In My Opinion
Back Away From My Boobs
Seriously. Get away from them. They are mine. M-I-N-E. Perhaps I’ve shared them with my child, perhaps I have shared them with a partner of mine, but the operative word here is share, as in, they are mine and I decide who has access to them.
And why, you may ask, am I yelling about my deflated, post-baby breasts?
Because honestly, I cant take it anymore. And Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York’s recent Latch On initiative has pushed me over the edge. In case you need cliffs notes, Latch On NYC is, according to their website: A citywide initiative to support mothers who choose to breastfeed and limit practices that interfere with that choice. It involves both a hospital commitment to limit infant formula promotion and a public awareness campaign on the benefits of breast milk.
Hospitals joining Latch On NYC have agreed to:
- Enforce the New York State hospital regulation to not supplement breastfeeding infants with formula unless medically indicated and documented on the infant’s
- Limit access to infant formula by hospital staff
- Discontinue the distribution of promotional or free
- Prohibit the display and distribution of infant formula advertising or promotional materials in any hospital location
The banner at the top of the site shows a woman nursing that says NOTHING COMPARES WITH BREAST MILK.
Okay, here is the thing - unless a woman lives under a rock - she knows breast is best. So why the hell are we creating initiatives to educate women? Consider us educated. I delivered at a hospital in New York that called itself baby friendly, which also meant that it limited anything that interfered with breast-feeding. This meant no formula (unless medically necessary), no pacifiers, nada. I was fine with it.
I wanted to breast feed, but I also felt a HUGE pressure to do so. After all, I was raising my child without a father, so the last thing I wanted to do was break her even more by giving her the poison formula.
The “education” about breast-feeding started at my lactation class where I clearly remember another classmate explaining that she had to return to work 6 weeks after delivery and she wanted help on juggling full-time work with a child that is still eating every 2 to 3 hours (which means mom is pumping that frequently, or even more so if she is having problem with milk production).
Want to know what our lactation instructor told her? “That is not what this class is to discuss, this class to is to help you understand the benefits of breast feeding and help to help you to successfully establish it early on. If you have issues surrounding work, there are support groups for that.”
The woman mentioned that she wouldn’t have time to go to those support groups because she would be working full time and the instructor moved on to proper holding techniques, and on-demand feeding, and cluster feeding. She didn’t touch the topic of pumps, or what to do when your boobs are leaking and you can’t get out of a meeting, or how to handle getting mastitis for the second time because you have had to skip pumping because there simply were not enough hours in the day.
And frankly, that really pissed me off then and after having nursed for 9 months while working fulltime, it REALLY pisses me off now.
Yes, breast is best for the health of a child, but not at the expense of mom’s health – and I am talking both physical and mental. This one note breast-feeding, lock away the formula drumbeat, is doing exactly the opposite of what we need to do for a woman that has just had a child - which is empower her to take control of her own body. And it is infuriating to me.
So do me a favor, and get off my tits MR. Bloomberg. Get off of them. If you need a project, I suggest you talk to the heads of companies about how to help support families that have just had children, and recognize the nuances of the needs of mother’s that breast feed their babies. And when you do so, you can tell them we need, oh I don’t know, some mandatory maternity and paternity leave policies. Perhaps having both parents at home without the stress of going without a paycheck or one parent (typically dad) needing to rush back to work after a few days off, will help promote all around health and wellness.
And once that is successfully in place, making it mandatory for companies to not only provide a place to pump, but also a CLEAN place to store the breast milk after it is pumped would also be helpful. I don’t care that it is considered a bodily fluid. Figure it out. Next, we can use an upgrade on the law that requires employers to provide a place other than a bathroom for mom to pump. Let’s be honest, lots of employers adhere to the bare minimum of the law, so let’s get real and require employers to provide a place that is comfortable and within a five-minute walk from mom’s cubical.
Oh I’m sorry, is that impractical?
And so is a one-size fits all approach to feeding a child.
So please, for the love of god, recognize that I have the freedom and the intelligence to choose what I want to do with my body based on my life and my family’s circumstances.