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How not to condescend to those who choose to formula-feed - Page 3

post #41 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamamarley View Post
I want to apologize sincerely to anyone who was at all offended by my previous post. At the time I am typing this, no one had mentioned it specifically offending them, but did mention other posts with a similar tone to mine that they found offensive, so... My apologies.

That said, I feel a little bit of a need to clarify what I was trying to get at with my last post.. I live in a rural, poverty-stricken area. The schools generally suck, there are not a lot of better than minimum wage opportunities job-wise, and since a lot of the parents of people in my generation (I'm 25) and slightly younger are hard-core super-fundies, there's a lot of emphasis on abstinence, and a lot of (what I see as) resultant young (teenage, high school age) parents. I have found, through personal experience, that people of my age and social class (dh, dd, and I get by on less than $1k/mo) tend to not think for themselves. While I don't see anyone necessarily saying, "The Man knows what's best for me! Corporations have my best interests in mind! I love the establishment!" there is a LOT of just going with the flow. Very sheeple-y, kwim? It is the ff'ers with this attitude that bother me.

My older sister is kinda an example. I love her dearly, but she is very "go with the flow" and not so much, "hey wait, is this really a good idea?" When she was pregnant - both times - she planned to bf, I think primarily because she saw my mother bf my brother and myself (we're a little more than a decade younger than her) and was encouraged to bf by Mom. She did not read anything about pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding during either pregnancy.

No really. She read nothing. I am not joking. It's like, if it wasn't important enough for someone else to spell it out for her, why bother?

She had a c-section with her oldest, I think because of FTP. She tried to bf, it was terribly painful and she was bleeding more than lactating. The hospital staff told her she wasn't making enough milk, and they took her son and started to supplement. No LC, no help, just, "Hey, you suck at this, let us do something else then!" Her second and last, a daughter, was born with the help of vacuum extraction, again FTP. Same story with the bf.

She had terrible experiences with both births and bf'ing attempts. And I can't help but feel it's kinda her fault, because she did NOTHING to prepare for them.

It's that that irks me, sickens me. It's knowing that there are people who just do what seems easiest.. Okay, sure, they love their babies.. but wth? It just seems so irresponsible and UNloving to me to not do everything you can to ensure that things are as perfect for your baby as you can make them.

I understand some women try and fail. That happens with every human activity. It's the ones who give it a half-hearted try or no try at all and shrug it off.. and for the sake of their children, and their children's children, I feel like something needs to be done to help. I think that's kinda what the point of this thread was supposed to be - when you feel like they're not even giving it the ol' college try, what do you do? do you say anything? if so, how do you come off as friendly and helpful and not scary and mean? or do you just do what you're doing and hope they want to emulate you? or do nothing?
I have no problems with the original post, none. What I do have a problem with is a generalization in the form of discrimination without knowing the history of that mama's past experiences. A "label everyone the same" generalization that leads to comments that were made by another poster.

My problem is, without knowing the situation how can a person say another mom (or parent) is not AP or doesn't care about their kidlets and the person thinks well I'd never be their friend. That's crass judgment without just cause kwim?

Your posts do not offend me and bring up very valid points. It's a valid thread that makes a person think about the situation more profoundly. I enjoy a healthy discussion but making comments about not being friends when perceiving non AP just because someone does it differently adds nothing to the discussion but hurt feelings or being offended and the perceived need to defend oneself (to which none of your posts did at all).

I should not have the need or feel I need to defend myself but posts like the one that offended me just bring out the worse in me. I'm still quite raw from my past experiences. I always viewed myself as bf'ing and when I failed at it not once but 4 times it was heartbreaking and destroyed some of my self esteem as a person and a mother. I just never figured it would be that hard kwim?

That brings me to this point, why is it that women are never told it can be hard but all those "books" toot their horns about how easy (at least seemingly so) and wonderful bf is. The books don't talk about the tears, the frustration, the engorgement hurting, the mastitis or crappy latch problems, they don't talk about it not being instinctual, they don't talk about tongue ties or weak suckle reflex and not one bf'ing book I've ever read talks about either micro prems or prems or NICU and over coming the obstacles associated with.

Breastfeeding is a beautiful, selfless act any mother could ever commit for her child(ren). So is Exclusively pumping and you know what even supp and FF is a self sacrifice for some women because a woman who needs to supp or FF sacrifices her self esteem and feelings when she has no choice but to EP or supp or FF when she knows she has not succeeded at BF.

