I came across an interesting news post – Doctors call for pupils to be taught about breastfeeding. I love a good baby, sex, race, gender related post, you know the comments are going to be good for a read. Everyone becomes a master of the topic and they know best. The comments always produce some form of emotion from me, usually anger mixed with a good dose of disbelief. And breastfeeding posts NEVER disappoint.
As soon as the word BREAST FEED or BOTTLE FEED enters a text, well, shit is about to go down. You have the pro tit camp -those that managed it easy peasy (as rare as unicorns I imagine), those that had a little trouble but persevered, those that had every single medical condition thrown at them and still struggled through or those that gave every single effort and with deep, pain and suffering had to stop trying to breast feed. You also have the pro bottle camp – those that have never entertained the idea of the boob, those that bottle feed, as life hasn’t allowed them to privilege of breast feeding, and those that, for whatever personal reason, are horrified at the idea of breast feeding and opt for the bottle.
All these women are in the comments. And most of them missed the point of the article. It’s extremely difficult to talk about these subjects, you need to tread on egg shells for fear of offending someone. Rightly so too! It’s our children, we are all correct and we are all fiercely protective of out choices. Human beings can be jugdey, hurtful trolls. You don’t need to scroll down too far before you are met with the classic ‘I done it and so can you!’ or ‘it’s best for baby’ or ‘it’s natural and if you really tried hard enough you could have breast fed your baby’. Honestly, the list of ‘I’m better than you’ insults go on and on.
Before I continue to bat my gums at why people, women, annoy the stretched marked, deflated tits right off me, I’ll tell you that I breastfed my daughter, for 8-10 (I can’t remember) months. If I have another child (wink wink Dave) I would love to breast feed again.
But let me also tell you that I am not on any side of the fence.
From what I gather from the article, doctors are proposing to teach pupils about breast feeding in order to increase the likelihood of a mother choosing to and continue breastfeed her baby. Sounds good to me, right?
Well, maybe it’s not as clear cut as I first thought. One commenter suggested that if schools teach breast feeding then they need to teach bottle feeding as it should be a choice and one should not be favoured over the other. However, I think it is clear to see that one method of feeding IS being favoured over the other here. I continued to read her comment thread, which quickly erupted into a breast v bottle show down.
Some women describe choosing bottle over breast, as the thought of breast feeding was ‘repulsive’ and ‘disgusting’. Some pretty harsh words. If I’m honest, I almost cracked out a rude comment in retaliation. I didn’t, someone else did and wooooah did it go down like a lead balloon. Not once did it occur to me that a women might not what to breast feed due to some horrific event she endured such as rape, abuse, teasing, any manner of reasons that lead her to view her breasts and touching in a negative way. That’s why it is repulsive. I see.
It’s horrible to watch as women draw battle lines against each other. Breast/bottle feeding is such a touchy subject, I’m all for teaching children, teenagers, adults about breastfeeding. In my experience, there needs to be a shift in attitude. A change in attitude towards how a family decide to feed their child, support for breast feeding, education and most importantly the truth about breast and bottle feeding. I don’t believe a breast feeding agenda should be pushed and forced upon children/females, making them feel like this is the most important thing for your baby. But I don’t believe educating pupils about breastfeeding would become that in all honesty, much the same way sex education doesn’t force you to go out and have sex. It forces you to become aware, to understand. Teaching children about sex has, in some countries, lead to lower teenage pregnancies. Would breastfeeding education lead to more breast feeding? Is this a bad thing?
I think much of the negativity regarding the article, stems from women believing they were forced, pressured, judged and unsupported on both sides of the feeding coin. You only need to ask a mother how she fed her baby, she will reply and will follow up her choice with a justification. A defensive justification. Everyone has an opinion on the matter. Even though every single mum/dad/parent out there should know better than to have an opinion, or worse, share that opinion, we all have opinions. And it’s this that needs to change.
You know, breast is best. If you can sit and feed the baby on demand. Without interruption. With a bucket load of nipple cream at your side. Without a job, money, bills to think about. Without having to get dressed. Without having to maintain some level of body/house/baby cleanliness. Without well meaning visitors. Without fluctuating post baby hormones. Yeah sure, breast is best if you live in a cave and your ‘man’ brings home the bacon and cooks it for you while you lounge on a sofa of air and fairy tickles. Then it’s best.
But we, well most of you reading this blog I presume, don’t live in that fantasy world. We need to sleep, maybe have other children, work commitments, family commitments, we get sick, we get thrush, we get mastitis, our boobs just don’t produce milk, we have a million other reasons why breast isn’t always best. For breast to be best a mother needs peace to establish and continue feeding, because it’s fucking hard and that’s what they should be telling new mothers. Breast feeding doesn’t always fit in with our lifestyle and no woman should be judged for her choice. Fuck, choice or not no woman/person should be judged!
What they should teach pupils, are all the realities surrounding breast feeding a baby. It might be considered ‘natural’ but natural doesn’t always equate better. Personally I would love to see an increase in mothers breast feeding, I enjoyed feeding my child and I do feel proud that I managed to push through and establish feeding. But do I think Jess will be healthier, smarter, have less allergies, stronger this and stronger that, than her bottle fed counter parts? No, not in the slightest. Did my mental health, relationship and life suffer as a result of breast feeding? The jury is still out on that one. Breast isn’t always best, but the more we can do to change that the better.
Step one would be to remove the battle lines between women. But there ain’t no government past or present strong enough for that task. It bugs me that I still have a little stick up my ass about feeding a baby, I’m always swaying towards the breast is best side, but I will argue until I’m blue in the face why it’s not best and why anyone should give a flying hoot about what method a mother choose to keep her baby alive. I support any education on breast feeding, and parenthood in general. I don’t support the mental people that blast their opinion/experience for the sole purpose of belittling another or justifying their own choice.
Maybe we should think about education children on how to ‘not become a self righteous areshole’. Instead we should teach them to be thankful for their experience’s and to listen to another person’s tale before forming an opinion based on our own experience.
More chance of seeing a unicorn breastfeeding on a cloud I think.
It’s not a battle of breast v bottle, no need to start sharpening the stilettos ladies.
Men need not apply to this debate, oft, hell no. Have you seen the abuse men get on if there dare to comment on ‘women’ issues?! The Penis Police are always on stand by to knock the men out the park, even if the poor sod does have a valid point.