It all started with a $5 onesie at Old Navy. Now it’s erupted into a national controversy over breastfeeding vs. formula feeding.
The onesie in question reads “Formula Powered,” which some in the breastfeeding community felt was promoting the formula agenda.
“We all know breastfeeding is best for baby…and mama. Formula simply isn’t the healthy option. So, why doesn’t Old Navy know it?” writes Cate Nelson over at Eco Child’s Play.
Now Nelson and other “lactivists” are urging moms to boycott Old Navy until they take the onesie off the shelves.
I agree that breastfeeding moms need all the support they can get. Although doctors and health experts say that “breast is best,” nursing moms get funny looks if they nurse in public and often don’t get support for pumping at work.
But, honestly, I don’t see how a humorous onesie is going to hurt the cause. Besides, aren’t moms who formula feed their babies allowed to proudly proclaim their choice?
I remember when I was struggling to nurse my first born. She wasn’t gaining weight and cried incessantly. To make matters worse, she had colic and was one seriously pissed off baby. When I tried to nurse her in public, she’d pull away howling and people would look at me as if I was torturing her.
Eventually, I decided to supplement with formula so that I wouldn’t have to worry about weight gain or suffer through her howls of hunger. I was proud that I managed to continue to breastfeed her and supplement with formula until she was a year old.
But when talking with my La Leche League friends, I felt that I had to make excuses for supplementing. I was feeding my baby in a way that worked for both of us. Why did I feel the need to justify my decision?
Breast may be best, but it’s not helpful to stand in judgment of those moms who can’t or don’t want to breastfeed. And I disagree with Nelson’s assessment that “formula simply isn’t the healthy option.”
As one supportive breastfeeding coach told me, “You’re job is to feed the baby. As long as she’s fed, your job is done.”
I wish breastfeeding advocates would devote their efforts to supporting new moms and working to improve laws that protect nursing women rather than dumping on those who formula feed. Shouldn’t moms who formula feed be allow to proclaim that their baby is “Formula Fueled?”
That said, Old Navy should also offer an alternative for breastfeeding moms — a onesie that says “Mom Powered” perhaps?
What do you think? Is the onesie sending the wrong message? Or are these “lactivists” misdirecting their anger?
Photo: Old Navy