The Case Against The Case Against Breastfeeding

There is an article in this month’s The Atlantic that attempts to make a case against breastfeeding. Before discussing the article, I will be upfront and “out” myself as a lactivist. Perhaps you are already rolling your eyes, certain that I can’t be objective about an article making its case against breastfeeding, when I am such a staunch supporter of breastfeeding and breastfeeding rights. I am not here, however, to take Ms. Rosin’s article apart point by point and explain why I feel “breast is best”. Instead, I want to look at the overall point of her article, without even delving into the actual argument over breast vs. formula because I do not believe that is truly the point of Ms. Rosin’s article in the first place.
Ms. Rosin begins her article by painting a picture of her play group basically shunning her after she declares that she wants to stop breastfeeding her infant son. She then goes on to stereotype and judge the women who she feels have stereotyped and judged her. The rest of the article sees her bitterly grasping at straws, attempting to build a flimsy case against breastfeeding. Despite the title of the article, Ms. Rosin even comments that she will miss breastfeeding and more importantly that, “…so overall, yes, breast is probably best.”
What Ms. Rosin really seems to have a problem with is judgement, and I do not fault her for that one bit. Yet, at the same time, she seems to dole it out in heaps in her article. She plays the “feminist card” and whines that breastfeeding does not make for an equal marriage; That in taking on the burden of breastfeeding, women are then opening up themselves to take on the rest of the domestic agenda. If there is inequality in a marriage, I highly doubt that it stems solely from the choice to breastfeed. That seems too simplistic of an argument that gives little credit to women as well creating an extremely slippery slope as far as defining parental roles. Further playing into her concept of the feminist ideal, she laments that as she has aged she sees less of her female friends in positions of power or success, assuming they somehow disappeared when they had children. Both of these assumptions make me cringe because it pits women against each other. To say that success is only merited by what occurs in the workplace is narrow minded and further fuels the flames of the so-called “Mommy Wars.” Why say that because a woman decided not to go back to work once she had children she disappeared? Why feel sorry for her if that is her choice. On the flip side, it is not right to attack mother’s who do go back to work either. Neither side is right, yet when we lash out and judge the other side, then what is the point anymore?
In my mind, being a feminist gives me the power and the choice to decide what I will do with my life. My choice works for me and my family, and that does not mean it is any better or worse than your choice, it is just different. And to bad mouth one choice in order to push an agenda seems spiteful and bitter to me, especially when that agenda is full of holes and weak arguments.
There is plenty of guilt that weaves its way through parenting and we do not need yet another article to further plant seeds of doubt and guilt into anyone’s mind. I have more to say, but I have a son who needs to nurse 😉

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