This is a great article by Sayantani DasGupta about the problem with all this individualism in the breastfeeding vs. bottle-feeding debate.. her piece also pays particular attention to the rise in anti-breastfeeding articles over at Jezebel. (Thanks to @chirpingnorton for the link).
But the critical issue here is that Baby Friendly Hospitals are a systemic way that breastfeeding initiation can be enhanced. People complaining about “breastfeeding bullies” keep talking about the issue of choice. Yet, the ways that most maternity wards operate in the U.S. actually reduce all women’s choices across the board – whether you ultimately choose to breastfeed for any amount of time or not.
The truth of the matter is, issues such as insufficient milk production, a failure to latch on properly, and resultant problems such as infant weight loss are often tied to immediate post-birth practices — practices that are determined by the policies of the particular maternity ward. These are systemic failures, NOT the so-called “failure” of individual women.
And this over at Counterpunch. Infuriating. A mother tries to get on with her life by working around the realities of having a sick baby while also being in paid employment and she becomes a target for it. This is what it is to live in a misogynistic capitalist culture where both sickness and caring are considered deviant behaviours.
So here’s the story, internet: I fed my sick baby during feminist anthropology class without disrupting the lecture so as to not have to cancel the first day of class. I doubt anyone saw my nipple, because I’m pretty good at covering it. But if they did, they now know that I too, a university professor, like them, have nipples. Or at least that I have one.
(Thanks to this great post over at The Mamafesto and to a reader, Lisa, for alerting me to the story).