I may regret this blog.
I talk to a lot of women about breastfeeding. I hear a lot of negative stories about misinformation, bad advice, even from health professionals. I am usually fairly calm in these situations. I can usually hold it together. I can be diplomatic and see both sides. I can have tolerance for someone ‘just doing their job’ and even being ignorant but trying to help. But for goodness sake, this time I am fuming.
What the heck is wrong with a doctor who looks at a mother who has gone to him with breastfeeding problems and tells her that ‘maybe she can’t do it’. What scientist (surely a doctor is a scientist) in their right mind looks at a human woman, who has incubated and supported life from conception to birth, grown organs and tissue and a brain that can reason and a body that can develop and grow and heal itself; a woman who has produced all the hormones to create and support life for 9 months, then with the amazing process that is birth completely flips hormone production to those that can produce a complete food to nourish this baby. Yes she may need help but he should know this! Why oh why is his suggestion that her body may just be failing in the evolutionary reproduction process. WHY. WHY. WHY???? What the hell is going on in his brain to think this is a reasonable medical opinion???
This mother needs time, she needs support, she needs information and probably a cup of tea. She needs someone to talk to who actually knows something. Thank goodness this doctor's advice did not sit well with her and she trusted her instincts, and looked for further help. She does not need someone telling her that maybe her body is failing; that she does not have the goods to look after her baby. I may not be a scientist but I read. I am not pro-breastfeeding for intangible reasons. Scientific evidence that proves that 99.9 percent of women are physically capable of nourishing the babies that they have brought into the world. And almost the same number of women initiate breastfeeding. For goodness sake where would the population of the entire world be if the multi-billion dollar formula manufacturing industry hadn’t been around longer than 100 years. Oh that’s right.. we’d be feeding our babies ourselves. Today, in the US only about thirteen percent of mothers continue to breastfeed their babies to 6 months (This is not true in all countries or cultures or communities, NZ is a lot higher). But the population of the world would be decimated if this had been true over the last, oh few thousand years. What on earth is going on? Babies can die if they are not breastfed, not just in countries with inadequate water sources or poverty or lack of vaccinations, but in developed countries too, as formula feeding increases the risks of minor, major and life-threatening diseases. That's not inflammatory - that's just the truth. Breastmilk and breastfeeding is not amazing, its just normal. And anything else is sub-normal, and leads to problems.
Women are amazing. Their bodies are amazing. They have the physical, mental, psychological ability to create and nurture life. I think the Feminist Breeder has something when she says that we are used to being told that our bodies are not much good for anything except being sex toys. She points out, and I have long agreed, there is something wrong with a culture who splashes breasts and skin on every magazine, every music video and uses female sexual images to sell almost every product under the sun, but bans breastfeeding pictures on Facebook.
Women are being undermined and for what reason? They CAN do it, their bodies are amazing, and they can make the choices they need to, not only for the wellbeing of their babies, but also themselves.
Ok, that's enough.