Wednesday, August 4, 2010

mandatory breast feeding

Today while watching Good Morning America, Gisele Bundchen (model) says Breastfeeding should be a "worldwide international law". She said to Us magazine, "Some people here (in the US) think they don't have to breastfeed, and I think 'Are you going to give chemical food to your child when they are so little?' I think there should be a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months."

Thus spurs the debate. Is it right to allow mothers, who are capable of breastfeeding, to give formula to their babies instead?

I understand that some moms try to breast feed but their bodies just won't produce enough milk. I understand that some moms have a medical condition which doesn't allow them to breast feed due to medication or other health risks. But working moms, the work place is required by law to give you a place and time to pump frequently. And did you know you are allowed to breastfeed in any public place? This is your right.

Here are some actual excuses I've heard for why some moms don't breast feed:

"Breastfeeding doesn't fit into my working lifestyle. My high demand job does not allow for regular frequent breaks to keep up my milk supply."

"I think the breasts are a purely sexual body part and should only be shared between me and my husband. It just feels wrong and sexual to have my baby sucking on me."

"My husband wants to share the responsibility with me, he feels like breast feeding would take away from his share and not allow him be an intimate part of the baby's life."

Honestly, I have heard all three of these excuses being used. I will let you draw your own conclusions on that one.

But think about this. How could you encourage moms who are unable to nurse, or moms who adopt, that formula is safe and that their babies will grow up normal and healthy if you are telling everyone else that they are not allowed to use formula. Formula will not kill your baby, just like eating McDonalds every day won't kill you. There are just better alternatives. The best thing I think we can do is encourage all new moms to do what is best for their babies and to help them understand the benefits of breastfeeding.

Then again, why are C-sections optional now a days? It's safer to do a vaginal birth in most cases. Why aren't cigarettes illegal? Is it ever healthy to smoke? Why aren't bicycle helmets the law? When do you draw the line between what the government tells you what to do and when you can choose for yourself?

For me, that line should be when it affects no one but yourself or your property (a bike helmet, a cigarette or wearing your seat belt...) compared to when it affects the health or wellbeing of others and their property (driving under the influence, speeding, littering...)

where does breastfeeding fit?

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