Yesterday, I posted this article and said the following:
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say this is why so many people look at lactivists and think we're nutty. I do NOT agree with everything this article says however there are a few things I want to say. 1. How did the protestors of this ad know anything about the situation that lead to this baby being fed a bottle? Perhaps mom died, perhaps she works, perhaps she was at the dr, perhaps she exclusively pumps, perhaps she has cancer and is on chemo and can't breastfeed...WHO KNOWS!? 2. If we're going to portray an ad that includes a daddy bottle feeding his babe, don't we want it to look JUST LIKE THIS ONE?! We always say that feeding time should be an intimate experience, regardless of if it's bottle or breast...how could this be any less intimate? Daddy is holding his baby close, kissing baby's head, snuggling baby...that's about as perfect of a bottle feeding as it gets.Of course, as soon as I posted that some of our readers got defensive about using the word "protesters" and said we were calling lactivists nutty...among others. Le sigh. I knew this would happen when I dared to disagree with the breastfeeding community, but I really do feel that the removal of this picture is just simply unnecessary. I know I know...that's going to make people angry that I said that. I accept that but I really want to say something here.
What do you think?
Why I'm upset about people being upset about this image is that it shows a daddy being so loving, so involved with his childs feeding....it's such a sweet, beautiful image. Absolutely, breastfeeding is best and normal. We KNOW that. I mean come on people..do some people honestly think that we have some hidden agenda trying to normalize bottlefeeding and The Good Letdown is just a front? No. We take hours of time our of our lives to normalize breastfeeding, to assist mothers, to answer questions. We moderate our facebook page, comb through the list of people who joined to look for obvious trolls, we communicate with other breastfeeding pages on facebook about potential trolls...we do this all free. We get together and have meetings about how we can make this the best blog and support group for all the mamas out there...simply because we care. We do not make a single cent off this page. Often times, we buy things for giveaways...just because we want to. Our time, energy, research...it's all because we are passionate about breastfeeding and we truly want to normalize it and help others. That being said, I still disagree that this picture needs to be removed.
There are situations where bottles are necessary. Maybe mama works full time and daddy stays at home. Maybe mama died. Maybe he's a gay dad. Maybe both parents work split shifts so that someone is always home with baby. Maybe mama has severe postpartum depression and needed to go to the doctor. Maybe mama just wanted to go to the freaking grocery store along for 45 minutes and drink a cup of coffee. We don't know what the situation is that leads to this image of this papa feeding his baby. Maybe it's expressed breastmilk and maybe it's formula. In a perfect world, all babies would be breastfed and all mamas would breastfeed whenever and whereever. In a perfect world, breastfeeding would be shown on TV shows, talked about in novels, would be on Sesame Street and Sid the Science Kid. But as we know, there are babies who are bottle fed. And there are babies who are on formula. And as strongly as I believe all babies deserve breastmilk, I also understand that it's simply not always going to be the case. And if that's the case, I am comforted by the fact that the papas in the world would feed their babies like this papa is feeding his baby. Snuggled closely, kissing baby's head, not propping the bottle...he is involved with the feeding.
I am NOT saying that daddy's need to feed their baby to bond with them. That's not what I'm saying AT ALL. What I AM saying is that IF daddy has to feed the baby a bottle, for whatever reason, this is the way to do it. What we have here is a picture of a young daddy, snuggling his baby close to him so baby can hear his heartbeat, feel his breathing and kissing baby's head while he feeds him. This image is the perfect example of how we should feed a baby IF baby cannot be breastfed.
Now, all that being said (man, I can't believe how I have to defend this), I do see why LLL leaders in NZ did what they did but I do think they could have handled it differently. What if, instead of removing this lovely image of papa feeding his baby, they put their efforts into normalizing nursing another way? Could we have two commercials? Could we have two families in the commercial (which, by the way, is a non smoking commercial)? I mean...can't we find another way that doesn't take away this image of a daddy feeding his baby in the most loving way possible? To me, this picture is empowering for young fathers who may not be as involved. Let's fight the bottle propping, the formula advertisements and continue normalizing breastfeeding and breastfeeding in public instead of fighting an ad like this. If it the mother had ANYTHING to do with this ad, I could see an argument but the mother isn't present.
I'm not saying lactivists are nutty. I'm a lactivist. An outspoken one. Every single person I know, friend, family member, acquaintance, neighbor...they all know it. My book shelves are lined with all breastfeeding books, my mind thinks about breastfeeding way more than it should, I talk about it multiple times a day, I hand out "thank you for nursing in public" cards...I am a lactivist. And I've been called a boob nazi, a breastfeeding nut..etc etc etc. I don't' like that we're viewed that way. WHAT I SAID was NOT that lactivists are nutty. What I SAID was that we are viewed that way and when we get pissed off and jump on this type of thing...it furthers that myth about us. That is all I said. And I also said I didn't agree with much of the way the article was written. But sometimes, people are SO quick to jump onto a few words and it gets out of hand.
Let's fight this:
And let's support and encourage this (and more!):