More breastfeeding snobbery

Every now and again I like to check my blog stats. I’ll admit it gets me excited when I see the line graph which tracks the number of hits I get per day rising rather than falling. I glance at which posts seem to be getting the most attention and who is referring people to my site. I also get a kick out of looking at what search terms bring people to my site. Sometimes they are very logical, others, just comical.

Since I haven’t had a post in awhile, I thought I’d check my stats today. There were two new sites people clicked mine from and on a whim I went to check them out (once I got to linked by a NY Times blogger). The first was an automatically generated link because I too had written about Freakonomics.

The second though, was someone who had posted a link to one of my entries on her forum. When I saw that the heading read “Anti-breastfeeding propaganda,” I knew whatever followed was going to be unpleasant. When I first started reading, I had hope. Here’s what I saw:

“Let me just say that I don’t care what other moms do. I really don’t. I personally think breastmilk is the better option for babies, but I understand if a woman has health reasons or something and can’t. No big deal.”

This seemed enlightened and maybe someone who was going to approach the debate from a cool-headed place. But then I read on:

“What is a big deal is all of this nonsense I keep reading from anti-breastfeeding people. I will not condone the behaviors of a pro-BF mother to badger or guilt a non, but I think this snotty ‘I’m not going to breastfeed my baby, so there’ attitude is so immature. The lies don’t help, either:”

The writer went on to post a link to my blog entry. If you haven’t read it or just don’t feel like going to it, it’s about a law NY was trying to pass to ban the inclusion of formula from bags given to new moms in city hospitals. Now, the writer’s post seems to imply that not only do I have a “to hell with all breastfeeding” attitude, but that my post is also a lie.

Now, as a journalism major (and teacher), I know what good and fair balanced articles are. I make no claims that my blog is news. It was clearly an op/ed piece. However, it’s a pretty balanced op/ed piece. I give an honest summary of the news article. I explain, with a cost analysis, why new moms who either can’t or don’t want to might appreciate the formula. I never once condemn those who breastfeed. I even acknowledge that it is healthy and prefered, but not everyone can or wants to do it. I basically preach tolerance. I won’t paint myself as a saint. I make my point that I think the law is unfair quite clear. But I never lie and I certainly don’t imply anyone shouldn’t breastfeed just to be a snot and show those damn breastfeeders whatfore!

Now, after the link to my article, the “non-judgemental” writer follows up with this:

“I really wish these defensive women who choose not to BF would own up to it instead of attacking those of us who can with these lies.”

Now, this is the woman who claims to each his own, and yet she does what every other breastfeeding advocate I’ve encountered does: assumes with snobbery that everyone is capable of breastfeeding and that those of us who don’t, are simply lazy liars.

I cannot speak for everyone who doesn’t breastfeed, but I can (and do) speak for myself. I could not breastfeed. It wasn’t a latching problem. He latched great. It wasn’t an exhaustion problem. It wasn’t a laziness problem. It was a “my body didn’t produce enough milk” problem. My breast tissue did not grow an ounce while pregnant. I consulted doctors, nurses and lactation specialists. I went on medication. I pumped (for 30 minutes every 2 hours and got less than 1/4 ounce from both breasts combined). I fed for 45 minutes, stopped for an hour and then relatched on a screaming hungry baby for another 45. After each feeding I weighed my son, he gained at most an ounce. Even the specialists were convinced I couldn’t produce milk. So there, I’m “owning” up to it: my body failed.

But see, breastfeeding advocates don’t want to hear that. They want to ignore all of recorded history when people had wet nurses (not just because they were wealthy) and we had sky high infant mortality rates (in part due to malnourishment). They want to ignore the fact that not all women’s bodies work. They want to call us hateful, lazy and negligent for sharing our stories and helping others who also can’t feel supported rather than guilty. They want to call us liars because it’s easier than admitting we might have a valid point.

The writer  closes with this gem:

“I’m just not a fan of handing out inaccurate information while being bitter and angry at everyone who doesn’t agree.”

I think someone should gift her a dictionary and tell her to look up irony. She gives no proof that anything I’ve written is inaccurate (both because she can’t and probably because she didn’t bother trying) and angrily calls anyone who disagrees with her point a liar and bitter.

This is exactly what new moms who can’t breastfeed are up against. It’s no wonder my son almost ended up in the hospital for dehydration and malnourishment. I was so convinced I had to be doing something wrong because that’s what everyone told me. It’s people like her who create the bitterness she rails against.

If only everyone could just live and let live and NOT make people feel guilty for their parental choices.

***Side note: This is the other link on the page which she associates my post with. Just more proof that this woman either didn’t bother to read my post or is just a moron. Read the link, it is appalling and even though I am not a fan of the breastfeeding advocates who bully, I totally understand why this would appal them. To associate my blog in anyway with this tripe is share malice or ignorance. I’m not sure which I’d prefer.

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2 Comments

Filed under bad people, motherhood, my son, pet peeves, problems with society, ramblings, what makes me me

2 responses to “More breastfeeding snobbery

  1. shevrae

    I stumbled on your post after making my own in response to the article “The Case Against Breastfeeding” in the Atlantic.

    Personally, I think the free samples of formula are great. I breastfeed pretty exclusively, but in those rare instances it’s nice to not have to go out and buy a huge can of formula that will go bad before you use it all! Cheers!

  2. katie stevens

    My Mom couldn’t and so I was given formula right away.

    I grew up just fine, went to college, graduated with honors, and ended up being strong enough to care for my Mom when the early stages of Parkinsonism took hold.

    Everyone’s situation is different and we need to respect the choices others make. It seems as if those who are so militant on this topic have much in common with dysfunctional Christian Evangelicals. They think they’ve found the best thing for a person to do and use it as a prop to elevate themselves. It’s got nothing to do really with other people but something internal is going on with them.

    If someone is so disagreeable as this woman was she can’t be much better in other social skills either.

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