It's a bitter failure to me and I don't need it thrown in my face by holier than thou attitudes and "I am better than you and you can't possibly be AP if you don't BF".

AP was around just as long as BF is. You can FF (and EP) and be AP too. Just because there is a bottle in your hand doesn't mean you can't have that eye contact or the cuddles and the loving relationship. It's not just exclusively a BF thing kwim?

OTH, those people who diliberately do no research, don't inform themselves and just really truely don't care tick me off just as much as any other lactivist! I really can't answer the original post because I have a big fat mouth too at times but I try to be gentle and ask in a positive light (if that makes sense lol). I try not to judge and won't without the history behind the situation. If the mama shares with me, then hey I'll be there to listen and support. If they seem receptive to bf'ing info I'll share it.

I'm rambling aren't I...:

Sheal
post #42 of 185
I FF my son after my milk dried up. I saw LC's, tried to relactate twice, nothing worked. I feel like we fell through every crack possible. I still cry to this day when I think about my son not getting breastmilk, and how sick his tummy was when he was on formula. It was horrible.

Just today I was on a friends myspace page, and she had a thing written about how every time she sees a baby being bottlefed she wants to puke, how disgusting it was and how lazy the mom must be. It was intended to be tongue in cheek about the nastiness that BF moms get. But it broke my heart. I dont think I'll be able to talk to her again. I know the benefits and superiority of BF, and like I said I mourn our BF relationship loss daily. I dont understand why in order to talk up BF you have to talk down other moms and their "choices". Yes, some moms do choose right away to not BF. I've never met one but I'm sure they exist. Every mom I know has had the same problems I have. And they're very sad about it.

I'm pregnant now and play on BF this baby, even if I have to fly in help from somewhere else to make it happen. But I can tell you that I've been so turned off from the "oh you FF so you must be a shitty mom" attitude of ALL lactivists I've met in person that I wont be seeking them out for friends.

Oh I wanted to add that this "I cant be friends with FF" attitude is very prevalent. Most people think I didnt try hard enough, or I'm one of those women who says they cant BF but really I'm just lazy. And of course I dont love my child, especially not as much as they love theirs. Its so sickening to me that I have almost no mommy friends. I cant be friends with people that think I'm a bad mom for FF, and I cant be friends with people that beat their kids and CIO so where does that leave me? With a small handful of very loved friends.
post #43 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by *Aimee* View Post
I FF my son after my milk dried up. I saw LC's, tried to relactate twice, nothing worked. I feel like we fell through every crack possible. I still cry to this day when I think about my son not getting breastmilk, and how sick his tummy was when he was on formula. It was horrible.

Just today I was on a friends myspace page, and she had a thing written about how every time she sees a baby being bottlefed she wants to puke, how disgusting it was and how lazy the mom must be. It was intended to be tongue in cheek about the nastiness that BF moms get. But it broke my heart. I dont think I'll be able to talk to her again. I know the benefits and superiority of BF, and like I said I mourn our BF relationship loss daily. I dont understand why in order to talk up BF you have to talk down other moms and their "choices". Yes, some moms do choose right away to not BF. I've never met one but I'm sure they exist. Every mom I know has had the same problems I have. And they're very sad about it.

I'm pregnant now and play on BF this baby, even if I have to fly in help from somewhere else to make it happen. But I can tell you that I've been so turned off from the "oh you FF so you must be a shitty mom" attitude of ALL lactivists I've met in person that I wont be seeking them out for friends.

Oh I wanted to add that this "I cant be friends with FF" attitude is very prevalent. Most people think I didnt try hard enough, or I'm one of those women who says they cant BF but really I'm just lazy. And of course I dont love my child, especially not as much as they love theirs. Its so sickening to me that I have almost no mommy friends. I cant be friends with people that think I'm a bad mom for FF, and I cant be friends with people that beat their kids and CIO so where does that leave me? With a small handful of very loved friends.

I totally understand this and it makes me scared to join any playgroups because of these feelings.
post #44 of 185
How not to condescend to those who choose to formula-feed?

Stop putting quotes around the "tried" when you talk about women who tried to breastfeed.

I wish that when breastfeeding comes up in conversation I could just say, "We really tried, and unfortunately we couldn't make it work." But I know - because I've seen it here, over and over and over - that if I left it at that, behind my back there would be eye-rolling, nasty comments, judgment, and rejection. So instead, when it comes up in conversation I feel like I have to explain every twist and turn of my anguished, miserable struggle to nurse.

