Sunday, June 26, 2011

Breast Feeding Unpolitically Correct

Often times in the world wide web, there's a particular phrase that takes on a life of it's own, a buzz phrase if you will. I'm not always partial to buzz phrases because it tends to lean towards "crowd following", and I'm anything but. If a phrase is credible (at least to me) I can certainly embrace it.

"Breast feeding is not best, it's natural."

I truly dislike this phrase. While I embrace the intent behind it, an effort to change society's perception of the "unnaturalness" of breast feeding to one of normalcy, it discredits the superiority of breast milk to it's counterpart...formula.

When compared to formula, undoubtedly, "breast (milk) IS best".

I realize I'm wading in muddy waters, one filled with emotionally-charged debate, but I promise, I'm not a breast feeding snob. :)

What I also dislike about this particular phrase is that it has a "politically correct" feel to it. Breast feeding should be unpolitically correct.

Politically correctness oftentimes molds an environment of socially acceptable wrongs and rights. While there should be societal change, i.e. perceptions and nursing in public, creating a "correctness" about breast feeding can be counterproductive to the good intent of normalizing it.

Here's why I think this...

Nursing is like childbirth, a personal and individualized experience, and many tie their success or failure to do both, directly with their ability to care for their babies. Applying political correctness to the act of breast feeding creates an element of judgment as a phrase may insinuate the "wrong" or "right" of a situation and possibly create an discouraging and insecure environment.

I believe one of the biggest deterrent in promoting breast feeding is many moms feel pressure to perform in situations where she is experiencing a real problem with it. Many well meaning, nursing moms, or self-made lactivists personally crusading for breast feeding, at times discourage moms with percieved insinuations.

Do we tip-toe around the subject with kid-gloves? Absolutely not! We should be bold and confident...when speaking of our OWN personal experiences, not someone else's situation. Personalized and heartfelt words of support and encouragement fare far better than buzz phrases that may carry an unintended message.

It is not wrong to be politically correct, as a matter of fact, there are lots of scenarios where a person should strive for political correctness. Breast feeding shouldn't be one of those issues.

How can we be effective? Support, support, support! So many moms need this in a society that knows next to nothing about the topic. More so than anything, African-American moms, with one of the lowest breast feeding rates truly need cosiderate support. Words of positive encouragement, personal testimony, and willingness to find help (local lactation consultant) goes a long way! I realize some lactivists like to see themselves as saving babies. Self-rightness should not trump the basic right to choice. When self-rightness is used as a foundation to bulldoze choice, you get Laws like arresting a nursing mom for feeding her one-year old in public. Yes, breast feeding should be unpolitically correct, don't you think?

4 comments:

  1. What a beautifully written post! Thanks for sharing. I agree- support is the best way to help other women. We all need it. I found you on the hop and I am now your newest follower. I would love to have you stop by and follow us back if you want to!
    Camille @
    SixSistersStuff.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I enjoyed your post. I wish all Moms could breast feed for at least six weeks. I breast fed four babies and my three daughters and one daughter in law also breast fed. It's popular in our family. I'm a new follower. Doylene

    ReplyDelete
  3. I completely agree. I was not able to breastfeed with our daughter. She just was NOT having any part of it and we were both miserable trying to do it. The lactation dictator at the hospital did nothing to comfort me, instead she made me feel like a failure. It was my husband and mother who helped me to feel alright with it all. Stopping by from the Finding New Friends Hop and am now a follower! You can find me
    Yankee Texan Mom , or Mama's Money Tree

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Camille-thank you so much! Following you now :)

    @AGraciousHome - good on you and yours! I've followed you back.

    @YankeeTexanMom - I'm so glad you finally found the support you need! Being unable to BF doesn't make anyone less of a mom :) Heading over to follow you back.

    ReplyDelete

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