If you follow me on Facebook, you probably know by now that I am pretty passionate about advocating for breastfeeding awareness and education. As breastfeeding awareness month comes to an end, I’m sure many people are thrilled that they won’t have to listen to nursing mothers go on and on about nursing in public, and the evil formula companies. There is a reason women feel so passionately about these things. Formula companies DO have questionable marketing tactics that have a negative impact on public health. Nursing mothers DO deserve the right to breastfeed wherever they feel comfortable. These are things that need to be talked about, and on a regular basis. Not just the month of August.
I know it seems like breastfeeding is all I ever talked about over the past few weeks. In a sense that is partially true, but I don’t really care. It is an important cause and it deserves attention, for the simple fact that it is a matter of public health and because so many lives are at stake. The risk of not talking about it is much greater than the risk of annoying some of my personal friends and family members (sorry friends and family, I still love you, I hope you still love me).
Like any month dedicated to spreading awareness about a cause, breastfeeding awareness month is no different. Just like the ice bucket challenge, which has taken off over the past few weeks, breastfeeding advocates hope to have only a fraction of that kind of publicity.
Nobody said, “ALS isn’t that bad” or “I knew someone with ALS and he turned out just fine”
Nobody said that because it sounds stupid.
That is what people who try to argue with breastfeeding advocates sound like. Stupid.
I will be the first to agree that some breastfeeding advocates are
over the top sometimes extremely passionate. The fact of the matter is, formula is NOT THAT BAD. It really isn’t. There are plenty of reasons in which a mother would choose to use formula. I won’t even waste your time by substantiating that claim with research, because it’s just that simple. Formula is not poison, formula is not like giving your baby cigarettes, formula feeding mothers are not “lazy”. Formula has a very important place in this world, and it has saved millions of lives. Where the problem lies, is when the “formula moms” go head-to-head with the “breastmilk moms” with their stupid claims about how formula is “just as good” or “better” than breastmilk, and start yelling about how their kids turned out just fine. Doesn’t this make you just as bad as the crazy person who tries to make any mother who ever purchased anything produced by Nestle feel like a child abuser?
It’s just stupid. All of it.
The month of August is about more than just encouraging women to breastfeed. It’s about celebrating the women who worked hard to breastfeed her baby, for however long she chose to do so, and succeeded due to all of the support she received, or sometimes in spite of it. It’s about celebrating the women who breastfed for any length of time, but decided for whatever reason to stop. It’s about celebrating the women who decided to use formula from the very beginning, but did so out of her own informed decision about what was best for her child.
Too many times women all over the world are forced to make ill-informed decisions about breastfeeding based on poor science, and other people’s bad experiences. There is so much good that can come from breastfeeding. Why can’t we celebrate it, educate those who are open to it, and encourage those who are in need of encouragement?
So on that note, I leave you with this. At least someone is talking about it!
Who do you challenge to spread awareness? Because if the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge taught us anything, it’s that it doesn’t take a lot to make a huge difference.
photo credit: nerissa’s ring via photopin cc