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It's Not About Breastfeeding, It's About Choice

By Lauren Jimeson |

Most women who have had a child or are pregnant know that breast milk has more benefits to both you and your baby than formula does. I breastfed my oldest daughter, Harlan, until she was one and will continue to breastfeed Avery for as long as I feel is best.

Mayor Bloomberg recently decided to “hide” formula in hospitals as a part of his Latch on NYC campaign. As much as I appreciate Mayor Bloomberg for his efforts to educate our city on the benefits of breastfeeding, his decision to lock away formula in order to encourage moms to breastfeed isn’t doing any justice for the breastfeeding community. In essence, he is telling mother’s what to do with their new child. In a way he is stripping away their right to choose how they feed their baby.

The issue on Mayor Bloomberg’s decision isn’t about breastfeeding, the issue is about choice.

By locking away formula from moms the city government is undermining the role of doctors and parents. Ultimately, if a mother who is educated on the benefits of breastfeeding still decides to feed her baby formula, that is her choice.

If a mother asks for formula in the hospital, that is not the time to educate her on the benefits of breastfeeding. I remember being so emotional after having both of my children. I was so nervous about breastfeeding with Harlan. I had all sorts of questions and was anxious to see how it would go. Thankfully, she latched on right away and was a nursing champ. If she didn’t and I had to supplement formula and was given a lecture beforehand by nurses on why I should continue to try, I probably would have had a breakdown.

Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone. I have several friends who tried and tried to nurse their children. They visited lactation consultants, tried supplements to help increase their milk flow, but in the end, it just didn’t work for them. Rather than fighting about it, we should support them.

We don’t need to feel inadequate as mothers because of the decisions we make on how to feed our child. Ultimately the decision is yours, don’t let the government make it for you. Choose what is best for you and best for your child.

I had the chance to speak out on this issue this morning on Pix 11 Morning News with fellow Babble contributor Catherine Connors. Check out our views on this issue.

 

More from Lauren on Baby’s First Year:

Read more from Lauren at her personal blog,  A Mommy in the City, where she chronicles her life living in New York City with a suburban mentality. For more updates, follow Lauren on Facebook and Twitter! Check out more of Lauren’s  Babble posts at Being Pregnant and Baby’s First Year

Image via nyc.gov

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About Lauren Jimeson

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Lauren Jimeson

Lauren Jimeson is the author of A Mommy in the City, which chronicles living the city life with a suburban mentality. Read bio and latest posts → Read Lauren's latest posts →

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2 thoughts on “It's Not About Breastfeeding, It's About Choice

  1. Amanda says:

    Less than 5% of women physically can’t breastfeed, which is tiny amount. That means most women who use formula choose to do so. I want to be clear – I don’t think anyone should be forced to breastfeed, but I do believe most people give up because it can be very difficult and they don’t get adequate support. If the focus was redirected towards giving support, this could empower women while raising the number of breastfed babies.

    A low-income woman receiving government assistance through WIC can receive free lactation consultations and breast pumps. Those who are using private insurance are lucky to get a short lactation consult at the hospital. Many insurance plans don’t cover lactation consultation beyond the hospital stay or breast pumps. I know mine didn’t. I relied on books, mom friends, and paid for a lactation consultation out of pocket when I ran into problems.

    Also, plenty of maternity nurses are not trained in breastfeeding. If a woman runs into a problem at the hospital, they are on their own. A crying, hungry baby can quickly cause a woman to ask for formula. There is also a lot of misinformation about baby weight loss following birth. It’s normal for babies to lose weight during their first few days of life since it takes a few days for a mother’s milk to come in. My daughter’s weight dropped (within a normal range) after birth and I had to fight to exclusively breastfeed. As soon as my milk came in, her weight came back up and she’s a healthy baby.

    This NYC breastfeeding campaign means well and I support what they are trying to accomplish. I do think it needs tweaked to better serve women during a delicate, stressful time. Maybe, instead of being so quick to throw out the whole campaign, we should suggest altering their strategies so they empower women rather than causing guilt?

    Here are my sources: http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/breastfeeding/mainpage.HTM
    http://hcp.obgyn.net/polycystic-ovary-syndrome/content/article/1760982/1989601
    http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/weight-gain/

    1. laurenjimeson says:

      Very well said and I agree with you! I wasn’t trying to throw out the campaign entirely, just think that he needs to focus his efforts on other things in the campaign, such as support, rather than making mothers feel guilty for asking for formula.

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