Saturday, August 14, 2010

US Babies: Bottomfeeders, not Breastfeeders

Why is breastfeeding in the US considered a "lifestyle" choice and not a medical one? Why is formula promoted by our medical community and used so casually by our society as a whole? What is at the root of all this?  MONEY!  Why have we put money ahead of what is best for our babies?  I found myself stewing over that tonight (thus the post at 5 am!)
What set off my stewing session, you ask?  Well, last evening I received an e-mail announcement from a small breastfeeding garment company that said it has affiliated itself with a popular non-profit breastfeeding website.   Apparently, this garment company will be donating 5% of the sale of it's (overpriced) garment to the "cause" of said website.  And, of course blogged about her reasons for doing so.

 I'd like to share with you the "credo" of this popular website,  "ALL moms deserve to make an informed feeding decision, and to be cheered on, coached and celebrated without pressure, judgement or guilt, whether they breastfeed for 2 days, 2 months, 2 years or not at all.  ALL breastfeeding moms deserve  to succeed & have a positive breastfeeding experience without being "booby trapped".  

May sound OK but unfortunately, most of their breastfeeding information is bad and not "current or evidence based" as  they claim and laden with "booby traps"  that actually hurt a baby's chance to breastfeed, not help them.  OOOPS!  DID I SAY BABIES INSTEAD OF MOTHERS?  YOU BET I DID!  That's all this website needs, more donations to commercialize and undermine breastfeeding.

So I thought, why would a popular breastfeeding website risk promoting information that was incorrect and damaging?   Then suddenly I got it!  If you have the money to advertise with them.......your in!
No matter what information you present on or about breastfeeding if it comes with a fat check, it's good.
Let's not forget, non-profits are businesses to and very lucrative ones at that.

So, since babies don't have money, they are under represented, if at all.  Marketing and information is aimed towards the peeps with the green!  These businesses are all about the parent (consumer) disguised as for the baby......clever yet unethical.  That's why all the "stuff" for babies including websites and books about baby care are not truly baby-friendly.  Just think of the time and money parents spend
moms and their babies playing together on-line, reading baby books and putting together apparatus instead of just holding and paying attention to the best expert they will ever have....their own baby!

Another issue I have is this "soft" approach to promoting breastfeeding, by basically placating women who choose to do otherwise.  This has been the new craze for over a year now.  We are guilt-free and responsibility-free now thanks to the new crop of so- called breastfeeding advocates.

Is it me or does anyone give a crap about the babies!  Let me be frank(ha!), most of the women in the US who "fail" at breastfeeding or "have to stop", do so for personal/selfish reasons, not medical ones.
Why is it so easy to dismiss what our baby needs and loves,  for our wants, not needs?  Those are two different things!

Money, professional status, houses, cars, vacations..........does a baby care about any of that?  Let me ask, can we possibly conceive doing with less?  Do we really need the new SUV when we are having our first baby?  Do we really need the bigger house in the fancier neighborhood (that we have no time to be acquainted with) and the better schools if our child is a newborn?  Does every child have to have their own bedroom and bathroom?  Really? Would it kill us to stay home from work for at least one year?  Many women say," I enjoy work, I do it for me."  Ya know what, you have the rest of your life to work and guess what....this isn't about you!  Others say, "I pumped at work so my son had breastmilk only for the first year."  That's not the point.  He didn't have you.

 The "you can have it all" myth is just that, a myth, not just for you but your for your baby. OOOPS!  There I go again with the baby mentioning!  You can have a baby,work full-time, breastfeed, bottlefeed, raise that child, have more children, work some more, oh yeah and be married.....sounds like fun! You can have a nice, big house, several nice cars, nice schools, nice vacations and lots of nice possessions.  Unfortunately, what isn't nice is that you had to work your butt off the whole time and sacrificed some precious, impressionable years. Is that the life you envisioned?  Is this the legacy we want to leave?
The babies?  Not only don't they get what they want...they don't get what they need...their moms.

The breastfeeding?  Well the women who successfully breastfeed for at least a year are predominantly stay-at-home moms.  Most of the women who go back to work by 3 months will fail at breastfeeding.  Why? For one, it's too damn early to go back to work!  Your baby and your breasts need you, not a pump.  Reason two, caregivers stuff and overfeed the babies to make them sleep!  Those who have tried to "keep up" with that know what I am talking about.  Companies who make breastpumps are out to make money!!! HELLO?  Your breasts are made for your baby to feed from, not for a milking machine.

So in the end, who really suffers?  The babies.  They have "to do" with substandard food (at best) in place of your milk.  Not only does it taste disgusting but now they are placed at risk medically, not to mention the emotional/physical separation associated with bottlefeeding.  Also they have to deal with others taking care of them at an early age.  This is not right.

It always suprises me that most parents have never read the ingredients in the formula that they feed their children yet they shop at Whole Foods.  I'd like to share with you the ingredients right from the side of a can of Similac Isomil Advanced formula. Here goes from the top:

   43.2% corn syrup solids, 14.6% soy protein isolate, 11.5% safflower oil, 10.3% sugar(sucrose),
      8.4% soy oil, 7.7% coconut oil......need I go on?   

Mothers ask me, "Is there one formula that is better than another?"  I say, "No".  They are all crap, just breastfeed!  Don't think the "organic" is any better.  The only organic milk for babies is breastmilk!

So if you added up daycare, pumps and equipment associated with pumping, formula (because you will need it) and the equipment for that, the costs of returning to work (clothes, transportation etc), increased medical because you and your child will be sicker, loss of work due to illness, well you might as well just stay home and raise the child yourself.  Trust me, you'd be happier and most importantly your baby would be happier and healthier both physically and emotionally.

To really let you know how I feel (ha!)....the way we conduct our lives in this country is an embarrassment.  We have to do better by our babies. Like, I have said in previous posts, we cannot wait for our government, corporations or medical community to help us and our family.   Why? Because they are the problem! They have put money first, before everything and everyone but themselves.
Yet, that doesn't mean you have to.

So if you want to help "the cause."  PUT YOUR BABY FIRST!!!!   If you don't, who will?  WE as moms need to start saying, "NO" to work, "NO" to formula and "YES to staying home, and "YES to breastfeeding.  Only then, will we be able to pull babies up from the bottom of our society to the top where they belong.