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  1. #1
    Jenn98 is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Default I don't understand the breastfeeding debate

    I'm NOT trying to start a debate. I'm only looking for someone to enlighten me. Seriously, I'm NOT, NOT trying to stir the pot!!

    Okay, here goes: I don't get why people are so defensive about nursing, or not nursing. Yes, breastmilk is best, but formula isn't going to kill the baby, either. I just don't get why some bottle feeding moms are so defensive over nursing more than any other parenting choice. Or why some nursing moms judge another mom who isn't/can't/won't nurse. I will admit I nursed my baby and fought hard to do so (had thrush for seven months until I beat it) But that was my personal goal. It was important to *me* to nurse. But I don't get why others care either way what I do with my baby? Why is nursing sooooo much more important than which car seat I buy? Or when I introduce which foods? Or cosleeping or CIO?

    I think it's important that we make educated desicions as parents, and I can understand someone trying to share the importance of nursing with a mom who is on the fence about it, but then shouldn't it be up to that mom to make the decision that is best for her family? Why does nursing or not nursing make you a good or bad mom? Is it just because people on both sides of the debate continue to push it? Why?

    I just don't get it. Anyone want to clue me in?

  2. #2
    KBecks is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Default RE: I don't understand the breastfeeding debate

    I don't know either but I think it's tied into the idea that as a mother you are choosing what is right for your baby and all moms want to get it "right"........ perhaps not realizing that there might be many ways that are right for different people.

    The other part of it is the breastfeeding advocacy / politics / policies -- for things like breastfeeding in public, providing nursing areas, maternity leave, etc. etc.

    I feel bad for using formula, and I don't know why. I think that sometimes it is judged as inadequate, and that's hard to live with.

    Karen, mom to three beautiful boys, 10/2004, 7/2006 and 10/2008!
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  3. #3
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    elliput is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Default RE: I don't understand the breastfeeding debate

    I don't quite understand it either. I tend to see formula feeding as a modern equivalent to wet nursing, and so I wonder if wet nursing were still a standard practice would we have the same type of debate? All mothers want what is best for their children, but the health (physical, mental or emotional) of the mother should not be sacrificed (as to the destruction of the mother) for the sake of the child.

    Many women are not physically able to breastfeed, many women do not have the resources to be able to pump, many women choose for personal reasons not to breastfeed. Their child is just as capable of turning out to be the next Nobel Peace Prize winner, real estate mogul, or garbage man as mine is.
    Erica
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    DS 9/08

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  4. #4
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    Default RE: I don't understand the breastfeeding debate

    I don't get it either.

    I think it is mean to suggest that something is wrong with a woman if she can't or chooses not to breastfeed or when she chooses to stop. Likewise, it is mean to look down upon women who are breastfeeding whether it be in public, past a certain "socially acceptable point," or at all.

    To me, it is the antithesis of feminism to put women down for choices they make, especially if the put-downs or the "holier than thouness" comes from other women. Yes, sure, most women's breastmilk is probably healthier for her baby. However, breastfeeding is not always the best choice for mother AND baby. When we hear "nurse until it is no longer mutually desired," we should keep in mind that that means a woman's desire to continue as well as the baby's; neither party should feel forced.

    That said, I haven't heard much "debate." I saw there was a show on it in the Lounge? However, I do know women who've felt looked down upon for the choices they made -- not to nurse, to exclusively pump and bottle feed, to stop at one year, to stop at 5 years, etc. Perhaps the "debate" is an outdated concept? Perhaps as education has increased and women know the benefits of breastmilk and of nursing, the word is out. "Breastfeeding is easy, natural, and healthy; here's how to make it work; here are the laws to protect you if you want to do so in public or in the workplace. Now go make a choice that works for your family."
    Fancy Nancy 8/04
    Snuggle Puppy 5/07
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  5. #5
    Radosti is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    Default RE: I don't understand the breastfeeding debate

    I don't see it as a debate at all. The formula companies are a wonderful resource to those who cannot or choose not to breastfeed. My DS was on formula for the first two weeks because his bottom lip curled in and he couldn't latch on. I had no milk for a while and fought hard to bring up the supply. We've been nursing for 7 months now and it is wonderful. At the same time, I am very thankful that Enfamil was there when we needed it. I even called them and told them this fact.
    DS1 12/05
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  6. #6
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    Default RE: I don't understand the breastfeeding debate

    I'm not trying to stir the pot either, but you asked, so here's my view. Some posters here have said they don't see the debate, but there definitely is one. Part of it stems from those who support bfing and feel the formula companies are trying to undermine the effort to promote breastfeeding.

    Take it from someone who wanted to breastfeed with all her heart, but had so many problems that I stopped at 8 weeks. There is a debate and I don't feel the formula companies are trying to undermine breastfeeding. If you look at their info, it always says that breastfeeding is best. Just reading that when I had to choose to formula feed made me feel worse. When someone says the formula companies are undermining the effort and you have to formula feed, that feels like a personal attack even if it isn't.

