Sunday, August 01, 2010

My Diatribe on Forumla

Today on Facebook Crunchy Mommas International which is a profile for Dr.Momma or Peaceful Parenting Blog linked to an anglefire article
Is Formula Really All
That Harmful?

I am trying to decide whether or not I really want to wean my three month old baby to formula. Although breastfeeding is going well and my baby is thriving, I am wanting to get my body back, and I wonder if it really makes a difference?

Now the article it's self goes into great reasons why you should breastfed and that is not why I'm writing today. There is a ton of information on the web about the benefits of breastfeeding, I don't think I really need to rehash them all here.

Today's thoughts were provoked by comments left on Crunchy Mommas facebook post.
Some specific comments:
but no mother should make another feel bad about how she raises her child, unless it is harmful to the child
Yes, breast feeding might be 'best' for baby but it's a very, very personal decision
Women and mothers need to stick together and support each other

First off, let me say that as a mother who has chosen very non-traditional childraising methods and choices, I fully support the idea that we aren't all going to do things the same way and we need to support each other in those choices whether we agree with them or not.
However, I feel that somethings should simply not be a choice. Circumcision is top of my list, breastfeeding is next. Other things on that list would include not putting your infant in a car-seat, giving your minor children alcohol... etc... most of these things on my list are already laws, though I don't know that they should be, but that's another post (look for Nanny State Diatribe in the future)

Breastfeeding costs the US approximately $13 billion every year, that's not counting what we spend in tax dollars through WIC for formula, no that's just the medical expenses estimated for the health effects of not breastfeeding. Breastmilk is a free resource, that has time and again proven to be far superior to it's man made counterparts. Formula has been recalled countless times, frequently putting babies in the hospital and even causing a handful of deaths. I would say that formula borderlines being harmful to your child, in light of the alternative. It's like comparing water to Coke. No, coke won't kill you (at least not today)but who would recommend it as a viable consistent drinking alternative? If there was absolutely nothing but Coke available, yeah, it's better than dieing of dehydration, but it's obviously not the best. Formula is much the same way. Yes there is a handful of women who truly can not nurse for whatever reason and for them formula will have to do, but it should be the exception and I don't believe it should be a readily available, easy to make choice.
Which brings me to the next comment
Women and mothers need to stick together and support each other

Amen sister!! I know that many people think that us lactivists can be a little harsh and that mothers who have to formula feed shouldn't be looked down upon. Well I agree, that is if they really have to formula feed. I also think that if we knew that formula wasn't as easy as walking down to the local grocer and picking up a can that when we seen a woman in public bottle feeding her baby we would make one of 3 assumptions:
1. She's not the baby's mother but another caretaker with breastmilk in the bottle.
2. She has difficulty nursing in public, so brings breastmilk in a bottle
3. She can't nurse for some reason

If it's reason #3 all the lactivits that I know would nearly break down crying. We would certainly support and lift up this mother who would obviously want to nurse (because that's what is expected and known to be the best) and would be hurting because she couldn't. In fact most of us would rally around her and pump for her baby (I've seen it many times)so her baby could get the awesome benefits of breastmilk.
On Facebook one of the comments said this:
When I feed my son in public, I get glares because he eats from a bottle.
I feel for this woman who also professed to being a lactivist and trying hard to nurse. I don't think she would have this reaction if society knew that for a mother to formula feed she had to go through all the effort of trying to nurse first. Yes, I'm advocating that formula be by prescription only. This is the case is several countries, like Sweden, where their overall health is also better than ours. Now I know a lot of things would have to happen first for that to come to fruition and I'm not saying it should or could happen tomorrow. The overall attitude of our society would have to shift to breastmilk being the expectation. But if it did, and my dreams came true then we wouldn't have as the quote above says "glares" for formula feeding. The assumption would be there was a problem and the baby had to have formula. Rather than glare, women would cry, love and support.
So might I suggest that when you see a mother bottle feeding you ask her why she couldn't nurse. Start making the assumption that she tried and failed, perhaps if we put that idea out there, the expectation that every mother at least tried to nurse and didn't simply choose to give her baby formula, we can get closer to the breastfeeding utopia of 90% of mothers breastfeeding until at least 6months.


Blogger Tori said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 16, 2011 1:41 AM  
Blogger Tori said...

I have struggled with this very topic for a long time.
I've talked to several women who had specific reasons for choosing not to breastfeed, one of them because of sexual abuse in her early teen years and another because of malformation of one of her breasts. She confided in me that even though she seemed to produce milk just fine, the thought of using her breasts to feed her baby and having to fuss with them disgusted her and upset her deeply.
While I don't understand completely these reasons, it opened my eyes to these perspectives and priorities that were so vastly different from my own. It also made me aware of a need that these women have to get the physiological help/guidance they need to be comfortable with breastfeeding. The same way a mother might need help feeling comfortable cleaning the genitals of her child during diaper changes. It's unacceptable to leave your child in a dirty diaper until their skin is bleeding and festering, the same as it's unacceptable to withhold his intended food. This isn't seen as a need, instead it's chocked up to a "personal choice."
I've talked to other women who chose not to because they didn't want to be viewed as hippie, lowly, poor, or too motherly. Sometimes it seems to be that these women also tend to schedule their births, train their babies and care more about what their baby wears than eats and these women just puzzle me.
It's every baby's right to breastfed, and I also look forward to a future where we as fellow women will be able to make the assumption that a mother was unable to feed her baby and that she was made upset by it, that way we can go straight into giving her comfort and a listening ear, and pumped milk too!

July 16, 2011 1:44 AM  

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