Regarding: “New Study
Confirms it: Breast-feeding Benefits Drastically Overstated” Article by Jessica Grose
Ms. Grose’s opens up space for mothers to make decisions about how to raise their children that best fits their lives, as opposed to following an over simplified doctrine from an outside source–an ironically disempowering concept. How to figure out what suites any particular mother or family comes up all the time in pregnancy and parenting. Many of us are well versed in the “camps” that have developed in parenting circles. We experience and/or witness others both identifying and/or struggling with various idealogical camps (i.e. the natural birth camp vs the medicated camp; the midwife camp vs the OB camp; the cry it out camp vs the co-sleeping camp; and the breast is best camp vs the bottle camp or formula camp….).
I wonder what it would be like if Ms. Grose had focused more on just how hard it is in our culture to feel supported as a new parent going through the right of passage of navigating the vast multitude of decisions each new family inevitably needs to, in a climate filled with judgement regarding the process of raising children. Instead, her focus was negative towards “the breast is best” camp. She misses the bigger picture with that focus. We should recognize the “breast is best” camp, was a movement born out of a climate of disempowering and unhealthy myths the formula industry disseminated regarding the benefits of formula feeding, playing down the health for mother and baby of breastfeeding. Historically speaking, the “breast-is-best” movement was a mother-led empowered reaction to the plethora of propaganda our society was fed in the latter decade of the 20th century and onwards.
I don’t think we need or should focus on minimizing this feminist movement. Why, as a feminist, should I spend my time criticizing my sisters, rather than looking at the bigger picture? I choose to use my powerful to consider what is culturally relevant and needed for mothers and their families today—nonjudgmental support. Let us focus on caring for one another as whole beings striving to do our best, rather than lick apart any one choice we make as parents on a given day or area of parenting.
Ms. Grose brings up a wonderfully important topic. Parenting is a process. Each of us has the power to spread love and support by focusing less on any one parent’s decisions and more on that parent’s process in decision making. So, the next time someone shares with you what choice they’ve made, try asking them about their process in making that decision, rather than actually focusing on whether the decision was “right” or “wrong”.
Let’s broaden our scope collectively