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The rhetoric about formula feeding - Page 2

post #21 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by sophiekat View Post
well, i would disagree with marie wrt guilt -- i think it can lead to making incredibly unwise choices in a given situation out of guilt to "make up for" a past decision. when guilt blinds us to everything but making up for what we've done in the past it doesn't serve anyone well.
That description doesn't sound like "guilt" to me, it sounds like a mental issue/block. No need to go off the deep end for regret.
post #22 of 173
I agree that 4th best and inferior are just statements of fact.

Do I think FF moms are terrible people who don't deserve their children? Of course not! I also don't agree with the whole "formula is rat poison" sentiment. THOSE I see as formula bashing. It is not rat poison, it is inferior nutrition that, while less than optimal, is able to support a growing baby.
post #23 of 173
When attempting to evangelize, or communicating with the media, it's best to be factual. So, using terms like "inferior" or mentioning the WHO standards, etc. is the best way to go. Here, in this forum, which I view as a safe place to express frustration with the number of formula feeding parents, I think allowing more defamatory terms is ok.
post #24 of 173
Kerri - I do see what you are saying. While I agree that in almost all cases, breastmilk is a better source of nutrition than formula - and this should be pointed out, I think the rhetoric can sometimes be so negative that its counterproductive. It can be devicive to the point where the unknowing public perceives the "breastfeeding movement" as a fringe group for a "lifestyle choice" (BTW I hate hearing that term in regard to BFing) rather than understanding that it is the scientifically/medically proven norm. (Sorry if that doesn't make sense - my brain is fried)

And on another note, of what I think you might be getting at, although standard infant formula in healthy babies causes a lot of harm, formula manufacturers do make products that save a lot of lives, which I know my DS has benefited from - i.e. breastmilk fortifiers, medium chain fat formulas (which we are having to use short term until brestmilk can continue) so I don't necessarily know that we can blanket that all formula is evil. Although from my short experience so far with FFing, it really is disgusting!!
post #25 of 173
Please keep in mind, while having this discussion, the lactivism forum guidelines:
Quote:
The Lactivism forum is not intended to be a place where MDCers to bash mothers who are formula feeding. It is understandable that lactivists become frustrated over the mainstream formula feeding culture. Criticizing ideas, campaigns, and actions that negatively impact breastfeeding are all acceptable forms of lactivism. Name calling, criticizing individuals, or attacking women who choose to formula feed as a group are not.
post #26 of 173
"Inferior" is a fact, but personally I have always thought "4th best" was an exageration. Because the first 3 choices are breastmilk, breastmilk, and breastmilk. It seems like someone just decided "I'm going to divide breastmilk into 3 different sub chatagories so that formula will sound really, really, really bad; instead of just 'inferior' it will sound really horrible!" I never liked "4th best" but I guess I'm in the minority on that? But anyway, personaly I would NEVER tell a mom that they've made the 4th best (ie, worst) decision for their baby.
post #27 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by frontierpsych View Post
I agree that 4th best and inferior are just statements of fact.

Do I think FF moms are terrible people who don't deserve their children? Of course not! I also don't agree with the whole "formula is rat poison" sentiment. THOSE I see as formula bashing. It is not rat poison, it is inferior nutrition that, while less than optimal, is able to support a growing baby.
:



I am big on owning your own decisions.

Honestly, where I am I run into very few women who ff who DON'T know they are making an inferior choice. Some, it's the only choice (for whatever reason) and in those cases I'm 100% supportive. In other cases it is truly a case of a mom choosing something inferior for their baby because it's "easier"

-Angela
post #28 of 173

Well said.
post #29 of 173


-Angela
post #30 of 173


THANK YOU!
post #31 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benji'sMom View Post
"Inferior" is a fact, but personally I have always thought "4th best" was an exageration. Because the first 3 choices are breastmilk, breastmilk, and breastmilk. It seems like someone just decided "I'm going to divide breastmilk into 3 different sub chatagories so that formula will sound really, really, really bad; instead of just 'inferior' it will sound really horrible!" I never liked "4th best" but I guess I'm in the minority on that? But anyway, personaly I would NEVER tell a mom that they've made the 4th best (ie, worst) decision for their baby.
That's always bothered me too. The language seems purposefully inflammatory.
post #32 of 173
Here's a thought - if we can agree that many women make the choice to formula feed based on bad information from healthcare providers, or pressure from family/friends, or lousy work situations, or other things that we can define as "not their fault", then how is it NOT being insulting to them to use charged language like "inferior" or "4th best"? I mean, if the mom thinks she's doing what she's supposed to be doing, or she doesn't have a choice, and then someone else comes to her and talks about how what she's doing is subpar, isn't that automatically going to make her feel badly? Even if it's "not her fault"?

