Monday, February 14, 2011

In response to a comment

I recently got a comment on one of my breast feeding posts that made me think. It was from a friend of mine, with whom I would like to stay friends, and it basically said that both she and her husband were formula fed and they're all right, and their daughter was formula fed and she's fine. (For the record, I don't doubt that any of them are fine.) And it said that breast feeding's not for everyone and that formula was good enough for her daughter. My first instinct was to reply with "Oh I totally get what you're saying and you're right," because that's how polite I am. But the fact is that I don't get it. And to stop short of saying she's not right, I don't happen to agree with all of her statements either.
Formula isn't, at its core, toxic. It can be, if the water it's mixed with is bad or if there's some problem in the manufacturing process, and those possibilities are part of my objections to it, but it is not toxic. A baby fed infant formula will turn out just fine. But, they will still not get everything that a baby fed breast milk gets. And I just cannot fathom how that is good enough for a baby. I understand if a parent doesn't realize the discrepancies, but not if they don't care. My mother was fed, exclusively, sweetened condensed milk. The kind that comes out of a can that you make fudge with. That's what she got in her bottles until she was old enough to be weaned onto whole milk, which was at about 9 months. It was the 40s and she was adopted, so that was what she got. And she grew. She lived and gained weight and met all of her milestones. So will a baby fed whole milk out of a gallon jug. But we don't feed whole milk, or even sweetened condensed milk, to babies because it is lacking in so much. What was good enough for my mother was NOT good enough for me, or for my kids. And I'm not sure, but I think it might actually be illegal to give a baby sweetened condensed milk.

Not everyone can breast feed. I freely admit that. But, while I know that it's a relatively common opinion, I cannot understand sexualizing my breasts to the point where I'd deprive my baby of their milk. There are a LOT of things that were good enough for me that aren't good enough for my kids, some because we know better now than they did back then. Smoking, going without a seat belt, carcinogenic sun burns, and baby formula. It's a parent's choice to make, but I just can't see making that choice. I don't propose that the choice be taken away from anyone; I just can't see going in that direction. And while my instinct will always be to apologize for offending and back down, my opinion won't change.

3 comments:

roberts05 said...

I totally agree. If you are at all able to breast feed, I believe you should. Why give something that is just "good enough" when you have something that is perfect for them? The benefits far outweigh any inconveniences and truly I found it much more convenient to breast feed. That is my two cents worth.

Heather said...

Charlie, I love you. I hope you know that. This debate changes nothing in our friendship. We are both extremely passionate about this topic, and I would like to respond to your post without you or I having any personal problems with one another. I'm sure that we are both mature enough to know that this is just a conversation.

Here's my response: What is provided to my daughter will always be the best that I can give to her. I'm positive that breastmilk is a better option for babies, however, I cannot always give the caviar of choices. I'm happy for women who feel that they can breastfeed. I am not one of those women (and it's not just because I consider it a fun zone). I should not be ostracized for making such a personal choice. I would never have an abortion, but I'm all for people making that decision for themselves. It's personal. I defy anyone that tells me I've never thought of what was best for my daughter in the circumstances at hand.

I will be more than happy to hear your reaction, but if you'd like for us to discontinue this conversation, I'm okay with that too. I will never allow some silly disagreement mess up our friendship.

Heather said...

I'd also like to say that I too agree that not everything that was good enough for me is good enough for my daughter. However, there are some things that do still fit into that category (umbrella stollers, wooden toys, fresh food from the garden, etc.). And, I did in fact provide filtered water with the formula. The thing is, when it comes to my body, I should have the final say and that should be accepted. There are many decisions that women make while pregnant that affect the baby. I can guarantee you that I did the best I could given my circumstances there too.