Last week I read a post on Selfish Mother about breastfeeding. It was very tongue in cheek and satirical (at least, that’s how I took it) and the general point was that, breastfeed or formula feed, what is important is that mum and baby are happy and healthy.
Within minutes of it being shared, Selfish Mother‘s Facebook page received a flood of “OMG I’m so sick of anti-breastfeeding posts” and “I hate this kind of thing, it stops the sharing of information and knowledge. At the end of the day it’s simply not true that it doesn’t matter, breast is best” and my personal favourite, “I’m totally supportive of choice but just because she didn’t have the dedication and determination to continue on her breastfeeding journey doesn’t mean I’m not doing what is best. I am, breastfeeding will always be better than formula. No judgements if you choose not to but that is fact.”
Fuck off. No really, fuck. Off.
I am an avid supporter of breastfeeding, I am breastfeeding my own child until she is ready to stop. There is no but here, I’m not a but-er, I’m just an avid supporter of breastfeeding, while in addition to being an avid support of women’s rights and with that their ability to choose.
This kind of thing is the reason that women like Katie Hopkins and men like Nigel Farage, with their anti breastfeeding rhetoric, gleen so much support. Get out of my bra and away from my nipples ladies and gents, it is 100% someone’s choice to breastfeed and, I hate to break you’re bubble, but it isn’t always a case of breast is best. Had I breastfed Reuben, he wouldn’t be here. He would have starved to death. I had so much milk with Toby and the same with Edith, that I feel I would to able feed the masses and still have some left over, so don’t make me squirt you when you come at me with the “I’m not judging you” bullshit. In the same way that every pregnancy is different and every human being is different, every breastfeeding experience is different.
When something is written that tries to support both sides and end the debate there is always someone who comes out and shouts “but it’s the best” – well that’s a mighty fine high horse you’re on sweetheart but it’s got a faulty leg and needs shooting.
The whole debate is pointless. Nutritionally we know that breast milk is THE best thing – packed with more or less everything a person could need, certainly everything a baby could need. Unless, of course, that mum is a drug addict. I’m sorry, breast is best-ers, I can’t hear you, what were you shouting at the top of your lungs? Is THAT mother’s breast best? Of course not. It is a unique circumstance where the breast milk would be detrimental to the child. So breast isn’t ALWAYS best. In the majority of cases, of course it is, but not always.
It can’t be.
Is breast milk superior to formula? No doubt about it. Is breastfeeding a magical and wonderful thing for a woman to do? Absolutely. Is it worth postnatal depression, a starving baby and a whole host of medical complications if the baby has to be hospitalised because the mother simply didn’t have enough or couldn’t get the baby to latch? Never. It just isn’t. What I find beyond ironic is that whenever I see something that is along the lines of “who cares how baby is fed, fed is best” it’s always met with comments like “I’m not patting you on the back for basic parenting – feeding your child is a basic thing, do the better option and breastfeed” – actually seen that one, in a “gentle parenting” group – you know the group where parent’s believe in “gentle” parenting but are flat out assholes if you DON’T agree with their every point.
What is wrong with saying do it your way? Why is it that when it comes to the breastfeeding versus formula argument there is always this pressure, this aggression towards women who choose not to breastfeed? I have a whole host of friend’s who didn’t breastfeed, for a variety of reasons: they didn’t like it, it was too painful and they didn’t want to be in pain and not enjoy those first few weeks, they didn’t want to because they don’t like the thought, they wanted to go back to work early. Those are perfectly valid reasons for not feeding. It’s not compulsory, and by trying to make it so, we encourage this image of “nipple nazis”. We live in a society that is rich enough and progressive enough to have the ability to choose how to feed a baby.
So let women choose and for god’s sake, get a hobby that doesn’t involve scouring mummy blogs, social network groups to look for any woman that is apparently “stifling the sharing of information” by saying I don’t care how other people feed their baby.