Guilt and breastfeeding

Guilt and breastfeeding

Speaking of breastfeeding, here is a June post on the blog of Selkie about guilt and breastfeeding.

In all the discussions about the breastfeeding ad campaign and the NYT article, guilt figures prominently.  Mothers feel guilty, and guilt is bad.  Guilt, I think, is part and parcel of being a mother: motherhood is a rocky road, with a remorse-mallow ribbon running all through it.  (Wait! Come back! I promise to be done with terrible puns now.)  Do mothers really feel more guilt, or more inappropriate guilt, about breastfeeding than about other choices they make?  And who is “making them” feel it?

Standard disclaimer for breastfeeding posts:  I understand that breastfeeding is about both individuals and populations.  To recognize the need for increased breastfeeding is not to disparage individual decisions about weaning.  Sometimes breastfeeding sucks in more ways than one.  Sometimes you take a cue from that fine philosopher Don Schlitz:  you gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.

That said:  why is the guilt card a conversation stopper?  If I were into conspiracy theories, I would think there was a formula-company-sponsored social marketing program afoot.  Can we talk about guilt today?

She makes some interesting observations about guilt and strong reactions against breastfeeding campaigns. Why are some women so upset about promotion of breastfeeding? Is it because we’re telling them what to do with their bodies? Heck, pregnant women are told how to care for their bodies and children all the time. So on and so forth.

The comparison of the stats of infants without car seats who die in car crashes and neonatal deaths that could be prevented with breastfeeding (as cited in the study in the previous entry); more than twice as many death could be prevented with breastfeeding. Go figure. (Of course, this might be comparing apples to oranges, so take it with a grain of salt, to mix some metaphors.)

I never would have imagined a year ago that I would write two blog posts in a row on breastfeeding.

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