When some people first heard about Bloomberg’s decision to encourage hospitals to stop sending new moms home with free formula samples, you would have thought someone had just told them they were going to send them home without their first-born child. Immediately, moms jumped on soapboxes and started chicken-fighting with each other. The problem was, from what I saw, no one was arguing about the same thing.
Stealing Bread Crumbs
All of a sudden, moms who gave their kids formula went on the defensive. I read many comments from moms who acted as though hospitals were going to take away their right to feed their babies altogether. Ahem—if you are planning on feeding your child formula, I hope you have more than a three-day supply waiting for you at home. Getting a few samples from the hospital is not going to make or break your bottle-feeding relationship. If you were banking on those samples because you don’t have formula at home, then it’s one of your first lessons in the unpredictability of parenthood.
But seriously—if three days of free formula would have changed your life, then you might have bigger issues to deal with. I mean that in the most heartfelt way possible. There are moms who struggle, and three days’ worth of free food is a big deal. To those moms, I say: There’s WIC, there are food stamps, and—oh yeah—there’s breastfeeding. That’s free.
Then there were the comments from moms who felt like they were being negatively judged. I read a lot of comments that talked about “pushing breastfeeding on new moms” and “judgment from moms who found breastfeeding a breeze.” Pressure to breastfeed is a good thing. I think every mom should be encouraged to breastfeed her child. Besides the health reasons, there are cultural, sociological, and psychological reasons as well.
We live in a society where so much is being pushed the way of technology: more, faster, easier, artificial. There’s a growing disconnect, and it’s between moms and babies, women and their husbands, siblings, friends. We text each other when we could pick up the phone. We tweet instead of writing letters. And we hand our babies to anyone who wants to stick a bottle of technologically created food in their mouths.
Encouraging breastfeeding isn’t judging people who can’t or won’t. It’s just encouraging this world to get a little healthier and stay a little more connected.
What I thought was really interesting is that many women who made comments about Bloomberg’s initiative were speaking from personal experience. They were all retaliating as though what Bloomberg did or another commenter said was attacking them directly. While that’s meaningful and touching, it also meant that moms weren’t listening to or empathizing with each other. They weren’t looking out for the greater good, and they weren’t looking toward the future to envision the health of our children or the health of our society.
How would you feel if you went to a Weight Watcher’s meeting and the leader sent you home with free Big Macs for the ride home? Just in case you got hungry and hadn’t packed a healthy snack. I’d be pissed.
That makes sense, right? Seeing all of these people who are horrified because they believe their freedom is being taken away, they are being judged, or they (or their kids) turned out fine and they weren’t breastfeeding makes me wonder what part of it they don’t get.
Because, sure, you have the freedom to go through the McDonald’s drive through on your way home from your Weight Watcher’s meeting, but it’s kind of out of the way, it requires you to spend a little more money, and you have to wait to get your food. Wouldn’t you be much more likely to eat that Big Mac if it was sitting on your passenger seat? I know that the only way I wouldn’t eat it would be to tell them not to give it to me in the first place.
I’m celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with Natural Parents Network!
You can, too — link up your breastfeeding posts from August 1-7 in the linky below, and enjoy reading, commenting on, and sharing the posts collected here and on Natural Parents Network.
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