Setting yourself up as the judge of who tried hard enough? Does not encourage more women to breastfeed. It just doesn't.
post #45 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaBear1976 View Post
How do we as lactivists connect with people who believe this without alienating them?
I haven't read the whole thread, so forgive me if this has been said.

I think it is very easy. We connect with them as humans, as mothers. Not as lactivists. It is quite simple to connect with another human being if you don't have an agenda for doing so. I'm surprised so many are stumped by this process.

Once that human connection has been made, and *if* the other person brings it up - or even if not - you will have a foundation of respect and friendship on which to base your conversation about breastfeeding.

Or, you will know enough about the other person and her reasons for/feelings about ff not to feel the need to put on your lactivist hat in the first place.
post #46 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheilajolene View Post
I can not be friends with someone who chooses to FF. I have tried, I really have. The first and most important reason why I can't is because if they are FF, then they are probably doing a lot of other non-AP things, as well. It's too hard to be friends with someone who does everything opposite of me. And honestly, I don't want a lot of non-AP around my baby. Maybe it's different when the kids are older, but right now I can't be around it. The other problem is that I don't know how to not condescend. They aren't doing what's best for their child; that's the bottom line. They have not tried to educate themselves and I don't know how to keep my mouth shut. :
Well, I guess you won't want to be friends with me and my adopted daughter. Or with me and my foster babies (when that glorious day arrives!).

You see me bottle feeding formula and you make assumptions that shut you out of the richness of diversity of opinion and people. I see you making assumptions about me and my child(ren) and I feel no need whatsoever to explain or justify myself to you or anyone else. I don't need you telling me what's best for me, my child, and our family.

You may think you know everything and have parenting all figured out. And maybe you do ... for YOUR family, but not for mine.

Why do FF'ers (as women are so delightfully referred to here) resist smackdown lactivism? Re-read your own post. It's all in there.
post #47 of 185
Quote:
demonstrate through your attitude and actions and your perfectly healthy child
Unfortunately though that doesnt work for us all. My FF son is as healthy as can be, while the DD I nursed for 2 years has recurrent ear infections and asthma. You just dont know what things will turn out to be.


I think one of the PPs was right on with the attitude of "If only we lived in a more supportive society" etc... this is a great way to get the point across without laying blame on the mother.

ALso, not to hijack the thead, but I am also sharing a picture of me FFing my first baby. (Attempted to BF, NICU baby, bottles in hosp etc etc)
I just think sometimes there is a picture in peoples minds of all FF babies sitting alone in a bouncy seat with a bottle taped to their mouths. Its not necessarily the case. I sat with DS like this every single time he ate.

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f1...gustPix006.jpg
post #48 of 185
Yeah ... y'know what? ... this whole thread is SOOOO not going the direction intended by my two comments in the OP's linked thread. Lemme see if I can rephrase and redirect.

Hard truth time -- hope everyone is sitting down: I think we are fooling ourselves if we think we can solve our society's breastfeeding problems by persuading, convincing, or inspiring individual women to make the choice to breastfeed, through one-on-one encounters wearing our little lactivist hats and being rah-rah cheerleaders for the glories of breastfeeding.

Can that stuff make a difference for that one individual woman? Well, sure -- maybe. Or maybe it will just piss her off. Or maybe it will go in one ear and out the other. The truth is that nobody really has a clue what goes on in the heads and hearts of mothers that leads them to decide how to feed their babies. We have tons of studies that link infant feeding choices with a slew of different demographic or attitudinal factors ... but that only tells us which types of women are most or least likely to breastfeed. It doesn't really tell us why any individual does or does not breastfeed.

The inner workings of the human psyche are still very much a mystery. People very often do not themselves fully understand why they make the so-called choices that they do. If you ask them to explain their reasons, they will tell you what they currently believe their reasons to be ... but even this is not a reliable window into the thought or emotional processes that determined their actions. The truth of the matter is that most of us are really lousy eyewitnesses, even for our own lives! We change the story as we go to make past events make sense in the context of the present. It's more than hypocritical rationalizing -- it's meaning-making. That's how we humans do this self-aware sentient thing we have going on.

So what does this have to do with breastfeeding advocacy? This: STOP trying to persuade or convince individual women to breastfeed. The one-to-one approach doesn't work. It doesn't work because we're operating in the dark when we fiddle with a human being's decision-making processes.

