10 Things Breastfeeding Advocates Need To Stop Saying

10 Things Breastfeeding Advocates Need To Stop Saying

Editor's note: Today, BlogHer Publishing Network member Jamie Lynne Grumet of I Am Not The Babysitter bravely appeared on the cover ofTIME -- breastfeeding her three-year-old, under the headline "Are You MOM Enough?" The cover is generating quite a bit of controversy: It's shown up on Forbes under the title "Will TIME's Breastfeeding Cover Be Bad for Business? and on Politico as TIME Magazine's Provocative New Cover, to name a couple. Recently, Jamie wrote the below post for BlogHer -- a smart take by an attachment parenting and breastfeeding advocate challenging some of the behaviors she sees. Read her post, take a look at the TIME cover that's causing all the controversy, and let us know in the comments: What do you think? -- Julie

One of the main reasons breastfeeding advocates are negatively judged by the mainstream media is their attack on formula feeding mothers as part of their defense. This really angers me, because I feel that some breastfeeding mothers are aiding in the attack and judgment of my family (a family that practices extended breastfeeding) through their malicious statements directed at formula feeding mothers.

Photo Credit: Author.

Here are 10 phrases all breastfeeding advocates should just stop saying:

  • Breastfeeding is a choice. -- No, it’s not, actually. It only is to women who are able to lactate enough to exclusively feed their babies.

  • Formula is poison. -- We have not engineered a product that completely mimics true breast milk. However, as each year goes by the quality of formula is improving. Calling it poison is ridiculous. Have babies had serious reactions to formula? Yes. The fact is that the chance of any allergy from mother’s milk is virtually non-existent (only in very rare conditions), but that still doesn’t justify calling formula poison. Formula saves lives in many circumstances around the world. I think that we need to be cautious of formula companies and how they are regulating their product. Just like a breastfeeding mother regulates what goes into her body when she is lactating.

  • Breast is best. -- Breast is biologically normal. There are many situations when it actually is not best for mother or baby.

  • Formula feeding moms didn’t try hard enough. -- Really? I’m assuming the people who say this were able to breastfeed, or don’t have children. There is a reason that wet-nursing is still widely used in African villages (and developing countries around the world). Some human beings produce little or no milk to feed their infants.

  • I only judge moms who have never tried to breastfeed. -- How about don’t judge at all? There are some people who can’t breastfeed for a number or reasons: Women with double mastectomies, women who have adopted (yes, I clearly know this is a possibility, but it doesn’t mean everyone can or should try this), or women who are on medication for severe PPD. Then there are just some women and families where breastfeeding is never going to be a good option for them. And that is okay, too!

  • I am just stating the truth, they make themselves feel guilty, that isn’t my fault. -- With that logic it is no wonder breastfeeding has little support for the general public. Words hurt, you aren’t going to be winning any hearts by making someone feel like they have failed their child.

  • If they cared more about their children they would try harder. -- No, if they cared about their children they are going to be making the right choice to keep the entire family (including mom) happy and healthy. That sometimes means taking breastfeeding out of the equation -- whether they produced milk or tirelessly tried and finally laid it to rest without results.

  • Domperidome is all you need if you *really* aren’t producing milk. -- No, it definitely can increase supply, but it doesn’t mean it will work for your biology. Plus, some women aren’t comfortable taking this prescription. Trust your instincts.

  • I just think formula feeding moms are lazy. -- And I just think you’re an asshole.

  • Breastfed babies are smarter. First off, there are many extremely intelligent people I personally know that were formula fed. More importantly, the studies that have been done on this are still not totally conclusive. There has been a link to an “extended” duration of breastfeeding an significantly higher test scores. However, the mothers of these children all were of an older age and came from similar socioeconomic backgrounds. I think the studies are important and valid, but I also think this isn’t something that would be healthy to mention to a mother that formula feeds her child.


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