I've heard some pretty dumb ideas on how to promote breastfeeding over the years. But here's a new one: a ban on bottles. Not a ban on formula. A ban on bottles.
As in the things that babies use to drink both formula AND breast milk.
Good news for us in America, the bottle ban isn't happening here ... at least not yet. Proposed legislation in the country of Venezuela claims the move would "increase the love between mother and child." The plan is to get rid of all types of baby bottles, with exceptions only in case of the death of a mother or for women with limited milk production (which would be determined by the country's health ministry).
Go ahead and seethe, Moms ... just don't shoot the messenger.
Because I think this whole trend toward forcing moms to breastfeed is demoralizing to women ... at best.
Whether it's taking formula out of hospitals or taking away bottles, the message these sort of "bans" send to moms isn't "Yes, let's breastfeed!" It's that we can't be trusted to make our own decisions with our bodies and our babies, so big brother is going to do it for us.
Let me just lay this out there: most women know that breast is best ... except when it isn't. The reasons not all of us breastfeed are myriad. Low milk production is one, but there are plenty more ... pretty much all of them valid.
So what happens to those mothers when bottles are banned?
Women don't magically find the ability to breastfeed successfully ... certainly not without help.
First there's the physical struggle to make breastfeeding work when it really isn't, then the frustration and depression that come from said struggle. Even if a mom does somehow figure out how to breastfeed with a proverbial gun to her head, the emotional toll is great ... for mom and baby.
Is that really promoting an increased love between mother and child?
Is that really the way to win the war to increase breastfeeding rates?
What is it that's "won," exactly?
What we all know, what every mom has in common -- breastfeeding and bottle-feeding moms alike -- is that we want the best for our babies. The government doesn't have to pull a fast one on us to make it that way; it's human nature.
Why is it so hard for governments to recognize that which is already inherent and use it? Don't shame moms or punish them, don't force our hands ... help us help our babies!
That's the only way to increase breastfeeding rates.
Would you support a ban on bottles?
Image via bradleypjohnson/Flickr