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Stop Calling Breastfeeding Advocates Bullies, Says Blogger

breastfeeding, public breastfeeding

Is it bullying to promote breastfeeding?

After seeing defensive comments on a series about breastfeeding published recently by Psychology Today, a blogger from Cafe Mom’s The Stir is fighting back.   She says that formula feeders must stop calling breastfeeding advocates bullies.

Sasha Brown-Worsham writes:

“Breast milk is ideal. Formula is not.

We all know it’s the truth and perhaps that is the reason people are so sensitive. We feel guilty. I know it because I feel it, too. We all have our sensitive points and places where we think we’ve failed. But we also can’t let our sensitivity override our good sense. Yes, there are women who push breastfeeding too hard, who don’t allow moms to make their own choices. But they’re less common than the moms who simply want to help fellow moms succeed. Breastfeeding should be more common than it is. What is so wrong with offering support to women who need it? How is that ‘bullying’?”

I happen to have a dog in this fight because I’m an advocate for women with postpartum depression and anxiety, many of whom stop breastfeeding either because of the medications they are taking to treat their illnesses or because, like me, breastfeeding exacerbates their anxiety to unhealthy levels.  Women with PPD already suffer a great deal of guilt and shame about having it while every other mother seems blissful, and many of us have been made to feel even worse by pushy breastfeeding advocates who look askance at our bottles and formula canisters and tell us how we’re doing it all wrong.   I know many women who have been needlessly traumatized by militant lactivists, so when Brown-Worsham writes that we all need to stop being so sensitive, I would push back and say sometimes we need to be more sensitive and think before we speak.  Some people just don’t know when to shut up, and they make the lives of already fragile mothers even worse.

That being said, I do think breast is best.  I also think my children, who were both formula fed, are just fine and I’m a good mom even though I didn’t breastfeed them.  And I don’t believe most breastfeeding advocates are bullies.  Thankfully there are great organizations like Best for Babes, and bloggers like Annie at PhD in Parenting, who believe very strongly in the benefits of breastfeeding but who also are careful not to indict women who don’t do it because they can’t, for whatever reason.

What do you think of Brown-Worsham’s position?  Are people being too sensitive about the breastfeeding versus formula feeding debate?

Want to know your options? Babble’s Feeding Guide supplies both sides of the debate!

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