|July 8, 2011||Posted by Amber H under Breastfeeding, Insight|
I’m so grateful that I can breastfeed. And don’t worry this isn’t going to become a rant from a lactivist. I don’t even really consider myself one.
I was browsing around on The Leaky B@@b‘s wall on facebook, and came across this article. I’m angry. REALLY angry. I’m not angry at the invention of formula.. quite the opposite. I’m grateful that mothers who do not breastfeed have an alternative to feed and nourish their children.
What angers me is that Nestle sends salespeople into underdeveloped countries, and bombard women who just delivered babies with free formula, and the mothers use the formula before trying to breastfeed. Now, breastfeeding is a little like economics. If there’s a demand, there’s going to be a supply. No company will make a product if there’s not a demand for their product; it makes no sense to do that. Breastfeeding works the same way. If your body doesn’t know that there’s a baby that needs the milk, your body is not going to expend energy to create milk for a baby, and your supply will dry up.
By introducing formula to uninformed mothers hours, possibly MINUTES after they give birth, they are going to use the formula first, out of a sense of not wanting to appear ungrateful. And of course, because they are feeding their babies formula, their supply will dry up before they run out of formula. Then they get caught in HAVING to use formula. These people are poor as it is, let’s introduce yet ANOTHER financial burden on them!
Rather than allowing formula companies to go into under developed nations where the people are likely to be undereducated or lacking the resources to educate themselves, there needs to be a better effort into sending certified Lactation consultants in to talk with the women and to give them support. The formula companies all tout the mantra “breast is best” but this seems extremely counterproductive to what they are saying.
In my mind, it seems counter productive to chose to go down the more expensive route when it comes to certain things. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m NOT saying if you formula feed then you are a bad parent; a bad parent in this particular case is the parent who doesn’t feed their child, period. I successfully breastfed Zoe until she self weaned at one, and then I successfully breastfeed Ruthie until I weaned her at two. And I’ve been able to successfully breastfeed Oscar since he was born, and I hope to be able to continue to do so until he’s ready to wean around or after his first birthday.
When Zoe was about 4 months old, I got asked by someone if I had made the switch to formula yet and I replied, “No, I’m still breastfeeding her.” to which the person replied, “Wow, you’re nuts!” I responded with, “Well I’d be pretty damn crazy for spending money on formula if I can breastfeed for free.” Ever since then, that person has not made any comments about breastfeeding. I think I got my point across, don’t you?
I have this same attitude about cloth diapering. Knowing now how relatively easy it is, I just think to myself, “Why on earth did I use disposables with the girls?” I know why now. Because I was uneducated on cloth diapering when my oldest daughter was born; heck I didn’t even know people STILL cloth diapered, and when Ruthie was born I was interested but I was not proactive enough to do research. I had mentioned it to Jeff and he accused me of trying to conform to higher expectations to elevate myself above other women. I don’t consider cloth diapering to be a hassle or inconvenience. Quite the opposite. I ENJOY it. I’ve been told by different people “It’s not worth my time to cloth diaper.” or “It’s not for us at this time.” I don’t understand how some people would consider saving money not worth their time when they they are coupon clippers, but I realize time has a different value to different people.
I don’t consider myself better than other moms for breastfeeding or even cloth diapering. Sadly, the tactics used by the formula companies are beating the mothers down before they can try to find out if they can successfully breastfeed their babies. The way I feel about it, it’s better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all. Instead of feeling superior to these women, I’m angry and sad for them. To have that chance taken away from them via bullying scare tactics, and being taken advantage of.