There has been a lot of attention paid to Breastfeeding in the media this week. And for the most part, it has a negative slant, at least in my opinion. Let me be clear, I am a supporter of families first. I support families who choose to breastfeed. I give them the information and support they need to achieve their goals. I also know that some families are not interested in breastfeeding or not able to do so. I support them as well. Every new family deserves to be supported as they begin a new phase of life. You know my motto-Guilt is a useless emotion so check it at the door.
The first article about breastfeeding was an editorial piece in the New York Times titled Overselling Breastfeeding.
“Yet the moral fervor surrounding breast-feeding continues unabated, with a steady stream of advocacy and education campaigns, hospital initiatives, social pressure and workplace and insurance regulations designed to push breast-feeding numbers still higher.”
This piece talked about guilt and pressure from the Breastfeeding community directed at pregnant and new mothers. It goes on to talk about the big money pay out for breast pump supplies as part of this increased push towards breastfeeding.
Seriously! Formula companies are making more money than I will ever see in my lifetime. They continue to develop new formulas on a regular basis to confound new parents. While the supplies sold to breastfeeding families are truly geared towards the ridiculously short maternity leaves we have in the United States.
If we gave mothers more than the average 12 week maternity leave, the need for a lot of equipment would be lessened. So maybe we should look at the bigger picture-the Lactivists are helping in any way possible because they know the Mama’s time at home is short. However, I want to be clear that breastfeeding is a choice and no one should feel pressured into nursing.
The second article was a rebuttal from the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine titled Promotion without support-a reply to editorials that attack breastfeeding advocacy.
“I am therefore saddened that media discourse on breastfeeding continues to undermine women by putting forth articles supporting the notion that a battleground exists between mothers. This classic patriarchal technique, of pitting women against each other, keeps the focus away from the systematic factors that undermine women around the world, including unequal access to paid maternity leave, evidence-based birthing practices, postpartum lactation support, breast milk banking, employer support of breastfeeding, and misleading advertising from infant formula companies. It is also the result of insufficient funding for public health infrastructures that therefore focus on breastfeeding promotion, without addressing breastfeeding support.”
The author also says “it is clear from every medical expert panel in every country in the world that the benefits of breastfeeding for health of mother and baby, decreasing economic and health inequities, and supporting a healthy environment, are well established.”
This piece it talks about the false information shared about the medical benefits of breastfeeding mentioned in the NYT op-ed piece. It is a continuation of the Mommy Wars. There is a great of evidence that supports the medical benefits of breastfeeding.
Finally, the last article was written to discuss the business side of being a Breastfeeding Mama.
This article talks about the support services created to help new mothers returning to the work force. It offers guidance and support to women who are trying to determine how to create a work-life balance that is so difficult to achieve. Some big companies are looking at work/life balance as it relates to mothers returning from maternity leave. They want to keep these women happy and productive. What a wonderful concept! It is hard to juggle everything, especially when a baby wakes you up every few hours!
After reading all three articles here are my take home points:
- We should support ALL new mothers.
- Maternity leaves are too short.
- Finding a Mommy village for support is difficult, just do it.
- We need to give families more when there is a new baby at home.
- Being a working Mama is hard work, especially in the first year of life.
- The US maternity and paternity leaves policies are outdated and need major revisions.