There is a new breastfeeding initiative in NYC that I am so very proud of yet it's being met with a lot of criticism and controversy. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley put together a program to encourage breastfeeding starting in hospitals, to help women nurse their babies by offering support and lactation consultants -- making more hospitals "baby friendly". It will also help educate the public and help nursing moms in the workplace.
People are upset about it. And perhaps the loudest person who opposes this is Whoopi Goldberg. On The View she said to Bloomberg on his initiative, "Very nice, but back off." She even called the lactation consultants who come to your room in the hospital to help moms nurse boneheads. There's more ... plus video.
But the breastfeeding initiative she is bashing helps tons of women. And why oppose something that helps people? You can personally not be on board with it, but to speak in such a public forum (on The View with millions of viewers) and be such an influencer to speak out on something that helps babies thrive is just so irresponsible.
Watch the clip:
If Whoopi didn't want to breastfeed, if any mother doesn't want to nurse her baby, just deny the help. Say no. Get formula. Is it really that hard? Why does it bother those moms so much that there is help? Is it their guilt from not wanting to breastfeed? It makes no sense to get annoyed at something that helps babies get the best start in life. Maybe you had a little help to birth your baby ... you may need a little help to breastfeed, too. And if the moms who don't want help feel those trying to assist are too pushy, remember it's for good reason. Any mom who tries breastfeeding and hates it can easily switch to formula. But a mom who starts with formula and decides a week, two weeks after birth that maybe she should have tried nursing her baby, it's often too late. Breastmilk is supply and demand. No demand, no supply.
Remember, breastfeeding doesn't have to be all or nothing. Even just nursing for the first few weeks is so incredibly beneficial. Even just nursing for the first few days. Why NOT try? Why are so many women so against trying something that is good for them and their newborn? Help me understand that. Have some women bought into a certain part of society's view that breasts are sexual objects and sexual objects only?
I really felt for Sherri Shepherd when she talked about how her milk wouldn't come in and having her baby born at 24 weeks. I love how she encouraged women to at least try, saying it was the most amazing experience of bonding when her son tried to nurse. But she tried. It didn't work for her, but she tried. Moms deserve that experience. Especially in the haze we sometimes feel just after birth -- a little nudge can be helpful.
When Elisabeth Hasselbeck complained how "the league" came in all night long telling her she has to breastfeed when she thought she had to sleep, I was shocked. She has three kids; she knows newborns have to eat every two hours. They had a direct food source in the womb, so we still need to keep them fed even through the night.
Maybe it's Whoopi's guilt speaking. But sadly, her guilt and voice carry a lot of weight because she is on TV. She should really choose her words more carefully. Why ruin another woman's chance at success by offering help? This breastfeeding initiative is just that -- help. Help in the hospital. But it is more than that -- it's help so they can nurse in public without scorn. Help to be able to still breastfeed after you go back to work. We need this help, and deserve it.
I say thank you to Mayor Bloomberg and Dr. Farley. And thank you to the lactation consultants who helped me. Boneheads, you were not.
What do you think of Whoopi's comments? Did you appreciate getting breastfeeding help?
Image via edenpictures/Flickr