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Breastfeeding Manifesto (short version)

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I belong to a homesteading board. I love that place! Warm, friendly, hardworking and independent people. So imagine my surprise when I read a huge anti-NIP thread! The upshot seemed to be, its OK to do it as long as no one can tell, and if you CAN tell, the mom is a blatant exhibitionist! :

So here's what I said (I feel better now):

"Well, I try to be discreet but its not my top priority. Feeding the baby is my top priority.

I do try to be 'modest' but I find nothing shameful about feeding a baby.

I am a little offended by this notion that "I guess its alright to feed a baby, if she puts a blanket over his head." Do adults or older children eat with blankets over their heads? Neither does my baby.

Just for the record, breasts are not genitals. Nursing a baby is not shameful or dirty or disgusting. Humans are mammals, and breasts are for feeding infants.

For a breastfeeding relationship to be successful, a baby needs to be nursed on demand (according to the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, LaLeche League, and the experience of millions of mothers including me).

So no, we don't always know when baby will be needing to nurse. Babies don't just breastfeed for food. They also nurse when they are in pain from teething, or afraid, or sleepy, or just wanting to be close to mama. Its not the same as bottle feeding; baby is not necessarily getting much nutrition during comfort nursing. The way the baby sucks determines the amount of milk he gets, and the fat and calorie content of the milk he gets.

This idea that babies can all nurse discreetly, with nobody knowing, is just not true. Many newborns can, which is where people probably got the idea that babies nurse this way. You see, in America, only about 10% of babies are still breastfeeding beyond 3 months. So many of you who have seen a baby nursing without wiggling, were probably looking at a newborn.

Babies really start to develop personality at about 4 months of age. They begin to look around. They pop on and off while feeding (whether breast or bottle), they make humming or slurping sounds as they eat, they stroke their mama and grab her clothes...this is all normal.

But some newborns can't nurse 'discreetly' either. My youngest son had alot of trouble nursing at the beginning. He was unable to stay latched on by himself, or stay awake to eat because he was a preemie. He needed alot of help to get enough milk. Couldn't have done it under a blanket. (I mostly stayed home, but I do have other children to take care of, and things to do in town. Besides, like I said, there's nothing shameful about feeding a baby so I took him with me, and tended to his needs.) I'm glad I'm impervious to abuse, or my son would have failed to thrive. I'm glad I didn't cave to societal ignorance and formula feed him, because he is allergic to gluten and dairy. He would have been extremely ill on anything but breastmilk!

Newborns need eye contact with their mother while nursing. Did you know that the scope of vision for a newborn is about 18 inches? He can't see things that are closer OR farther away. Do you know how far a baby's eyes are from mama's eyes when he's nursing? About 18 inches.

Shaming of mothers is one of the main reasons that mothers quit breastfeeding, or never start. They are assaulted (verbally or physically), insulted, humiliated, taken to court, kicked out of restaurants, doctor's offices, and places of business. That's in America, although every state has a law protecting the rights of nursing mothers! The law is that a mother has a right to nurse her baby, anywhere the mother has a right to be.

Its sad to discourage mothers from breastfeeding. In third world countries, millions of babies die each year because they are not breastfed. This is because formula is unaffordable, babies are allergic to it, or there is not enough good water available to mix the formula.

In this country, babies are in danger from formula feeding, too. (This may be a little known fact). An artificially fed infant is 12 TIMES more likely to DIE in the first year of life. Breastfeeding passes on immunities from mother to child. Breastfed babies are measurably healthier (fewer doctor's visits, fewer ear infections, less hospitalization) and measurably smarter (measuring an average of 8-10 points higher on IQ tests in later childhood).

Just a few things to think about the next time you are grossed out by a baby. Just a few things to consider if you really believe a mother must hide the fact that she's providing the best nutrition, in the best way, for her child."
post #2 of 19
post #3 of 19
post #4 of 19
Well-written, articulate and intelligent. Well-done!
post #5 of 19
Well said!

In this country, babies are in danger from formula feeding, too. (This may be a little known fact). An artificially fed infant is 12 TIMES more likely to DIE in the first year of life.
Where did you get this info? I'm not disputing it, just curious.
post #6 of 19
Very good--I may bookmark this
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

well apparently I'm sensitive, crabby, and WAY out of line . The mod's solution was to do what she did: bf on a schedule so you had no need to NIP!!!!!

These folks all give lip service to BF, more than most.

Unsure about MDC protocol. I wish someone here could read the thread and tell me if I could have done better?
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
no longer nak

Am I allowed to post a link to the thread?

Or could somebody who would like to educate me toward better lactivism, pm me and I'll link you to it?

I'm thinking maybe I could have posted without alienating everybody. I'm not sure how, since all they only wanted to hear what they already believed...

