Banning Formula will Promote Breastfeeding - FALSE

I am furious. 




Why? I'll tell you why - Mayor Bloomberg has an initiative to ban formula (or hide it, or something) to force mothers to breastfeed their babies.


I am a lactivist, I have said this before, I love breastfeeding, I advocate for it, I support all mother's that choose to give that to their kids.


Key word in there: choose.


You want to promote breastfeeding, I have a few ways to do that.


1) Lactation consultants: The biggest problem for hospitals in GR are the lack of lactation consultants, or the availability of consultants. Often they come after the baby has finally gotten to sleep, are on strict schedules that don't allow time to come back in and check in with women. I can't tell you how many stories I have heard from women that the consultant came at a bad time, and refused to reschedule, or where unavailable because it's a weekend. Hire more consultant because the nurses have training but aren't certified. I loved most of my nurses in the hospital, but more time with someone more knowledge is essential to successful breastfeeding. 

2) Breastfeeding groups: I know of two breastfeeding groups that meet in the GR area. We have FOUR hospitals. If every hospital put out a breastfeeding group, that would leave three days out of the week when there aren't groups. In all honestly, one hospital hosts a group on two different days, so good for them. More support available, means more women will seek help. I only came to a group because I happened to be there. More groups!

3) Post-partem doulas: I think that every new mom should have a post-partem doula. Someone to come home from the hospital and continue giving support. Even just to give a new mom a damn nap. Meet with them before birth, set them up with help to pay for it, or have insurance that covers it. Too many new moms are overwhelmed and that first week (ok let's face it, the first three months) is absolute hell for new parents. 

4) In home care: Nurses that visit, dietitians to weigh the baby, lactation consultants to give help in the privacy and security of the home, and someone to just come and hang out while a new mom is adjusting. There should be more people coming to visit, which is why I am so lucky that I have had all of these. Mostly because I had arranged for it all. But I shouldn't have had to. Someone at the hospital should have all these visits lined up for the new mom, come and talk about it. 

5) Breastfeeding friendly culture: The thing we need to change is our culture. We need to stop with comments from people that are 'disgusted' by seeing a nursing mother in public. More protection for women that are breastfeeding and need to express milk at work, allowing them as much time as needed to express milk. We need to show nursing mothers in media, in a positive light. Stop taking down pictures of nursing mothers on facebook, why hide a beautiful thing? Sometimes there is a little nip slip. But guess what? It's not because all nursing mothers are sexual deviants and enjoy being exhibitionists. Sometimes there is a squirmy baby. Deal with it. Breastfeeding used to be the only way to feed a baby. Applaud women for their courage in changing how they are viewed by the public. Nursing moms and bottles are the same thing - don't punish women for making a good decision for their baby. 


Now why do I care if women formula feed. Honestly, it's not my call. If there wasn't formula, we would have a network of wet-nurses. There is an issue of choice here. I'm not going to tell a mom she has to breastfeed. I'm going to provide my time for her to give her an atmosphere that is supportive, give her advice, and ultimately love her for her decision. I have a friend that chose to breastfeed for six months and then switched to formula. Do I chastise her for 'giving up?' 


NO. A loud resounding FUCK NO. She is free to make her choice, and she knows what's best for her son. I applaud her for breastfeeding for as long as she did, I wish I was closer to provide more support for her, or that we talked more often so I could have encouraged her to stick with it. But she made a choice and I support her ability to make that choice. 


You know what Mayor Bloomberg, shame on you. Taking the choice away from women? That is the lowest of the low. I am against formula 'swag bags,' but there are so many ways to support breastfeeding moms. And of course there are medical reasons not to breastfeed - HIV, AIDS, babies that are allergic to human milk, and reasons I don't know about.


I am a lactivist - but I support choice. 

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