What we need to do is to change the damn culture. To change the culture, we have to do more than "rescue" one woman at a time from the tidal wave of breastfeeding hostility and sabotage. In fact, most such women will find the notion that they need "rescuing" in the first place either laughable or insulting. Condescending. Patronizing.

Now, don't get me wrong -- one-to-one support and information for those mothers who ALREADY want to breastfeed is a lifesaver. It very often makes the difference between success and heartbreak. Individual or small-group community-based breastfeeding support is key to the whole process ... but if you look, for example, at the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, this key step is only one of TEN key steps -- and it's the one that comes LAST on the list. This is because a lot of good things need to happen for those new mommas and babies before they get anywhere near a LLL group, if that encounter with breastfeeding support is going to do any good on a broad scale.

Do you all get what I'm saying here? Breastfeeding advocacy is NOT the same thing as one-on-one breastfeeding information and support. It does NOT help the cause to do advocacy one woman at a time. Advocacy -- lactivism -- needs to be about the bigger picture, about the structural forces, the powerful institutions, the culture-making processes that influence everyone's priorities, beliefs, goals, aspirations, assumptions, habits, and lifestyles.

This is what I believe, and I've come to that belief over the course of six years of involvement with breastfeeding support AND advocacy (because, you know, we can all walk and chew gum at the same time. It's not either-or.) I've developed this perspective also with reference to my scholarly training in feminist theory and sociocultural anthropology. And one fundamental lesson I take from feminist anthropology is that women are NOT the same everywhere in really any sense at all. Assuming we understand what is best for other women, because it's what is best for us, is an act of shocking ignorance and arrogance. Listening to other women's voices is a great and valuable thing to do, but even this is insufficient if we seek to really understand their world, their lives. I believe we have to respect the individual AND critically analyze her contextual surroundings -- her culture, the building blocks of her reality -- if we're going to get anywhere with this project.

So, for the love of all that is holy and just in lactivism ... PLEASE stop debating whether any given mother, actual or hypothetical, made a good choice or a bad choice or had a good reason or a bad reason or was well-informed or ill-informed or is a good mother or a bad mother or someone you could be friends with FOR THE WAY SHE FEEDS HER BABY. If you're not her co-parent, her baby, or (stretching it here) her doctor or social worker, how she feeds her baby is none of your damn business. If you're a lactivist, your business is how the world supported or sabotaged her in breastfeeding. That's it. That's more than enough, really.
post #49 of 185
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivka5 View Post
How not to condescend to those who choose to formula-feed?

Stop putting quotes around the "tried" when you talk about women who tried to breastfeed.

I wish that when breastfeeding comes up in conversation I could just say, "We really tried, and unfortunately we couldn't make it work." But I know - because I've seen it here, over and over and over - that if I left it at that, behind my back there would be eye-rolling, nasty comments, judgment, and rejection. So instead, when it comes up in conversation I feel like I have to explain every twist and turn of my anguished, miserable struggle to nurse.

Setting yourself up as the judge of who tried hard enough? Does not encourage more women to breastfeed. It just doesn't.
Oh, this speaks to me. Sooooooo often I felt like I had to explain each and every detail of my struggle just to be taken seriously, so that people wouldn't turn around behind my back and snidely say something like, "Well, she just didn't try hard enough..." I've felt over and over again that I had to explain myself, to make it really clear that YES, I AM one of those 1% (or other ridiculously small percentage) of mothers who CANNOT make enough milk for her baby, AND my baby really did reject me, so I EP not because I like pumping (anyone who's spent any time at a pump will know how totally hysterically funny it is to imply that anyone would prefer a pump to a baby, under normal circumstances), but because if I don't pump, I will stop making any milk at all.

And for the record, this is why I can't judge any mom for choosing to formula feed... Because I have NO IDEA why she made that decision. It's a very personal one, and I just don't know enough information about each formula-feeding situation to make a judgment. I would rather assume ALL moms want what's best for their children, so if they make a "less than best" choice it must be for a good reason (which they are under no obligation to share with me).

Thanks for sharing.
post #50 of 185
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MommytoTwo View Post
Unfortunately though that doesnt work for us all. My FF son is as healthy as can be, while the DD I nursed for 2 years has recurrent ear infections and asthma. You just dont know what things will turn out to be.


I think one of the PPs was right on with the attitude of "If only we lived in a more supportive society" etc... this is a great way to get the point across without laying blame on the mother.

