Friday, August 7, 2015

No. I Will NOT Apologize.

Those of you who know me in real life know that I'm pretty soft spoken. I take pride in carefully wording things so as not to offend, instead to gently yet firmly make my voice heard. In my "former life" back in Portland I had a corporate job and was working my way up the ladder. As with any job, there was plenty of company "politics" that were constantly at play. Many of the things I did involved putting together internal processes and procedures that often involved several departments. Anyone who has done anything similar knows how messy something like that can get. When I left the company, one of my peers from a different department described me as "diplomatic".

I thought it fit me well.

I have always had an ability to bring people together, find some common ground, and make it work. I can also be very matter-of-fact and tell people "this is how it is, now deal with it" but in a much nicer way :).

My nature screams to be very "diplomatic" about everything, but something I read recently really got me riled up and I feel the need to write a commentary on it here today.

The other day I happened upon a blog post written by one of my contemporaries that said, in essence - I won't celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, but I will instead call it World Baby Feeding Week and celebrate how all mamas feed their babies, whichever way they do. I think WBW ostracizes formula feeding mamas and hurts their feelings.

*blink* *blink*

Are you kidding me?

I, too, am a hugely strong proponent of respecting each mama's choices in how to raise and parent their children. I don't want anyone telling me what I should do, and I'm not in the business of telling other mamas what they should do, either.

You know what I AM in favor of though?


And do you know what there isn't enough of?


And I don't mean the crap that formula companies spew through their advertising, subliminal messaging, bags full of the stuff that's sent home from the hospital, and through their sales reps to pediatricians across the nation. I'm talking real information that can be backed up by biased-free studies and scientific data.

I would never, ever, once in a million years tell a mom that she made the wrong decision to give her baby formula. I would never, ever, once in a million years tell a mom that formula is the devil and if you give it you are basically giving your child a death sentence. Obviously, that statement would be preposterous. Formula IS an acceptable food for babies, and though it does come with risks, it's a solution that I'm super grateful for, because breastfeeding truly doesn't work out for everyone, for a multitude of different reasons. I'll save all that for another day, though.

The thing is, I think the person who wrote that blog post is completely missing the point on what World Breastfeeding Week actually is and why it's important.

According to the World Breastfeeding Week's Website, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) coordinates the week, which is "a global network of individuals and organisations concerned with the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding worldwide based on the Innocenti Declarations, the Ten Links for Nurturing the Future and the WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding."

I guess I just feel that the author's politically correct message that she's spewing is terribly short sighted. She is not looking beyond her teeny tiny circle of influence and doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. It makes me wonder if she's ever talked with a young mom who isn't planning to breastfeed simply because she has never seen it or heard anything about it - but once she knows some of the benefits has a complete turnaround and gains a resolve to breastfeed (even if just for a short time). I wonder if she's ever talked with a mom who tried with her first but had literally NOone to help her - no support system at all - so quit after only a few days and isn't even planning to try with this one, yet after learning some benefits, available support, and ways to deal with some of the issues she had, has a change of heart.

Well, I have, and I say that World Breastfeeding Week is a SUPER important week and those of us who participate and spread the word should stand proud, not falter, and certainly not apologize for spreading information about breastfeeding and it's benefits. I don't feel that World Breastfeeding Week is meant to demonize formula-feeding. It's simply in place to spread the word worldwide (not just in our little corner of the world) how breastfeeding can benefit families, communities, and nations. It's meant to educate, not condemn.

I feel like if more people would know more about breastfeeding, then our nation and world could be a much better place - safer for newborns - with the benefit of healthier children, families, and communities. Breastfeeding is a matter of health and familial well-being.

So, I'm sorry, author-of-the-random-blog-post-that-I-saw-the-other-day...I wholeheartedly disagree with you, and I will NOT call this week "World Baby Feeding Week", nor will I apologize for consistently and regularly talking about breastfeeding and its benefits. If a mom, after knowing the benefits of breastfeeding and risks of formula-feeding, chooses to feed her baby formula, I will of course support her decision. If a mom NEEDS to chose an alternate form of feeding because breastfeeding doesn't work for her for one reason or another, I of course support her as well. I will NOT, however, be ok with a mom make those decisions because she is unaware that there are options and of the true benefits that come with breastfeeding. That doesn't mean I'm not ok with the mom, it means I'm not ok with the lack of real and true information and support readily available to all moms, no matter where they are in the world.

Ok - I'm done ranting now. I need to go nurse my baby so I can calm down.

Today's the last day of World Breastfeeding Week this are YOU celebrating?


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