazette/Oct-Nov-04.htm . The article is dated '04, I guess our media is a little slow, or maybe the ads weren't ever used and now they are being considered again? However, the women upset about the ads were NEWLY irritated, so we'll see...
Anyway, if you'd like all the info on the ad, go check it out!

Carrie

Dirty Birdie said...

LaLeche has been out there since the 70's preaching the wholesome goodness of breastfeeding. I personally plan to breastfeed when Anna is born. It's my preference because I believe in the health benefits to my child. However, my best friend was unable to breastfeed and her son is perfectly healthy.

Breastfeeding is a personal choice that should be made by the parents based on the ability of the mother. I haven't seen the ad so I don't know how in your face the ad is but an advertisement advocating the health benefits of breastfeeding alone should not be a cause for such uproar. Even formula commericials say "Mom's milk is better but....blah blah blah formula is great."

The only thing that gets under my skin is women who don't want to breast feed for "cosmetic" reasons. I think that shows a lack of parental responsibility to put your child first, IMHO.

Dirty Birdie said...

Oh.. and thanks for stopping by my blog Carrie :)

Pendullum said...

I can not believe how many militant breastfeeders there are out there...
If it works for you great...(It did work for me and I was VERY lucky... My daughter breastfed for 2 years 3 months 6 days and 4 minutes but who's counting??? HA!)
But I have had friends that could not... and they practically had to ask for permission from fellow moms to bottle feed... RIDICULOUS!!!
Whatever gets you through the night... and who is to judge???
and ads that come on when a mom is vulernable... Well that is just sad..
Do what is best for you and your family... and what gets you through the night... and whatever you do, whatever a mother's choice is... she needs to be recharged and ready to go in the morning...
to start it all over again...

Mel said...

Boobs? Man, that's what they're for! Anyone who sees something dirty or unwholesome in breastfeeding has a nasty little mind. Although I will say that a courtesy covering would be nice, it isn't necessary.
Also, ditto what angrydad said.

Gen said...

I loved the McDonalds comment - how true is that??

I must say that I really do wonder why we as women always have to compete with each other when we should be supporting each other. Is it an instinct? Breastfeeding, working, staying at home, etc - I agree with all of what you wrote. It is up to the mother to decide what is best for her child - and how dare the other side pass judgment!

sunshine scribe said...

Here here.

I breastfed and saw it as a choice. I did not judge those who made a different choice and all the extreme battles about it made me mad.

Nut's mom said...

Hi,

I stumbled onto your blog and I like it a lot! I just had a baby three and a half months ago and I have to tell you that I don't breast feed. it's not like I didn't try or anything, I just simply didn't produce enough milk to sustain my son. and what kills me is that the nurses at the hospital when I delievered treated me like sh*t for even thinking of formula!

Why do people play boob nazis? I mean really, people ask if I breast feed and I say no and I get these horrifed looks from the folks who asked and I feel like I have to explain that I didn't produce milk. I mean really, WTF?? it's a personal question too, often from a complete stranger.

And a complete stranger I am and I have just ranted on your blog. sorry about that.

something blue said...

Unfortunately breastfeeding was not my choice I could make. I didn't have the milk supply. Doctors told me I could take hormones to bring in the milk but they didn't recommend that, so my babies only got a small dose of breast milk before they switched over to formula.

I wish I had more of the bonding experience that mothers gush over about breastfeeding.

People shouldn't be so quick to judge. There are always factors at play.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I have probably exhausted my comments on this issue, but wanted to just pop in on your blog, too!

I think that when moms are considering their choices before baby arrives, I would hope that they would do the best for their child that they are capable of doing. Knowledge is power, so I hope that these ads at least educate the group of people that were unaware that there is a difference between breastmilk and formula.

Again, above all, a mom should never feel guilty for giving their all, doing the best that they are capable of doing.

And also, another mom should never make another mom feel less-than for doing things "differently". You don't know the whole story. We should never, ever assume!