ALso, not to hijack the thead, but I am also sharing a picture of me FFing my first baby. (Attempted to BF, NICU baby, bottles in hosp etc etc)
I just think sometimes there is a picture in peoples minds of all FF babies sitting alone in a bouncy seat with a bottle taped to their mouths. Its not necessarily the case. I sat with DS like this every single time he ate.

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f1...gustPix006.jpg

Awwwww... That's a very touching picture. Very sweet. Thanks for sharing.
post #51 of 185
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by songbh View Post
Yeah ... y'know what? ... this whole thread is SOOOO not going the direction intended by my two comments in the OP's linked thread. Lemme see if I can rephrase and redirect.

Hard truth time -- hope everyone is sitting down: I think we are fooling ourselves if we think we can solve our society's breastfeeding problems by persuading, convincing, or inspiring individual women to make the choice to breastfeed, through one-on-one encounters wearing our little lactivist hats and being rah-rah cheerleaders for the glories of breastfeeding.

Can that stuff make a difference for that one individual woman? Well, sure -- maybe. Or maybe it will just piss her off. Or maybe it will go in one ear and out the other. The truth is that nobody really has a clue what goes on in the heads and hearts of mothers that leads them to decide how to feed their babies. We have tons of studies that link infant feeding choices with a slew of different demographic or attitudinal factors ... but that only tells us which types of women are most or least likely to breastfeed. It doesn't really tell us why any individual does or does not breastfeed.

The inner workings of the human psyche are still very much a mystery. People very often do not themselves fully understand why they make the so-called choices that they do. If you ask them to explain their reasons, they will tell you what they currently believe their reasons to be ... but even this is not a reliable window into the thought or emotional processes that determined their actions. The truth of the matter is that most of us are really lousy eyewitnesses, even for our own lives! We change the story as we go to make past events make sense in the context of the present. It's more than hypocritical rationalizing -- it's meaning-making. That's how we humans do this self-aware sentient thing we have going on.

So what does this have to do with breastfeeding advocacy? This: STOP trying to persuade or convince individual women to breastfeed. The one-to-one approach doesn't work. It doesn't work because we're operating in the dark when we fiddle with a human being's decision-making processes.

What we need to do is to change the damn culture. To change the culture, we have to do more than "rescue" one woman at a time from the tidal wave of breastfeeding hostility and sabotage. In fact, most such women will find the notion that they need "rescuing" in the first place either laughable or insulting. Condescending. Patronizing.

Now, don't get me wrong -- one-to-one support and information for those mothers who ALREADY want to breastfeed is a lifesaver. It very often makes the difference between success and heartbreak. Individual or small-group community-based breastfeeding support is key to the whole process ... but if you look, for example, at the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, this key step is only one of TEN key steps -- and it's the one that comes LAST on the list. This is because a lot of good things need to happen for those new mommas and babies before they get anywhere near a LLL group, if that encounter with breastfeeding support is going to do any good on a broad scale.

Do you all get what I'm saying here? Breastfeeding advocacy is NOT the same thing as one-on-one breastfeeding information and support. It does NOT help the cause to do advocacy one woman at a time. Advocacy -- lactivism -- needs to be about the bigger picture, about the structural forces, the powerful institutions, the culture-making processes that influence everyone's priorities, beliefs, goals, aspirations, assumptions, habits, and lifestyles.

This is what I believe, and I've come to that belief over the course of six years of involvement with breastfeeding support AND advocacy (because, you know, we can all walk and chew gum at the same time. It's not either-or.) I've developed this perspective also with reference to my scholarly training in feminist theory and sociocultural anthropology. And one fundamental lesson I take from feminist anthropology is that women are NOT the same everywhere in really any sense at all. Assuming we understand what is best for other women, because it's what is best for us, is an act of shocking ignorance and arrogance. Listening to other women's voices is a great and valuable thing to do, but even this is insufficient if we seek to really understand their world, their lives. I believe we have to respect the individual AND critically analyze her contextual surroundings -- her culture, the building blocks of her reality -- if we're going to get anywhere with this project.

So, for the love of all that is holy and just in lactivism ... PLEASE stop debating whether any given mother, actual or hypothetical, made a good choice or a bad choice or had a good reason or a bad reason or was well-informed or ill-informed or is a good mother or a bad mother or someone you could be friends with FOR THE WAY SHE FEEDS HER BABY. If you're not her co-parent, her baby, or (stretching it here) her doctor or social worker, how she feeds her baby is none of your damn business. If you're a lactivist, your business is how the world supported or sabotaged her in breastfeeding. That's it. That's more than enough, really.
:

I KNEW I could count on you to say what I really wanted to say but couldn't find the words for! THANK YOU!!!! You totally rock!!

