Breastfeeding Nazis. Being called superior, condescending and judgmental. These are just some of the not-so-nice things I have heard said about lactavists.
I have counted myself amongst lactavists for the past 4 years. In the beginning, my first thoughts when hearing those kinds of insults about lactavists were defensive ones. People that would say that about lacatvists obviously don’t understand. They don’t understand that we are coming from a place of passion! If they really knew what I KNOW then they would feel the same way I feel. Blame it on ignorance, because we all know that if every woman were as smart as me, then they would obviously think exactly the way I do. (Sarcasm) I say that sarcastically now, but there was a time where I really felt that way.
Some people might assume that those kinds of remarks would come only from women that are hard-core promoters of formula feeding. The mothers who formula fed all their children and firmly believe that there is no notable differences between the two. I have been noticing though, that that doesn’t alway seem to be the case. There are many women that support breastfeeding, have breastfed their children or are currently breastfeeding their children, that don’t have positive feelings towards lactavists and wouldn’t want to count themselves amongst them.
Why is that?
Recent events have shown an upsurge on Facebook amongst lacatavists , posting about the horrors of formula feeding. I really have to take a moment to thank a friend of mine. Reading her blog this past year about her trials, her thoughts & feelings about a breastfeeding relationship she had originally wanted and ended up not having and the emotions she has felt through it all, has gone a long way to opening my eyes about the WAY we talk about breastfeeding and the profound effect that it can have on all different types of women.
These ads were created to demand honesty in formula advertising. Who is the demand being made to though? Are formula companies seeing these ads? Or just thousands of mothers across the internet? False advertising isn’t a new idea. Check out most items on any given shelf in your grocery store and you will see some. If we want there to be more honesty in advertising, is this the most productive way to try and achieve it?
Is this about educating mothers? Pretend for a second that you are a mother who doesn’t know about the awesomeness of your breasts and how amazing breastfeeding is… yadayadayada. What would you think if you saw this posted somewhere? Do you feel educated after reading it?
Does it strike you as condescending? Or would it?
This is the ingredients off of the back of a formula can. So, what if this were captioned along the lines, “Another baby died from formula this week. Crap in a can.”?
So, what does that make mothers feel? To read that? For us breastfeeding mothers, it surely makes us feel even more awesome and superior for our choice to do “what is best for our baby”. What about every other mother out there?
Do we care?
I love breastfeeding. I breastfed my son until he was a few months shy of 4. Those last 3 months for him, he was tandem nursing with his sister, who is still nursing at 22 months. I probably have quite a bit more nursing to look forward too. I think that it is important for women to breastfeed in public so that other women can see it. The more often it is seen, the more it will seem less of an oddity. I think sharing the positives about breastfeeding is important. There are so many. I just also think that the way that we approach talking about breastfeeding and formula feeding should be and can be done in a more thoughtful and considerate way.
Think… COMPASSION. Because at the end of the day you can’t force women to think the way you do. You can’t strong arm them into it. You can’t treat them like they are stupid in hopes that they will believe it and then want to be “smarter”. Just like you. And many of them do know what you know. Maybe they made a different choice or they didn’t really HAVE a choice.
Obviously, not all women will be offended by those kinds of lactavist tactics but I think the numbers are higher than most of us would think. Some people will be offended no matter what you say or how you say it, but I know it is hard for me to remember that not everyone thinks and feels the way I do. Or the majority of the people that make up “my world”. My world view has become very narrow. I know that in the past I have made similar types of posts or said things that weren’t very thoughtful. It makes me wonder how I have made people feel. My friends? My family?