What’s that drumbeat you hear? It’s the war-cry of lactivists ready to march all over parents who use formula. While it’s always a hot-button issue, things heated up last week when the Similac recall was announced (certain batches tested positive for beetles — gross).
I’ve already talked about my feelings on breastfeeding but to quickly recap: I do it; I’m for it when it’s possible. But overall my view on it is that you have to do what’s best for your family, yourself and your baby. I am following the recommended guidelines to breastfeed exclusively through six months. That’s what is right and works for my family.
But I digress…
Apparently, after the Similac recall was announced some lactivists jumped on twitter, blogs and other web portals and really let formula-users have it with comments like, “What’s wrong with these people who use formula? Don’t they know BREAST IS BEST?” and “If you feed your baby formula, you get what you deserve.” Nice. Way to keep it classy. No wonder there are so many articles and blogs about the competition and judgement associated with parenthood!
Well, lactivist a-holes, you can suck it (and I don’t mean that as some kind of gross breastfeeding metaphor). You can take your judgemental, militant, closed-minded attitudes and fuck off. Are you really so mean-spirited that you would actually wish ill-will on formula-fed babies? Well, if your parents are too stupid to know that BREAST IS BEST, then you deserve nastiness. You know what? That’s just stupid. In fact, it’s not just stupid, it’s cruel.
Sure, breast is best. But there are many reasons why a woman might not be able to breastfeed including (but not limited to): an illness that could transmit to the baby; lack of milk production; medical issue with the baby (such as tongue-tie); a stay in the NICU (like my baby had — she didn’t breastfeed until she was a couple weeks old); having to work…or many other reasons. The truth is, as parents we all strive to do the best. But sometimes you have to do “good enough.” And by that, I mean that good is still pretty darn, well, good. What’s wrong with good? And what’s wrong with families who decide formula is best for them? Nothing!
And while we’re on the topic, let’s acknowledge that this whole business of choosing between breastfeeding and formula is a somewhat elitist one. If you’re one of America’s working poor, you might be holding down two jobs (or more!) just to get by. Maybe you don’t have time in your day to pump breastmilk. Maybe you can’t effectively store it until you get home because of a long commute on mass transit. Since the poor are disproportionately races other than white, all the sudden the breast v formula debate becomes a race issue. And what about gay couples or adoptive parents? Are they to be shunned as bad parents because no one in their household lactates? When you get down to it, all this war-mongering cuts a little too close to institutionalized racism and homophobia.
It may be best to breastfeed but it’s not wrong to formula feed. All this lactivism activism isn’t healthy for women, families or their babies.