Yes, change the structure. Write letters to congresspeople. Get the Breastfeeding Promotion Act passed (as a very first step, not the last one)... Get ALL hospitals to be baby-friendly (will it happen in my lifetime? I hope so.) etc. etc. etc.

I am so grateful for you coming here and setting the thread straight. THANK YOU. Really, the words "thank you" aren't thanks enough. Everyone should read what you have to say.
post #52 of 185
I'll say thanks, too, songbh, because one of the questions I've been asking myself these past few months is what I can do to promote natural childbirth and breastfeeding beyond being an example of how it can be.

I can try to warn my acquaintances about the culture they are up against when they go to give birth and start breastfeeding, but like other pp's have mentioned, there are many people who do not have the time or interest in educating or preparing themselves. One friend of mine is TTC and is very interested and receptive to natural family living topics, another (who went into labor yesterday, haven't heard how things went, yet...) is squeezing her eyes shut and hoping for the best.

What would be most helpful is for lactavists to go out and become a pediatrician, nurse or lactation consultant ourselves, then we wouldn't have to worry about condescending/patronizing mothers as it would be accepted as the norm.

I can hear the complaints now. "I can't believe it! The Dr INSISTS that I continue BFing for at least 2 years!"

I'm kidding, of course.

But thanks again, I am going to redirect my energy toward lactavism at a cultural level rather than worrying so much about individual women and whether I could have influenced them more (although definitely still doing what I can to educate/encourage in a gentle, nonjudgemental way).

-dflanag2
post #53 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivka5 View Post
How not to condescend to those who choose to formula-feed?

Stop putting quotes around the "tried" when you talk about women who tried to breastfeed.

I wish that when breastfeeding comes up in conversation I could just say, "We really tried, and unfortunately we couldn't make it work." But I know - because I've seen it here, over and over and over - that if I left it at that, behind my back there would be eye-rolling, nasty comments, judgment, and rejection. So instead, when it comes up in conversation I feel like I have to explain every twist and turn of my anguished, miserable struggle to nurse.

Setting yourself up as the judge of who tried hard enough? Does not encourage more women to breastfeed. It just doesn't.
I think this is directed at me so I must clarify. I used quotes b/c I was actually with the women I was speaking about and helping them and leaving my family at all hours to offer support. These women-my friends- tried as best they could for where they were and what they knew but they definitely didn't try as hard as I (or probably anyone reading this) would have. The problems they had were minimal....they were just small issues but my friends became overwhelmed, were given misinformation, and threw in the towel. That's why I used the quotes. Sorry if I offended anyone. It was not my intent to belittle anyone whose had a difficult attempt at breastfeeding. I know how hard it can be. I've also been with women who tried *harder* than I would have and were unsuccessful... I think EPing is the hardest thing anyone can do and I have tremendous respect for anyone that can do it for any length of time!
post #54 of 185
Sheala..

Songbh, thanks for posting. You're right, of course, which makes me feel a little bit like a jackass. Not your fault, just my own conscience.

While working to change the world is not a new idea to me, I'm still growing into all this mom stuff. Like I said before, I admit I'm very prejudiced and judgmental towards people who do things so radically different and who seem to me to not really try as hard. Need to pound your post into my head, so I'm going to go reread it a few more times. Thanks again.
post #55 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by MommytoTwo View Post
Unfortunately though that doesnt work for us all. My FF son is as healthy as can be, while the DD I nursed for 2 years has recurrent ear infections and asthma. You just dont know what things will turn out to be.
I have seen this to be true, too! My best friend BF her first and FF here second because, not only did she have a VERY hard time with it due to some sexual abuse in her past, but her firstborn is CONSTANTLY sick. Her second is always healthy. Weird. She also can't tell a difference intelligence-wise between the two. I was wondering if anyone else had BF one child and FF a second and could definitely tell a difference between the two, whether in health or intelligence?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MommytoTwo View Post
I think one of the PPs was right on with the attitude of "If only we lived in a more supportive society" etc... this is a great way to get the point across without laying blame on the mother.

Also, not to hijack the thead, but I am also sharing a picture of me FFing my first baby. (Attempted to BF, NICU baby, bottles in hosp etc etc)
I just think sometimes there is a picture in peoples minds of all FF babies sitting alone in a bouncy seat with a bottle taped to their mouths. Its not necessarily the case. I sat with DS like this every single time he ate.

