Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Through the looking glass

We made it out to the La Leche League meeting yesterday morning and it was fair. Michael did very well and I enjoyed being in a room with a bunch of breastfeeding mothers. The topic of the meeting was something about the benefits of breastfeeding and there were parts that were a bit hard to swallow. I know they were not made with malicious intent, but listening to sweeping generalizations about women who formula feed (they are obsessed with the numbers, breastfeeding allows you to form a special bond/attachment/connection with your children, formula feeders care too much about the state of their homes, etc.) was a bit hard to swallow. I finally did open my mouth to say that Michael was formula-fed from three months on and I never payed attention to numbers except when we were edging close to the magic 40 oz. mark, and he was demand fed and bottle nursed - the loss of our breastfeeding relationship was devastating to me and I did everything in my power to treat him like a breast-fed child. Needless to say, it went over like a lead balloon and then one of the leaders changed the subject.

Again, I know none of the comments made were malicious and if I had made it through to continue breastfeeding Michael I would have been commenting just like everyone else, although I like to believe I wouldn't go too far in my generalizations (the breastfeeding causes you to not care about the stae of your house just makes my head spin). The other place I disagree is on an advocacy level. If someone mentions breastfeeding or needing support, I'll trot out all of the resources I can think of to help them out. I'm not sure how I'd respond to someone who was on the fence, but I'd probably recommend one of the more accessible books for some good information. From my time on the Lactivism board on MDC, I've decided that my advocacy lies more in doing my part to normalize breastfeeding, doing what I can to protect a woman's right to breastfeed, and boycotting Nestle. Convincing newly pregnant women to breastfeed isn't really on my horizon. It's an interesting place to be - I'm currently breastfeeding my youngest with the eventual goal of child-led weaning, I breastfed my first for three months and then switched to formula, and I've spent the intervening years on a feeding choices debate board and a lactivism board - oh and I can't stand The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. Not quite your average LLL meeting attendee. I'm definitely sticking with the group because I've been looking forward to it, I just hope things improve a bit because if every meeting involves some sort of formula-bashing it won't be long before I can't hold it in any more.