Tuesday, July 31, 2007
I'm Much More of a Lactivist than I Ever Thought I'd Be
Seven years ago, when I was pregnant with Sophie, my obstetrician asked if I would breastfeed. I casually said I thought I'd give it a "try."

What I didn't know then was how important nursing would become to me or how giving it a try for a few weeks would turn into 8 1/2 months. I didn't know how maddening it was to hear people pass comments, such as "you're still doing that?!" Like it was a nasty habit I'd picked up on the street. I also didn't know it would make me angry when women got kicked out of restaurants and off planes for nursing or how I'd feel when a woman I worked with said nursing in public was "disgusting" and how she was "repulsed" by the sight of it. (A gentle reminder of how that statement could be considered discrimination by human resources shut her up pretty quickly.)

While I was in the hospital, there was slip of paper attached to Sophie's bassinet that read: "BREAST." This was to let the staff know to not give her sugar water or formula. The nurses dutifully sent in the lactation specialist every day but also sent me home with a diaper bag full of powdered formula and coupons to buy more. Talk about mixed messages.

At home, I had difficulties nursing but nothing I couldn't overcome with the help of a lactation consultant, a (free) support group and a batch of new friends I'd made. (One friend even went on to writer her own book.)

Today, the New York Health and Hospitals Corporation announced that it is banning, not just removing, banning, all formula-related promotional material from it's labor and delivery units in an effort to promote breast feeding. The HHC is also eliminating formula giveaways in their hospitals and replacing them with nursing-friendly gift bags. All this coincides with World Breast Feeding week, which kicks off tomorrow.

Now, I'm not saying that moms who don't nurse are bad moms so let's not fan the flames of controversy. All I'm saying is that it makes sense to promote the healthiest of options. It might not even make a significant dent in the numbers of breast vs. bottles, but it's a step in the right direction, for the right reasons.

Getting off my soapbox now....


Blogger Andie said...

i have nothing to say except: they have nerve. isn't this America. I'm sorry, I don't want to whip out my 44DDD's in public! It's not for everyone.

Blogger CatMar said...

I was all for breasr feeding Tara until Chris' cousin Joan came from upstate with her newborn son. She came for a funeral and had to take the baby because he wouldn't drink from the bottle. That bothered me because I couldn't see having a baby attached to my breast all the time. It certainly isn't for everyone.

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