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f1...gustPix006.jpg

Oh, I love that pic! I have very similar pics. I had to FF due to having no mammary glands (removed during medically necessary breast redux I had when I was 21). When at home, I always took my top off when I gave Andrew his bottle so we could get as much skin-to-skin contact as possible. It is VERY possible to be a FFing AP momma.

I've told the story here before about being out in public and being told I should never have had children if I knew I was going to have to FF, and how "irresponsible" I was for making a bottle. Sigh. I always thought this attitude was lactivism, until I came here and read the definition of it. Now I know better. Unfortunately, those women are making a bad name for lactivism, and that's a shame. I consider myself a FFing lactivist, but of course would never shame FFing moms since I am one! (I don't know anyone who currently FF's, but if I did I would be nice and be their friend.)

About how not to shame FFing moms...I agree with the pp (Rivka5) that said stop putting "tried to BF" in quotation marks. It makes it seem as if you don't believe them. Stop setting yourself up as the sole judge who can determine who really has an excuse and who doesn't.
post #56 of 185
As far as helping women on the individual level/being an example, I guess I could say I'm lucky because I'm an adoptive mom. I have fed both my adopted kids formula through a Lact-Aid. When I am out in public and people figure out what I am doing, they are amazed. I get a lot of "I didn't know you could do that!?" I just smile, and say, "of course!" Like bfeeding is the most normal thing in the world. And that may be key. Admitting that, like lots of things, there are difficulties and a learning curve, but it's just the way it should be.
I try really hard not to judge people who choose to ff, but for me, I would give so much to be able to put my baby to my breast and have breastmilk flow. I have pumped, I have massaged, I have swallowed more herbs than I care to think about, just to get a few drops each feeding. It would mean so much to be to provide colostrum, or a full swallow of bm. I try to express this to people, so they know what a gift this is.
I agree, absolutely that the most important thing to do is to change the culture. If dr's and nurses, and advertisers make it seem like ff is a good thing, and bf is good to try for a couple of days until you want to "have your body back", then no amount of convincing on my part is going to overcome that.
But, changing the culture, and increasing individual's awareness goes hand in hand. More women breastfeeding will change the culture, and a culture of breastfeeding will change the culture. I don't really think you can separate the 2.
post #57 of 185
Quote:
Do you know for certain that it was "for no reason" that she was EPing? I'm not trying to be confrontational here; I'm asking an honest question. I EP, and not everyone knows I have hypoplasia and have had multiple, duct-damaging breast surgeries. Not everyone knows I can't produce enough milk. Not everyone knows my baby refuses to latch on, and has for months. Not everyone knows every single detail of my lactational experience, and if I found out someone was saying I was EPing "for no reason," I would be tempted to cut them out of my life permanently. Them's fightin' words.
It isn't really for no reason, I guess. It's because she "doesn't want her baby to get too attached to" her. That's from her mouth- and she's serious. Since pregnancy her plan was pumping. She's since switched to FF anyway. And taken up smoking pot... and I'm pretty sure the paternal grandmother is going for custody.


