Thursday, May 07, 2009

I am a member of the breastapo apparently!

Total incoherent rant follows! I'm crap at writing at the best of times, let alone when angry.
Making women feel so guilty about breastfeeding they commit says the tactless, clearly confused, Daisy "I let Claire Verity near some babies for the sake of my ratings never mind the fact even the NSPCC were appalled" Goodwin.

This attack, as usual planned just before National Breastfeeding Week, has to be the most abhorrent I've read. Using a new mum's postpartum psychosis suicide as a tool to undermine breastfeeding! I just hope the family don't see this article. This mother was failed, nobody spotted her illness, and the debate about breastfeeding is also about women being failed.

Daisy Goodwin has also failed woman...even parentkind with this article (I'm not even going to start on her involvement on Bringing up Baby). Those who try and help women breastfeed, are mostly unpaid like myself, so this in incredibly insulting someone to get paid to spout myths as usual and undo all our work.

Lactivists, breastfeeding nazis, whatever you want to call us are passionate about the seemingly insignificant issue of infant feeding. Agreed 10 years ago I'd be like "what the fuck are you on about you hippy". But being of curious mind I like to inform myself, after all parenting is the most important job there is.
I'm not doing that pandering about thing, basically choosing formula is taking a risk with your child's health, from over double the rate of SIDS, 8 times the risk of certain cancers and...well I could go on forever. It's irrefutable, nobody faced with the evidence can deny breastfeeding is normal (not best, no mother is best, no mother is perfect), it's how babies are made and born to be fed. So any other way of feeding a baby is to only be undertaken in dire circumstances, when it's a last resort. That is what formula is. Not something you choose because you want a social life. Choose children, choose their life. They come first, that's how it works.
This article describes breastfeeding like some major hardship or hassle (it can be when you need to fight for help), like the life force is drained out of you by somekind of soul sucking alien from Torchwood. It's not, not if you get it right. Which means getting support from family, health professionals, counsellors and peer supporters. Daisy is attacking the help that can make breastfeeding a happy experience and successful. She's not the failed breastfeeding mother's voice she thinks she is here, she's their enemy.
We are few and far between, breastfeeding mothers are bullied into giving bottles, given bad advice, because we ahve faced this we often go on to trying to help others. How dare she put us down and let mothers who may breastfeed down too.

Not that all women need help, I was lucky enough to find it a piece of piss (despite having never seen anyone breastfeed until I did it)...and I have ulcerative colitis. If I'm ill and manage it (and enjoyed it) then a healthy woman can do it! Just need to be fully informed. Which is what I fight for.
Because the billion dollar industry that is the formula business has nothing but profit driving them. They will say anything to make you think it's just as good as breastmilk, and they do say anything in incredibly sneaky ways. This is what angers me most.
Parents do not know the truth, so no wonder we look nuts to them, they have no idea it is a big deal. Generations of mothers have been fooled by marketing. SMA, Cow & Gate...they are all taking then piss out of us.
"Haha we are making them fight, making those who are trying to help the babies and the mothers look like bullies, and we are getting all the money."
I don't blame women who choose to bottlefeed, I feel bad for them, they missed out, they were tricked. I'm trying to stand up for those who are accusing us of being nazis!
If a woman knowing all the risks still chooses it, well on her head be it. None of my business.
But I just think it's a nice thing to do, as a human, to make sure parents know those formula adverts lie, those myths aren't true and that with qualified help 98% of women can breastfeed.
Guilt, it's the wrong emotion it should be anger women who have been poorly supported and ended up formula feeding feel. But it's what mothers do, we feel guilty no matter what we do. But those trying to help women breastfeed are not imposing that guilt on them. Direct these feelings into something more positive instead. Like peer supporting. For I was failed too, my eldest was fed just 4 months, my then GP failed me with her poor knowledge of breastfeeding. Instead of woe is me, I'm trying to make sure it doesn't happen to another family.

As for the comment
"Breastfeeding on demand with your child strapped to you might be feasible in the jungle, but it's tougher in modern Britain. "
erm actually breastfeeding on cue with a baby strapped to you makes life as a mother easier! Do you really think a non driving mother of 3 would make life harder for herself! I got to have a life while my babies were small while seeing to their physiological needs because I did these things.

But basically, if advertising was banned, if all health professionals sang from the same hymn sheet and gave accurate up to date advice and help, if family supported women, if we all shut the fuck up arguing between ourselves, and just get on with trying to achieve the 98% breastfeeding rate that we know is possible (see Norway)...we might just have a far healthier generation of children and far happier experience of motherhood.
As for the 2% who can't, with that many mothers nursing there'd be enough donated milk to go round!


unwesen said...

I agree, formula should only ever be a fallback in case breastfeeding doesn't work for some reason.

Granted, I'm vegan, so I'm against using animal milk in general - but that's not really the point, the point is children's health.

hayley said...

I missed this article completely, and as a fully paid up member of the breastapo I am disappointed in myself for it!! I totally agree with what you have said, I am fed up of being told I am a bad person for making formula mom's feel guilty what about the guilt they impose on me for being judgemental and insensitive?
I have trained as a peer counsellor to help others avoid the turmoil I went through. I have written for this website that are talking about Breast feeding and support at the moment, could be worth a look?