Let's just get this off our chests (pun intended) for a moment: Breastfeeding is the healthiest, most natural way to feed a baby. Countless studies have been done proving this over and over again. If possible, breastfeeding is the best way that a child can be fed. This is just a fact. So why are doctors actually feeling afraid to say this?
Dr. Claire McCarthy is a columnist known as "MD Mama" and her posts are always very helpful in terms of navigating life's sticky situations with children. This week she discussed breastfeeding, but she did so with a massive disclaimer explaining that originally she'd wanted to write about a new study (yet another one) showing the benefits of breastfeeding, but that she was afraid to say it was best for fear of igniting the "mommy wars." She's right to be afraid.
The reality is, breastfeeding is a very touchy subject for many, many people. And yet, who can argue with the reality of the matter? Breastfeeding IS the ideal way to feed a child. Formula is fine. But breast, if possible, is better. Why is that so hard to say?
It has become a heated topic largely because those women who are unable to do it for whatever reason feel insecure about their decision. And it's no wonder they do. For many women (like those who might take photos of themselves nursing in front of formula booths), breastfeeding is a badge of honor, something that makes them a superior mom.
This makes me laugh. I nursed my children for years and that was largely because it was easy. I was lucky. But you know what? My kids are almost 7 and 5 now and the fact that I nursed means basically nothing. It may mean the world when you have a baby, but things change.
I don't blame moms who didn't or couldn't nurse for being sensitive, but the truth is, they need to stop being so. We are an oversensitive lot. We all have our sore points and hearing that something we struggled with doesn't exist (say, trouble nursing or picky eating) makes us feel worse and, in turn, makes us unable to hear even the basic facts about nursing without flipping out.
Is breastfeeding ideal? Yes. It is. Study after study after study says that breastfeeding is better for children.
But formula is fine.
Babies need to eat and formula is the next best thing to breast milk. If we could all lose the over-sensitivity and the superiority, we could actually deal with facts. It's such a shame that we women are so predictable and easily ignited. If we can't even discuss breastfeeding in a dignified manner, what can we discuss?
Do you hate when people say "breast is best"?
Image via Mothering Touch/Flickr