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Breastfeeding brouhaha.

2006-06-19 - 7:59 a.m.

While I don’t often do much commentary on sensitive topics, I do have a thought on the Breastfeed or Else article mentioned by Julie in a little pregnant. This article cites a campaign that “ran television announcements showing a pregnant woman clutching her belly as she was thrown off a mechanical bull during ladies' night at a bar — and compared the behavior to failing to breast-feed.”

People who live south of the border (i.e. in the States) of course have a tough row to hoe when they are often forced by circumstance to return to work long before the recommended breastfeeding goals are reached (breastfeeding for a year, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months). Bloggers and journalers there have commented on the lack of legislation forcing workplaces to at least provide the support needed to pump milk (breaks every 3 hours and a clean, private place to do it – follow the link to Julie for some of those pieces). I will leave that particular line of indignation to those that are affected by those circumstances.

For my part, while I have definitely met a couple of women who are under the misguided* impression that “there is no difference” between breast milk and formula who would probably benefit from an awareness campaign, the vast majority already seem to be aware of this issue. However, I would like to point out that I feel that a campaign to increase acceptance of public breastfeeding would be very beneficial. Women are bombarded with “breast is best” messages, yet are still made to feel ill at ease with the prospect of breastfeeding in public places. We get disapproving looks and suggestions of going somewhere where we’d be more “comfortable” if we dare attempt it. I myself have been lucky to not have felt so targeted, but I know others who have had to put up with it. I read some of the literature I was given at the hospital that was produced by the city I live in and it chirps that all city parks and recreational facilities are officially breastfeeding-friendly. Why, I want to know, do they not say that all city-run facilities are included? If the city is so keen on promoting breastfeeding that they actually distribute literature on it, why is my local park (where I have the legal right to sunbathe topless if I so choose anyway) “breastfeeding-friendly” but I am not similarly invited to unhusk a boob and pop it in Grommet’s mouth at City Hall?

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*And yes, “misguided” is the term: there is no research indicating that formula is better or even equal to breast milk and a mountain of research supporting that the latter is far superior.

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PSST!!! DID YOU NOTICE I'VE ADDED COMMENTS? I decided it was time to give them a try. I'll leave them on the site so long as people play nice and I don't get hit with a ton of comment spam, but I reserve the right to close them down or delete any individual comments when the whim strikes.

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The whim struck. I didn't get much response and then some complications arose that I didn't have time to deal with. Sorry. I may re-instate them at a later date.

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