There’s a lot of finger-wagging that goes along with breastfeeding (we’re talking to you, Gisele!). Many people assume that their unique experience with nursing should apply to every woman’s experience. So they take to the internet to shame everyone who doesn’t exclusively breastfeed, whatever their complicated story. Take me: baby #1 wouldn’t latch and cried at every feed, despite help from doctors and lactation consultants, so I pumped for 4 months until I couldn’t stand it anymore and switched to formula. Did I feel guilty? Yes. Did I do the best I could? Yes. Baby #2 latched right on and after a few early bouts with mastitis, we nursed happily for 10 months. But because he was a preemie I had to supplement with special formula for six weeks so he could get the phosphates he missed in utero. I used formula, with both my kids. If Gisele had her way, I'd be in jail.
There are a lot of reasons moms don't or can't nurse. The moms I know who couldn’t make it work struggled mightily with low supply, infections, inverted nipples, lack of hospital support, medications not compatible with nursing, and work environments that make pumping really tough -- and still felt tremendous guilt when they switched to formula.
I wish we could just give each other the benefit of the doubt, and shift our energies to something more productive than flaming strangers on Facebook. If you’re truly passionate about breastfeeding, I think the most effective thing you can do is fight the roadblocks that make it difficult, and support programs that support nursing moms. To that end, we’ve got two to tell you about:
- Glamourmom has put together a ‘Buy One, Give One’ donation program, which will run until August 31, 2010. Any purchase of a nursing bra tank on www.glamourmom.com during the duration will be matched and donated to lower income families and women in developing countries. Glamourmom tanks were my fave when I was nursing – I especially love the long tanks, shown above, which help slim a squishy postpartum middle.
- Ameda, maker of breast pumps, has started the I Breastfeed Because…campaign. Upload a video (or record one with your webcam) explaining why you chose to breastfeed, and they will donate $5 to the Human Milk Banking Association of North America.