Message in a Bottle: PART THREE

In this third and final installment of the FFF video series, women discuss the subject of government policy/interventions involving breastfeeding. This is something I feel quite strongly about (shocker). While I definitely think the government can and should support initiatives that allow ALL parents (both male and female, lactating or not) adequate, paid parental leave, and also ensure that a woman’s right to breastfeed in public is absolutely, unequivocally protected, that is where I think their intrusions should end. Grassroots breastfeeding advocacy is one thing; having “Big Brother” all up in our cleavage is something else, entirely.

Luckily, the women I interviewed take a much more diplomatic stance, and some make great suggestions on what the government could do to help, if they are going to make how we feed our children a matter of the State. I’d love to hear if you guys have similar suggestions/ideas; things that either the powers-that-be, the medical community, or breastfeeding advocates could do to truly help women succeed in their breastfeeding goals. So go on with your bad selves and let’s start a revolution in the Comments section – maybe I’ll turn what pops up into a letter to the New York Times or the AAP or something. We can take bets on whether or not they’d take us seriously…

Message in a Bottle: Real Stories of Formula Feeding in America – PART 3 from Formula Feeder on Vimeo.

Suzanne Barston is a blogger and author of BOTTLED UP. Fearless Formula Feeder is a blog – and community – dedicated to infant feeding choice, and committed to providing non-judgmental support for all new parents. It exists to protect women from misleading or misrepresented “facts”; essentialist ideals about what mothers should think, feel, or do; government and health authorities who form policy statements based on ambivalent research; and the insidious beast known as Internetus Trolliamus, Mommy Blog Varietal.

Suzanne Barston – who has written posts on Fearless Formula Feeder.

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4 thoughts on “Message in a Bottle: PART THREE

  1. I am weighing in here. I consider myself a breastfeeding advocate, so that's where I'm coming from, although I recognize that how you feed your baby is your choice, and really no one else's business. For some reason, I feel compelled to issue that disclaimer.

    I am Canadian. I took year-long, paid maternity leaves with both of my children. I also had access to a public health care system that allowed free support from public health nurses, including home visits, support groups and clinics.

    I think that having access to the leave that I did, and having the kind of support that I did from our health care system, was a help to me in my efforts to breastfeed. But that's only one small part. There are a whole constellation of benefits that new parents receive when they are supported through the transition into parenting. In the video, a mother mentioned that in our society we don't have access to a large community to help us in our parenting. I think that in the absence of community, societal support, in the form of government programs, can help.

    It is my hope that one day soon American mothers will have the same sort of access to maternity leave and widely-available public health care that I enjoyed. Regardless of how they feed their babies.

  2. I love these videos! I think they are a great example of how many different women have balanced the needs of their babies, families, and personal needs.
    I completely agree with Meghan and Jennifer w/r/t when educating new mothers on infant feeding it shouldn't be all or nothing, this or that. Completely ignoring formula as an option does not help women either. Yes, it's not the same as breast milk, but it's still an option and a good one. What if giving a baby a few bottles a day of formula enables a woman to meet her BF goals? Is it then acceptable? This is the problem with many people out there “educating.” It's an all or nothing proposition and for many women and babies that's too much to take. Not discussing the good the bad and ugly of BF really does women a disservice and ultimately leads to women giving up on BF because they see it as not being “normal.”

    I also would agree on the longer leave time. I know a few women that didn't want to spend their precious 8-12 weeks at home struggling to feed their baby and opted to feed formula in an effort to enjoy their limited time together. If they were able to stay home longer they would have been more open to BF.

    This series is such a great resource for new moms! Great job! Now you have to get on the Today Show!

  3. Thank you for these videos. Heck, I'm Canadian, had 1 year paid maternity leave (going back next week) and I still wasn't able to breastfeed for 6 months or 1 year. I'm not saying it wouldn't help, it definitely would, but that's not the entire problem, in my opinion.

    When you say advicates concentrate more or villifying formula than actually educate and support breastfeeding mothers, I think you nail the biggest issue. Why did my son's doctor never prescribe lactogogues to me despite saying he wasn't gaining enough at 2 weeks, then 1 month, then 2 months, then 4 months (he was weaned by 5 months)? Why did the nurse in my pre-natal class spend half a day on delivery, then half an hour on breastfeeding, saying nothing more than “it's easy and natural and doesn't hurt”? Why do the hospital send you home, alone and unsupported, before the milk comes in and breastfeeding is established?

    I'm all for advocating breastfeeding, but we need more education and more support, and shouldn't have to comb the internet when we're sleep-deprived and have a screaming, hungry baby to find out about lactagogues and fenugreek.

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