    To this day, I wish I had been more prepared for the potential problems. Then, I may not have been so overwhelmed and things may have turned out differently. There is a big push to educate women in the benefits of breastfeeding, but no real education in the potential problems and how to deal with them. I even talked to an LC before DD was born and she just said, "Are you worried that you'll have problems?" When I said no, she just reassured me that it would be fine. Well, it wasn't. DD had a weak suck and I had to pump my measly supply for her and feed her with a syringe - entire process took over an hour. (BTW, no matter how much I pumped, my supply was the same.) This is quite daunting when your DD eats every 3 hours, and as they tell you, that's from the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of the next. Even when it takes 45 minutes for your little one to get it down, that holds true. So...DD would finish her feeding and 2 hours later she's ready to eat again. Add 20-30 minutes of pumping in there and you get the picture. Now, add to that a milk protein intolerance with your baby screaming, vomiting, not sleeping, getting eczema, etc. and no one diagnosing the problem for 6 weeks and you are looking at failed breastfeeding. Just when DD's suck was getting strong enough to get milk from me, she started vomiting my milk. Talk about devastating. In addition, I had pregnancy induced hypertension that did not resolve after DD was born, so I had to go on medication to bring my pressure down.

    Why do I give you this whole story to answer your question? Well, when you end up formula feeding when you don't want to, and especially when you have to use disgusting formula like Nutramigen, you feel like crap. Just as I was beginning to accept this, someone at work heard me say that I had low supply. She successfully BF'd her DD for 2 years and I told her that I thought that was great. What did she say to me about my supply issues (without knowing the whole story)? "You just have to pump more." I wanted to scream. I think this kind of thing is what causes debate among women. We all need to try to be a little more understanding and supportive of one another - JMO.

    I do feel that I have gotten support here and I think this board has an exceptional group of women as members. However, the attitudes and support found here are not always the same that you find in public. Nursing Mothers are made to feel like they shouldn't NIP or are even asked to not do so. I have to say that I was given dirty looks and stared at in public more than once when I had to mix formula and bottle feed. It goes both ways and more people just need to mind their own business and understand that we all make choices that are best for ourselves and our children.

  7. #7
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    Default RE: I don't understand the breastfeeding debate

    What's the whole debate about?
    For me it all comes down to an issue of judging others. I think the whole debate is just a case of one person/group trying to judge anothers choices. I do acknowledge that the issue extends to laws regarding public breast-feeding, advertisement, etc. However, I think the root of the debate is solely an issue of thinking if your opinion is right, then that makes someone else's wrong.


  8. #8
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    Default RE: I don't understand the breastfeeding debate

    ITA, however, I think that it's not just someone judging others, but trying to make them choose what they think is right. Judgement is one thing, but trying to make someone feel guilty and tell them that they need to make a certain choice is what causes debate and defensiveness.

    I know I'm probably judged on other things I do, but that doesn't bother me. When someone implies that I am harming my child by using formula, then that does bother me.

    I also think it's so heated because it involves the things that we value most in life. We don't want anyone telling us that what we are doing is wrong for our child. The bottom line is that formula feeding is not wrong, but maybe not the best choice. However, some women have no other choice. In the same vein, NIP is not wrong and women are made to feel that it is.

    Like you said, it is judging others, but why do people feel the need to be so vocal about it? They aren't this vocal about other issues. I certainly see people doing things that most assuredly are harmful to their children - those are the things that people should be concerned about, not how you choose to feed your child.

    BTW, why aren't these same people/groups concerned about what others feed their child after they are on table foods? I had to formula feed, but I really try to feed DD healthy foods now. I bet some of the most judgemental people are feeding their kids McDonald's french fries and chicken nuggets everyday!

  9. #9
    Tondi G is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Default RE: I don't understand the breastfeeding debate

    I'm with you. I don't really understand it. It is almost as heated and prolife vs. prochoice as far as I've seen!!!!

    I breastfed my first son till he was over 2 years of age and fully intended to do the same with my second son. I had to take a medication that forced me to pump and dump.... by the time I attempted to go back to BFing Aidan refused the breast and I didn't have the energy to fight back. I felt terrible. I felt like a failure. It was awful at that time.... seeing all the commercials and reading everything that shouted at me that breast was best and I was giving my baby second rate food!!!! Then I snapped out of it and realized how thankful I was for Enfamil and that formula was/is available. My second son is just as bright and healthy as my 100% breastfed child. I don't regret anything now! I am a firm believer in choice (for everything) and am thankful there is an option out there for those of us who can't/don't breastfeed. Now if/when we have another child I do intend to breastfeed him/her cause having done the formula thing I realize that it is DARN expensive!!!! :)

    I think it is just one of those topics that people tend to be very passionate about!

    ~Tondi
    Mommy to Mason 7/8/01 and Aidan 5/4/05

  10. #10
    Moneypenny is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Default RE: I don't understand the breastfeeding debate

    For me, the debate isn't about the choice the mom makes, but in making sure the mom is making an informed choice. There are risks to choosing formula over breastmilk. Some moms don't know that.

    If someone does know that and chooses formula just because they think breasfeeding is "gross" or something, then I will momentarily judge in the form of thinking, "Gee, that's too bad", but I move on. We all make choices in our parenting that can be judged by others. As to why we all pay so much attention to what others do with their children, I think it's basically a security issue. We all want to think that we are doing the best for OUR baby and if someone is doing something different, it makes us feel better to think what they are doing isn't just different, but not as good. It's kind of a screwed up way to think about things, but probably pretty normal.

    Susan
    mama to my cutie pie, Avery
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