I've become a bit of a birth junkie since Charlie was born. I actually care about home births and birth centers and VBACs and unmedicated childbirth now. I do subscribe to a few birth blogs and follow some other birth junkies on Twitter, and most of the time I appreciate what they have to say.
The past couple of days, however, I've seen some really ridiculous (and even hateful) things floating around.
First of all, there was a discussion about bottle feeding in a Zales commercial. A blogger was/is upset with the fact that the baby is being bottle fed in the commercial and thought that it'd be a good idea to let Zales know about it.
My initial response to this was, "Really? Seriously?"
And it still is, kind of.
I do understand where she's coming from. Bottle feeding is being passed off as the thing to do for babies, but breast feeding will always be the absolute best way to feed your baby. There's no arguing with that.
I also understand that commercials like this may make it even more difficult for breast feeding to be accepted as a natural and non-sexual thing to do.
However, as a mother who formula feeds her baby (and yes, suffers immense amounts of guilt over it), I feel personally attacked by such a strong stance against bottle feeding. Choosing to give up pumping and breast feeding was so, so hard for me, but ultimately it ended up being the best thing for our family at that time. I feel guilty about formula feeding every single day because I know that it is in fact inferior to breast milk.
However, we had good reasons for switching over entirely to formula, and that is not something I should feel guilty about. I've learned from this experience and am planning to breast feed whatever other children we may have. I think breast feeding is a wonderful thing, and it'll probably always sting a little that I wasn't able to nurse Charlie. And stuff like this does not help.
Mothers need support to succeed at breast feeding, not judgment. I so just want people to leave their rhetoric at the door and focus on ways to help mothers breast feed their children (if that's what the mothers want).
(You can see the Zales commercial in question here.)
And now, for the mega-offensive blog post.
Long story short: A baby died after his father propped a bottle on his chest. The father accidentally fell asleep, and the baby choked on the formula. Very, very tragic. And you can bet that the father will never forgive himself for what happened.
I guess some people think that in a situation like this, it's okay to say: "Breastfeeding saves lives. I am very sad for this family and for the loss of their baby. Those who argue that formula kills babies are wrong, though. If this baby had been breastfed, he would be alive today." That second-to-last confusing sentence aside, I think what this person is saying is fucking appalling. Way to take a tragedy and use it to the advantage of her agenda. It's pretty similar to what Jerry Falwell said after 9/11. These parents just lost their child, and all this person has to say is "Oops! Shoulda breastfed your baby! He'd still be alive if you'd done that." That is just mean and hateful.
I am so sick of all this breast feeding vs. formula feeding stuff. I'm bound to run into it often being as other birth junkies are passionate on this subject. (I am, too, but I'm passionate about not making mothers feel bad about choices they make. I mean, being a parent is hard enough as it is!) I think it's safe to say that most parents make decisions that they feel are best for their family. Why people feel the need to constantly berate others for making different parenting choices is beyond me.
And now, the obligatory cry of desperation: "Why can't we all just get along?"