I happened across an article that has been bugging me (Breastfeeding Women Viewed as Less Competent). It states that the perception of women who breastfeed their children is that they are less competent. It is irking me... Not the article, as it is just stating the findings, but that people believe this. And from what I gather probably mostly young people (they are listed as students), so not a group of older ladies or gentlemen, who were taught that formula was better (which had been the teaching for some time).
I've never been one to be horribly outspoken on this issue. If someone had a question, I'd gladly answer it. I nursed three babies for just over a year each, so I have some experience on the topic. I know that it doesn't work for everyone, even those who try very, very hard sometimes struggle with it and switch to formula. For some women, there are reasons (good reasons) to never nurse in the first place. I get that, but to think that a woman is inferior because she feeds her baby organically (as one commenter on the article put it)...that I just don't get.
If it is free it must be broken, right? I guess...
Then the article introduces the idea that employers are opting not to hire nursing moms because of a perceived dropped productivity. I worked and nursed/pumped. I was wonderfully blessed that my daughter was in a daycare down the hall for the few months I worked as a mother, and I just spent my lunch break feeding her. I pumped in the little bathroom off my classroom during my planning period for 10 minutes each day. And I took 1 sick day in that 5 month period (it wasn't for her either!). I can not say that she would have been more sickly had I fed her formula, but since study after study shows that breastfed babies are healthier, it is a fairly safe bet.
There are benefits for the children in the short term. In the long term. To the mom. To the family budget.
This isn't to make moms who choose to/have to formula feed feel poorly, but to ask why, when a woman chooses the clinically better path (even though it may be harder), should she be seen as incompetent? Maybe if we all listed our degrees and GPAs on our nursing covers, we could turn this around.
I'm hoping that my beautiful, brilliant daughters will be able to feed their (sure to be adorable and brilliant) babies any way they choose without being viewed as less than their peers one day.
An Unusual Field Trip
7 months ago