Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The case AGAINST breastfeeding

Obviously the title of this article is highly evocative. One quote which was rather infuriating was the following:

"The debate about breast-feeding takes place without any reference to its actual context in women’s lives. Breast-feeding exclusively is not like taking a prenatal vitamin. It is a serious time commitment that pretty much guarantees that you will not work in any meaningful way. Let’s say a baby feeds seven times a day and then a couple more times at night. That’s nine times for about a half hour each, which adds up to more than half of a working day, every day, for at least six months. This is why, when people say that breast-feeding is “free,” I want to hit them with a two-by-four. It’s only free if a woman’s time is worth nothing."

I am definitely pro-breastfeeding but I know what it's like to struggle. Breastfeed if you can, but don't feel guilty about bottle feeding if it makes your experience of motherhood more pleasant. A happy attentive mother is what a baby needs most!

Another ironic aspect is that in South Africa breastfeeding is the lowest in wealthy and well educated mothers. Those that do are seen as a uncouth at best, and somewhat peculiar at worst. This is the complete opposite in the US - so I wonder what a study here would uncover about breastfeeding?

It's an interesting bit of writing overall, but I really take objection to women who choose to breastfeed somehow being less feminist (or whatever she's trying to say) by doing so. It's like the same bad rap women get for choosing to be stay at home mothers! Somehow being liberated means all women must work, and must not stay home and raise breastfed children.

Personally I always thought it was about having the choice to do either - but obviously I've missed something!



1 comment:

Linda said...

And of course it's not as if baby doesn't need to feed for half an hour if you bottle feed. The choice isn't between 30 minutes of breastfeeding and nothing, it's between 30 minutes of breastfeeding and 30 minutes of bottlefeeding. And yes, dad can help with bottlefeeding, but you can pump breastmilk to give in a bottle too!