It amazes me how we all seem to be well-meaning, but continually just off the mark.
The recent uproar from La Leche League about Piri Weepu giving his baby girl a *gasp* bottle just decreased my opinion of that organization’s credibility. Babies get bottles. Get over it. Giving a baby a bottle does not encompass some political statement over the benefits of breastfeeding. He was feeding his child. Good for him. I love it when my husband feeds my child. I love that they get that moment to cuddle and bond. I get that moment six times a day and, next to him giving me a gummy smile, it is my favorite thing about having a baby right now. What was in that bottle is irrelevant.
Think about it for a minute…what do you think is more beneficial to a society as a whole: breastfeeding or men bonding with their children? Which do you think results in stronger families, less juvenile crime and higher levels of education completed?
Mmm hmmm. Thought so.
And don’t give me that tired argument that men can bond through acts other than bottle feeding. I already agree with you. They can. But, you bond with a crying helpless not very pleasant infant by looking after it – especially in those early months when you don’t get much in the way of social interaction. There is something about feeding such a tiny wrinkly creature and watching it grow that bonds you to it in a way that is more powerful than all those diaper changes that lactivists suggest men get involved in.
I also agree that society needs to see more images of women breastfeeding. Hey, I do my part. I whip my teats out here there and everywhere. On the subway? Check. In the doctor’s waiting room? Check. On a park bench? Check. In a restaurant? Check.
Maybe Beyoncé breastfeeding Blue in a restaurant will encourage more women to do the same…
Or maybe we should stop getting distracted by which celebrities breastfed and which bottlefeed and focus on an issue that will actually make a difference to breastfeeding rates…
How about maternity leave? I read a lot about women in the US taking only 6 weeks of maternity leave. I looked up the FMLA legislation to see it gives you 12 weeks. I suppose that’s better than 6, but it’s still dismal. In Ontario, you can take 17 weeks of pregnancy leave and 35 weeks of parental leave. You don’t necessarily get paid, but you don’t lose your job either. Most of the other provinces give 35-37 weeks of parental leave for both mothers and fathers. Wow. If you tag teamed it you’d have a kid almost old enough for preschool before both parents had to be back at work.
What would do more to increase the number of babies that were exclusively breastfed for 6 months in the US: shaming women and families that decide to bottle feed or lobbying for federal legislation to allow a longer maternity leave?
Mmm hmm. Thought so.
I know that LLL of New Zealand made the fuss about Weepu…but the LLL of US makes similar fusses. In NZ, maternity leave is 14 weeks although if you’ve been employed for more than a year you can take 52. 14 weeks is still dismal so I think my arguement applies equally to the NZ LLL.
Why don’t we put our energy towards fighting for things that make sense?