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Thoughts on Lactivism (a repost)

My little nursling

My whole argument regarding formula can be summed up as thus: It shouldn’t be marketed “as good as” because it ISN’T “as good as breastmilk” but rather “good enough”. And “good enough” should never be a parents first choice to nourish their babies. It should be the secondary, lesser choice for women that can’t (for whatever reason) breastfeed their babies.
Did you know in Norway 90% of women are still exclusively breastfeeding at four months?I doubt they have super boobs.  Most women can feed their babies just fine, especially when they have support and encouragement from their family, friends, doctors, and employers.

Before you get all nutty and label me judgmental, please read the blurb a second time.  My point is not that formula feeding mommies are horrible people.  But rather that the wording on formula ads should be changed, and in fact our culture needs to change.   Because formula is not “as good as” breastmilk and new mothers need to know that.

The reason we “lactivists” fight so hard and repeat ourselves so often?  Because formula companies are horrible icky-icky and unethical.  They give new mothers gift bags and mail them coupons and free samples and send them home from the hospital loaded up with the crap, just to try and get vulnerable little ones hooked on it…  Even though this violates the WHO code. They throw out words like “supplemental” and “inadequate milk supply” to new mommies, who of course, are already nervous about every single thing without adding fears about how to feed their babies.   And I think that is disgusting.  They are like drug dealers…  Trying to get our babies hooked on the free product so we will continue to buy buy buy.

Don’t get me wrong.  I do think there are lots of other steps you should go through before deciding to give your baby formula, but I am glad that formula exists for the small group of women that can’t, for whatever reason, breastfeed.  I don’t think it is poison.  I just wish more women would give breastfeeding a shot.  That is why I talk about this so much!

I’ve always tried to make this blog a welcome place.  I have nothing against my readers that fed their babies formula.  In fact, most lactivists don’t either.  We feel sad, because you may have been boobie-trapped, or couldn’t breastfeed because of circumstances in your life that led you to the decision to feed your baby bottles instead of boobies.  We think breastmilk is awesome. But we don’t hate you or think you are evil.

We aren’t trying to “get” you at all, because unless you are interested in trying to re-lactate you are already past the stage where we can change your mind!  We are trying to reach the new mothers and pregnant women (and their partners) who haven’t yet had to make those choices.  We are trying to raise awareness in these people so hopefully they will take the time to research the matter further before deciding to formula feed.  It isn’t about your choice or your baby at all.  I promise.  It is about future babies that are not yet here.



9 Responses to Thoughts on Lactivism (a repost)

  1. I totally would have breastfed longer if I didn’t have to go back to work. I did sorta resent my doctor for insisting on supplementing with formula so ardently. I was perfectly fine with not shelling out gobs of money for chemicals. :p My mother did have no supply but wanted to breast feed. She thought it was awesome that I made the choice to do it. :)

  2. Things said to me by lactivists:

    “You just didn’t TRY hard enough.”
    “It would have been better for your baby if he had never been born, since you won’t breastfeed.”
    “You should give your baby up for adoption to a mother who can breastfeed.”
    “It doesn’t matter what you do with your baby now. Since you don’t breastfeed, you’re not an attachment parent. Just prop a bottle and walk away. You know that’s what you really want to do.”
    “If only you had known, me, you would have had a milk supply.”
    “Every mom can breastfeed. You never had your milk come in because you didn’t really WANT to breastfeed.”

    You’re the only “lactivist” I’ve ever met, online or off, who has been anything even sort of approaching non-judgmental.

    • OH MY F****** GODS. HUG HUG HUG

      I nursed my first until i returned to work. she was just 6months old. and then i fed her SOY formula. She has dairy allergies and now a soy allergy. My second i nursed until she was 14months and i got pregnant again. My 3rd is 18m and still nursing. I have gotten flack from both sides.

      1st kiddo i didnt try hard enough. I should not have chosen to work. (therefore choosing to be homeless but nursing?)

      2nd kiddo you are still nursing her thats gross. Dentist “her teeth will fall out if you continur to nurse her” from lactivists; you should have nursed through pregnancy, why didnt you start again when babe was born. You should have suffered through the discomfort.

      3rd…..mostly negative from family. What i am doing is disgusting or wrong. She will never eat real food. She has allergies (celiac) because you didnt make her eat baby cereal.

      So i can feel for you. It seems that both side have opinions and voice them without thought for a mothers love and doing the best she can for her babe.

      I feel that a mother does what she feels is best for her child AND herself. I would rather see a mother formula feed and snuggle her love while doing it than breastfeed and resent her babe for the pain, difficulties or what not. Mothers milk is designed for babes BUT i am glad there is formula for those who need an alternative way to nourish there littles.

      BTW i too HATE HATE HATE the way formula companies market. i find it disgusting actually.

    • i would just pump a few bottles and then feed baby bletotd breastmilk at night. formula will keep your baby alive but it is not healthy for a baby, so if you can breastfeed and get away from it stay away from it, besides your milk tastes good and formula is gross so the chances your baby will take formula at night aren’t very good. I will tell you though that it is really easy to snuggle baby in bed and lay your boob out and the baby will learn to latch on by itself and you can just roll over and switch when your other breast gets heavy. It is so easy. I have done this with 4 children and no one has ever had to get up with the baby. Once the baby doesnt need to eat at night, we put the baby to bed it his/her own crib. Daddy can take his turn feeding breastmilk out of a bottle during the day and I think that you will find that if you do NOT supplement with a bottle that you will have plenty of milk, however, if you supplement you will start having problems keeping up, especially in the beginning. Dr.s and WIC dont suggest you pump until baby is 6weeks old and your milk supply have been established. If you need more information, check out, Lalecheleague.org. Goodluck and Congratulations on choosing the best for your baby!

  3. I really appreciate what you do. I wish that every mom would and could breastfeed, and I totally support doing all we can to make that come true. There are lactivists out there who are so frantic for “the cause” that they forget that the struggling mom in front of them is also a real, live person with feelings and not an inhuman monster who doesn’t really care about her baby. That hurts not only that one mom, but the cause, too. So lots of love to you for being compassionate both to those of us who tried our hardest and didn’t make it and those who didn’t or couldn’t breastfeed for a host of social, economic, and psychological reasons.

    • I’m sorry that you’re one of those moms who has been given a hard time about not BF’ing. That said, I’ve often thought Joni must be a closet LIBRA, because she is … so totally balanced! And I’m half LIBRA myself! LOL.

  4. Hey Joni – did you see this?


    “Allopathic medicine was at war with natural birth and childrearing for much of the last century, but the battles were most intense over breastfeeding. Natural infant feeding started a comeback in the 1970s with increasing support from doctors (Wolf, 2003) but then along came AIDS. All of a sudden, millions of women around the world had suspect breasts again, supposedly teeming with deadly viruses, and the life-giving act of nursing their own baby was viewed as deadly. Now we know that there was indeed a slaughter, but it was not the mothers of the world who were responsible.”

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