There's truth, and then there's tact. And I personally think you can have both of them in an open conversation with someone without being squishy nicey nice and pussyfooting around. IMO, deliberately choosing words that are meant to make someone feel badly (and who's not going to feel badly being told something they're doing is inferior or 4th best? Who's going to say, "yay inferior!" "I'm so proud to be doing the 4th best thing for my child!") is at best passive aggressive, and at worst hostile. If the fact is that most women are woefully uninformed about breastfeeding, wouldn't the best approach be to educate them on the realities of breastfeeding WITHOUT using words that are almost guaranteed to put them on the defensive? In the bigger picture, we need to work on society and its understanding of how breastfeeding really works...in the smaller picture, alienating women by using hostile, offputting language does little to help the bigger cause.

There is almost always a way to talk to someone about something, using truth and facts, without purposely choosing inflammatory words...and you're more likely to get them to open their hearts and minds if they don't feel attacked or condescended to. Tact does NOT mean sugar coating; it means relating to a person in a way that leaves them receptive to what you're saying, no matter what it is you're telling them.
post #33 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post
Here's a thought - if we can agree that many women make the choice to formula feed based on bad information from healthcare providers, or pressure from family/friends, or lousy work situations, or other things that we can define as "not their fault", then how is it NOT being insulting to them to use charged language like "inferior" or "4th best"? I mean, if the mom thinks she's doing what she's supposed to be doing, or she doesn't have a choice, and then someone else comes to her and talks about how what she's doing is subpar, isn't that automatically going to make her feel badly? Even if it's "not her fault"?
What's WRONG with feeling badly upon finding out you are doing something substandard?

Formula IS inferior. It IS the fourth best feeding choice. People NEED to know this!

If she "doesn't have a choice" she shouldn't feel badly.
post #34 of 173
As a linguistics geek, this discussion is really interesting to me because it really shows how language shapes perceptions.
If I were a professional lactivist working for a think tank or something, I would look at the transformation of language used on both sides of the smoking debate. I think there's a really high degree of correlation between smoking and formula feeding, especially in the marketing tactics used to promote them, and the way big tobacco and formula makers both used to stress that their product was healthy, or at least less unhealthy (Low tar! Now with DHA!). And I don't know this for sure, but I think if you looked, you would find similar arguments and similar language used by smoking and formula supporters and opponents.
post #35 of 173
I wholeheartedly agree that people need to know that breastfeeding is the biological norm, and that formula should only be used in medically necessary circumstances. I just don't agree that the best way to go about making a change in society is by telling individual moms, who often have been misinformed by people they think they are supposed to trust, that they are doing the inferior or 4th best thing for their child. I can't believe that any woman who would consider a change of heart would appreciate hearing that from someone. I would tell someone they've been misinformed on the quality/content of formula, that their healthcare provider wasn't current on information about formula and breastfeeding, or that their friends and family gave them outdated advice...and give them accurate information about breastfeeding. But I wouldn't tell them what they were doing was wrong or inferior, because I can't see how that would help the situation, or make them open to hearing anything further from me. Just as in gentle/positive discipline for children, we tell them what we want them TO do instead of just telling them to stop doing something, giving a mother information about what breastfeeding really entails and what is normal is much more productive than telling her what she's currently doing is inferior. I just don't see the point of purposely and directly making someone feel badly about something that was not entirely under their control, or that they were given inaccurate/mad information about.

As I said before, there's facts, and then there's tact. And anyone who is offended by something isn't going to be open to further conversation. And while I understand some people may say that it's not their job to worry about if people are offended, those people also need to understand human nature and that when someone IS offended, even if you didn't *mean* to offend them, they're likely going to tune you out. And if the goal is to get more women breastfeeding, IMO the goal should be to NOT offend them in the process. And again, not offending someone does not equal pussyfooting around...it just equals choosing your words wisely and to the greates positive effect.

