In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1-7, I wanted to share a article I wrote for FG in late April:
April 26, 2011, I had the chance to listen to Earth Mama’s owner Melinda Olson, Mothering founder and author Peggy O’Mara, Bettina Forbes from Best for Babies Foundation, and Shari Crisco from My Baby Experts talk about breastfeeding on Ustream. You can catch the episode rerun here. Recently, Earth Mama’s breastfeeding photo’s were deleted by Facebook employees. You can see the pictures on Earth Mama’s blog. If you are a regular on Facebook, you know this isn’t the first time breastfeeding and even pregnancy pictures have been taken down due to being “obscene.” Ironically enough, as we were chatting that night, we couldn’t type the word boob because it was “inappropriate!”
I recently read an article from CBS Business Network saying that women who breastfeed could hurt their careers according to a recent study published by the University of Montana. CBS implies the consequences of breastfeeding at work may be jeopardizing your career due to the ill conception some people have of breastfeeding. The article states, “A new study found that women who were breastfeeding were described by others as less competent, less capable in math and less likely to be hired.” Even though it sounds like both authors are advocating formula, they actually go on to say that new mothers should breastfeed and insist on the right to do it in the workplace so it becomes “normalized.”
So basically both authors are saying that it’s not normal to breastfeed. ???? No wonder so many women are scared or don’t want to breastfeed! It’s scary to me that it is now considered normal to give your infant synthetic milk instead of the breast.
As a mom who was previously embarrassed to breastfeed in public, there is something majorly wrong with this situation in America. Women shouldn’t feel any embarrassment (or receive ridicule) to feed their hungry child openly. I can’t recall anyone in my family breastfeeding in public. I never saw my friends breastfeed either. So when it came my time, it was something I felt was very private. Now looking back, I find it incredibly ridiculous. But I didn’t have the support, I didn’t have the knowledge, and breastfeeding just wasn’t an open thing. So many other women face this issue daily. They are looked down upon for something that is pure and what our bodies were built to do.
By labeling breastfeeding pictures as “obscene,” it’s no wonder breastfeeding is not more accepted in our society. Bettina Forbes from Best for Babes calls this “cultural booby traps.” On their website, they list numerous “booby traps” that prevents mothers from successfully breastfeeding. There are a ton of moms who get past the “booby traps” and successfully breastfeed. Then there are moms (like myself) who didn’t continue and now feel incredibly guilty. Yes, 4 years later and I still beat myself up for it.
In my situation, my daughter lost weight at the hospital and I was told I HAD to supplement by all of the nurses and her Dr. This is called being “institutional booby trapped.” I listened to what they said, because at the time, I knew no different. My daughter latched on immediately after she was born, but after supplementation, she had issues. I then met with a lactation consultant and she told me to keep supplementing. After 3 1/2 months of doing both, my milk pretty much dried up and I gave up. Everyone told me it was ok to give up, that I tried my best, and formula is healthy. Which I learned this is considered to be a cultural booby trap as well!
Every new mom deserves a strong support system, especially when it comes to breastfeeding. Today, there are so many resources available and so many wonderful moms who are willing to help. Not to mention wonderful products available to help with discomfort, milk production, nipple cracks, and more! Things I wasn’t aware of when my daughter was born. There are numerous ways to help defeat the booby traps and be successful at breastfeeding.
Did you run into any booby traps? How did you overcome them?