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.