It's all in how you say it. That's all I'm saying. It's all in the choice of words.
post #36 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamameg View Post
But it's an emotion that should not be thrust upon people intentionally.
I think it's very important to point out that lactivists cannot make a mother feel guilty. Guilt comes from within. As Eleanor Roosevelt said "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." We shouldn't have to water-down the truth like the government did on the awareness campaign. I believe we do have a responsibility not to be judgmental toward FF moms.

Should we go around saying formula is "rat poison"? Of course not, because it's not true. It is a fact that it is inferior and 4th best. I believe breaking breastmilk into three categories was to demonstrate how important it is and also so that people would consider options they may not think of on their own.
post #37 of 173
You know, everyone throws around that Eleanor Roosevelt quote as if it came down from on high and should be taken as Truth with a capital T. And while it's pithy, I don't find it particularly accurate, Can a person literally force you to feel guilty? Of course not. But neither should we pretend that words don't have an effect, and that we often choose our words for maximum impact. When mothers on either side throw around words like "selfish" or "poison" or "disgusting" they're certainly trying to get some sort of reaction out of their audience. When the other mother then rises to the bait, we throw up our hands and say "Hey, I can't MAKE you feel guilty." That has always seemed extremely disingenuous to me.
post #38 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by rmzbm View Post
What's WRONG with feeling badly upon finding out you are doing something substandard?

Formula IS inferior. It IS the fourth best feeding choice. People NEED to know this!

If she "doesn't have a choice" she shouldn't feel badly.
There's nothing wrong with feeling badly about finding out something you did wasn't the best choice....but I believe there is something wrong with someone else deliberately using language to make you feel even worse about the decision than you might feel if just presented with the information in a more neutral way.

Case in point:
I circumcized my son. It's a decision I'll regret until the day I die. I was seriously uninformed, and was given bad information by healthcare providers, AND didn't do any research (like I researched other parenting/baby topics). When I found MDC when he was baout a year old and found the case against circumcision forum, I cried for days. I felt horrible, all on my own. Even though at that time I did what I thought was the right thing. And I can guarantee you if someone had given me any "helpful", "truthful" commentary designed to make me feel badly about what I had done, that person would NOT be high on my list of people I'd want to get advice from at any future time.

I certainly didn't want anyone telling me, "It's OK, you didn't know." or, "It's no big deal." because that's not recognizing the seriousness of the issue.

Perhaps something like, "I'm so sorry you found out too late." or, "I'm sorry your physician gave you horrible advice." or, "I wish I would have known you before it happened so we could have talked." would be comforting, while still recognizing what happened.

But something like, "You mutilated him" (which is true) or, "you took a piece of his body from him without his consent" (also true), or, "you made him undergo unnecessary pain and now he'll never know what a fully functioning penis will feel like" (also true) would have made me think that person had NO idea who I was or how I felt, and was purposely saying things to make me feel badly about something I couldn't undo. And that just seems meanspirited, IMO.

Does that make my point a little more clear on intent and choice of words?
post #39 of 173
Also mod hat on: If you said or quoted something about moms who formula feed being selfish, please edit now or I'll remove it. It is outside the guidelines of this forum, as I stated above. PM me if you have any questions about this.
post #40 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
You know, everyone throws around that Eleanor Roosevelt quote as if it came down from on high and should be taken as Truth with a capital T. And while it's pithy, I don't find it particularly accurate, Can a person literally force you to feel guilty? Of course not. But neither should we pretend that words don't have an effect, and that we often choose our words for maximum impact. When mothers on either side throw around words like "selfish" or "poison" or "disgusting" they're certainly trying to get some sort of reaction out of their audience. When the other mother then rises to the bait, we throw up our hands and say "Hey, I can't MAKE you feel guilty." That has always seemed extremely disingenuous to me.
:

One of my favorite lines I've heard recently, from a Disney channel show of all places :, is (paraphrased),

"Just because you say, 'no offense' after you make a statement, doesn't make what you just said any less offensive."
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