[Parentsgroup-list] RE: Parentsgroup-list] anti-breastfeeding article in the AtlanticMonthly

Michal Herzfeld mherzfeld at law.harvard.edu
Fri Mar 20 01:24:18 EDT 2009


Michelle,
Thank you so much for your post.  It was pretty much exactly what I
wanted to say, but in a much nicer tone than I would have been able to
manage.  You can't overestimate the power of the combination of
post-delivery hormones, lack of sleep, and the sudden discovery that one
just doesn't produce enough milk for one's child.  People make it seem
like the single most important thing a mother can do for her child is to
breastfeed, and to find out that one can't makes one feel like an utter
failure, less of a woman, and an unfit mother.  Hearing phrases like
"you're doing worse when you give formula" simply reinforces that.
I realize this debate centers around the choice to give formula rather
than giving formula out of necessity, but I wanted to give some voice to
the minority of women whose children would simply starve without
formula.  For those who find themselves judging parents who give
formula: next time you see a woman or man feeding a child formula, try
to tell yourself that formula feeding is their decision, and a perfectly
acceptable one.  But if you can't bring yourself to believe that, just
think that perhaps the child is only alive because of the miracle of
formula.
Michal


<-----Original Message----->

 	  	 From: Michelle Forman [mlf534 at mail.harvard.edu]
Sent: 3/19/2009 1:22:55 PM
To: emilie.cappella at gmail.com
Cc: Parentsgroup-list at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
Subject: Re: [Parentsgroup-list] RE: Parentsgroup-list]
anti-breastfeeding article in the AtlanticMonthly =


What I think that we need to be careful of, in our highly-educated
circles, is phrases like "you're doing worse when you give formula," or
extolling the many benefits of breastfeeding over formula. I say this
because in our circles we have been utterly, completely convinced of the
benefit. What I and many of my friends struggled with was the emotional
fallout when it didn't work perfectly. I have watched friends in and out
of this program spends hundreds of dollars on lactation consultants,
smuggle drugs in from Canada to increase production, be told not to let
a drop of formula cross their infants' lips, obsessively monitor the
ounces they were able to pump, shut down emotionally at the suggestion
that their baby looked hungry, be told that a baby rejected the breast
was making unhealthy choices and she should throw out every bottle in
the house, and on and on. =


The message that is not out there - again, in my experience - anywhere
near enough is that breastfeeding is wonderful IF its wonderful. And
that if you end up needing to supplement or switch to formula your baby
will still be healthy and strong, will not suffer intellectually or lack
an emotional connection to his/her parents. I remember a friend of mine
saying to herself "It may prevent an ear infection, Emily, it will not
cure cancer." Especially in the emotional insanity of postpartum
hormones reassurance and perspective are critical, and in my experience,
sorely lacking. =



2009/3/18 milie cappella < emilie.cappella at gmail.com
<mailto:emilie.cappella at gmail.com> >


	Hi,
	=

	I wonder why everybody is always talking about breastfeeding
PROS and CONS. You're not doing better when you breastfeed, but you're
doing worse when you give formula, that's the point. And you know that
when you try to answerthe question "what is formula ?"
	=

http://www.theecologist.org/pages/archive_detail.asp?content_id=3D586
	Of course breast milk is not a magical elixir, people and
journalists who tell that are just doing some poetry. Breast milk is
only the normal thing.The natural process is more reliable thanthe
industrial one, and we don't need to count IQ points to know that.
	The Atlantic article shows that American propaganda about
breastfeeding wenttoo far : some women believed the propaganda and were
disappointed, so now they are initiating a kind of revolt as naive as
their first belief in the magic. It's unfair for the people who try so
hard to obtain a better legislation for working mothers.
	=

	Emilie Cappella
	=

	----- Original Message ----- =

	Sent: Monday, March 16, 2009 9:36 AM
	Subject: [Parentsgroup-list] anti-breastfeeding article in the
AtlanticMonthly

	Hi parents,
	=

	I wonder what you'll make of this provocative article. I feel
like I also had my issues with breastfeeding (especially the inequality
it sets up in the parenting between mother and father) but I feel quite
strongly that it is the best option for my child. The article below
brings up a lot of questions about breastfeeding and I wonder what the
highly educated members of this listserve will make of it.
	=


	http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200904/case-against-breastfeeding
	=


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	=

	=





-- =

Michelle Forman
Doctoral Student, Education Policy
Strategic Education Research Partnership
Harvard Graduate School of Education
617-895-6455 (cell)
617-495-7661 (office)


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