I had another post or two in the thread but they went over like lead balloons.
post #9 of 19
Don't get discouraged! Think about it this way -- this post has 8 replies but about 30 views. That means that more than 3 times as many people *read* the thread than replied.

Who knows who you're reaching out there, despite everyone's attempt to squelch you.

I think what you said was fabulous, I wouldn't change a thing.
post #10 of 19
post #11 of 19
Great comments!

Hmm, don't get how you could maintain a nursing relationship "on a schedule" though... even if you could, it would be so limited you'd never be able to get all your errands done! It takes me 3-4 hours on the short side to do my several weekly errands including driving time and usually the need to stop for a meal for the non-nursing members of my entourage.
post #12 of 19
Originally Posted by ~Nikki~
Well said!

Where did you get this info? I'm not disputing it, just curious.

It's actually 25% more likely to die. Significantly less than 12x, but still substantial!

It was an article in Pediatrics over the summer, I think. I can get the reference if anyone wants.

P.s. Excellent post! I think you said things very well. If you want a comeback to those who said you were oversensitive, suggest to them how they might have felt if you posted that you and others had discussed how you hated seeing (fat, gay, black, disabled, whatever) people holding hands in public and how they should only do that at home. Hopefully, you will have some people on the boards that will identify with one of those groups and understand how inappropriate that discussion was.
post #13 of 19
excellent post!

i DO breastfeed on a schedule - ds' schedule. if he's hungry, i nurse him, no matter where we are (unless we're driving of course ). if i eat whenever i'm hungry, why shouldn't ds? if it's 4 in the afternoon and my stomach is growling then i eat, i don't suffer until dinnertime.

post #14 of 19
there's this reference too regarding the risk of formula that says it doubles the death rate for infants in America:

post #15 of 19

Excellent response! If that didn't sway them, nothing will. My suggestion is to stick with MDC or wear your tough-skin when they're bashing NIP! You did great, Mama!
post #16 of 19
I'm so glad i live in Los Angeles where I've never given a second thought to bf my dd anytime/anywhere. She's never had formula (we have our whole life for additives/preservatives and other fake stuff). Maybe I'm just oblivious. I love what you wrote. Bravo!!!
post #17 of 19
I think your post was very well thought out, very non-defensive, very good overall. It was filled with good, accurate information that was presented calmly. The impression I got from reading your post was that you truly wanted to help the women on your other board understand the way a normal nursing relationship works. I am very glad that the mod on your other board was able to give her baby breastmilk in spite of her poor decision to schedule the baby. Many women - most, in fact - would not have been able to do that. I am glad, for her baby's sake, that it worked for her. However, if she ever has more than one child, or God help her a "spirited" child, she will soon see the error of her thinking. Not all babies will submit to the breaking of their spirits that is often inheirent in scheduling, and not all mothers can tolerate the assault on their natural biological supply-and-demand milk production mechanism. I think you did a fine job. I would be proud to know you as an advocate IRL.
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all for the support!

What ended up happening was, the thread became a long, wild ride that lasted for 3 pages and is still going :LOL .

I posted once or twice more, but they still weren't getting it, so I gave up while they talked about me for awhile!

Then an older, 'respected' member of the community posted a fabulous post that basically restated what I'd said haha. Her point was that, she's an extremely modest person (Orthodox Jew) but there are maybe 5 people on the planet that haven't seen her breasts . Not because she's flashing the world, but because she's been nursing for the past 10 years/4 kids or whatever, and she feeds her babies whenever and wherever they want! Because that's how you do it! (I was like, sing it sister).

So then the OP said she guessed she was just old-fashioned and would have to get with the times, and then the real truth started coming out from other PP's. Just as I'd suspected, they didn't really think anybody should BFIP.

So why the PC talk, like it 'might' be ok? I wish people would just be honest with their bigotry.

SO I'm ok. The only thing that actually angered me was the talk about scheduling. Since I'm here at MDC I'll go ahead and admit that scheduled breastfeeding is child abuse IMO. I've never done it but I've seen it and I think its appalling and wrong.

I kept my mouth shut more than I wanted on that board, because I want to be able to talk about homesteading! But I certainly will not open threads about babies anymore! (It was pretty unusual for the topic to come up at all)
post #19 of 19
I've had that happen when I thought for sure someone would be supportive and was floored when they weren't. My grandma was raised on a farm was one of 9 and thinks bfing is just not right. She is very down to earth and nature focused otherwise, but this one topic is just a sticking point. And at 78 years old I doubt im going to change her mind, so I just don't bring it up.

It's too bad that even in the crunchiest settings we still encounter the backwards thinkiers. kudos to you for speaking your mind!

I agree with you on the scheduling thing as well, I eat whenever I want and I have the capacity to understand a schedule, those poor babes whose mamas think that they can understand the difference between 11 and noon
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