Quote:
I don't think these girls are being "lazy" or "bad" or "not worth interacting with" (not saying you said that, btw, just speaking in general). I think they've just been sabotaged, and if we don't reel them in somehow, the formula companies will. They (moms) will pick a side, though. I'd rather have it be the lactivist side and not the one of the formula pushers (marketers).
I do.. but that's for several reasons and not just from the lactivist side of me. Pretty much any friends I have who have kids were FFers- either from birth or from week 1-8 so it definately isn't that. I talked to the other one (the 18 yr old with the Myspace pics) when she was still pregnant about BFing because her mom (who's a nurse) told her that she should BF and that she wishes she had. I told her about nipple confusion, I stressed how sleeping is so much easier (figured that'd be a good sell for a teenager) and I emailed her info on the Center for Breastfeeding, which happens to be in her town where they have a nursing moms group and a first time preggo gonna-be-nursing moms group. I also told her you can see an IBLAC for free and that it isn't income based or anything so there's no pesky paperwork. She never responded. I was very non confrontational, as I always am IRL. It's here that I can get mouthy because for the most part- there's no resistance and everyone else feels the same
post #58 of 185
Quote:
How are you defining "their own convenience?" Let me share something with you. I have a friend (now 30) who was formula-fed. Her mother is/was extremely well-educated and well-read -- it's a safe assumption she knows/knew about the benefits of breastfeeding... She is very well-off, yet she "chose" to formula-feed and work. As far as I know, she is totally unapologetic about feeding her children formula, even today. I could choose to make all kinds of assumptions about this woman based on this. I could say to myself, "Well, I can't be friends with her because she 'chose' to formula-feed her child out of convenience."
I'm not making assumptions. I don't know if most pro-BFers just make up stories about people or what but these things come straight from the mouth. "I'm not going to BF/ I stopped BFing because I don't want the baby too attached to me/ Formula is just easier/ I don't want to have to be the only one feeding"
FWIW, I do know one girl who just had a baby and never BFed. She was molested her entire childhood. I don't blame her for NOT bfing. I didn't even include her in my total count of who I know who never gave it a shot :-) I totally get why moms who work give up/supplement/ don't even start. I get why moms who are given bad information stop/don't start, that happened to ME. It doesn't make my frustration any less there...
When I say I can't be friends with someone who______, I'm talking about the ones in my life- who I've probably known forever and who are just way too different from me anyway- and who *IMO* have selfish reasons for not BFing- not even the 2 days they're in the hospital. Not even JUST ONE TIME.
Is it not OK to have these feelings?
post #59 of 185
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandynee22 View Post
I'm not making assumptions. I don't know if most pro-BFers just make up stories about people or what but these things come straight from the mouth. "I'm not going to BF/ I stopped BFing because I don't want the baby too attached to me/ Formula is just easier/ I don't want to have to be the only one feeding"
FWIW, I do know one girl who just had a baby and never BFed. She was molested her entire childhood. I don't blame her for NOT bfing. I didn't even include her in my total count of who I know who never gave it a shot :-) I totally get why moms who work give up/supplement/ don't even start. I get why moms who are given bad information stop/don't start, that happened to ME. It doesn't make my frustration any less there...
When I say I can't be friends with someone who______, I'm talking about the ones in my life- who I've probably known forever and who are just way too different from me anyway- and who *IMO* have selfish reasons for not BFing- not even the 2 days they're in the hospital. Not even JUST ONE TIME.
Is it not OK to have these feelings?
I think it's probably safe to say that you don't like these moms because you think they're bad moms, not necessarily because of their feeding choice. That you notice they also formula-feed for reasons you don't think are justified, that's supplementary to the main issue at hand: you think they aren't good moms. But the converse isn't necessarily true. Their choice to formula-feed doesn't make them bad moms. They were bad moms to begin with (in your opinion), and it just so happens that one of the "bad mom" decisions they made involved feeding their child formula when you thought it was unnecessary.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.
post #60 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by songbh View Post
What we need to do is to change the damn culture. To change the culture, we have to do more than "rescue" one woman at a time from the tidal wave of breastfeeding hostility and sabotage. In fact, most such women will find the notion that they need "rescuing" in the first place either laughable or insulting. Condescending. Patronizing.

Now, don't get me wrong -- one-to-one support and information for those mothers who ALREADY want to breastfeed is a lifesaver. It very often makes the difference between success and heartbreak. Individual or small-group community-based breastfeeding support is key to the whole process ... but if you look, for example, at the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, this key step is only one of TEN key steps -- and it's the one that comes LAST on the list. This is because a lot of good things need to happen for those new mommas and babies before they get anywhere near a LLL group, if that encounter with breastfeeding support is going to do any good on a broad scale.

Do you all get what I'm saying here? Breastfeeding advocacy is NOT the same thing as one-on-one breastfeeding information and support. It does NOT help the cause to do advocacy one woman at a time. Advocacy -- lactivism -- needs to be about the bigger picture, about the structural forces, the powerful institutions, the culture-making processes that influence everyone's priorities, beliefs, goals, aspirations, assumptions, habits, and lifestyles.

I loved this post and I think it got to the point the OP was making. Lactivism is not about individual cases and I can't see what good comes from discussing them--making judgements one way or another.

To the posters who have been hurt by comments they perceived as lactivist, I am sorry for the pain those people's thoughtlessness caused you. Hopefully you can see from other posts in this forum that we aren't all like that.

It is just so very useless to make generalizations of any kind, isn't it?

As for the OP, my only thought is that the more I learn about relating with others, the more effort I put into keeping my thoughts and opinions and information to myself, unless directly asked. This is not easy for me and I do fail sometimes and manage to cause hurt feelings, even by merely providing info. But even with my good intentions, I cannot take responsibility for how my words or actions are perceived or interpreted by someone else. People can take things the wrong way.
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