Opinions are a lot like arseholes: everyone has one and most of them are full of shit. Right now, it seems every man and his dog has an opinion on breastfeeding and they are keen to share those opinions.
Mothers opt to bottle feed for many reasons: sometimes they are unable to breastfeed no matter how hard they try, sometimes mothers get sick, sometimes babies are born early and are unable to feed, sometimes life is just so hectic that it’s too much to take on, sometimes it’s simply a choice … that woman’s choice, not the choice of some breast-is-best psycho who thinks everyone should follow their line of thinking.
And if a mother chooses to breastfeed, then that is her personal choice, too.
Yes, I know the La-La Land League (or whatever the hell the Boobs R Us outfit is called) reckon every woman is able to breastfeed and, god dammit, she should be forced to perform her diarying duties with a certain level of glee until her child is approaching puberty but sometimes real life gets in the way. They packed the shits over an anti-smoking ad that showed Piri Weepu bottle-feeding his six-month-old daughter and now that brief scene has been cut from the ad.
And there’s the mother in Manukau who says she’s hassled for buying formula in the supermarket and bottle-feeding her baby in public.
Oh sure, if producing milk was the one chore on a mum’s to-do list it would probably be a piece of cake, but these days mothers are more often than not working outside the home, they have other children, they get kicked out of hospital the day after popping out the munchkin … the list is endless.
Did you choose to breastfeed your baby? Well good on you. Did it go well? Again, good on you. Do you want a medal?
I support a mother’s right to breastfeed her baby, and to feed that baby in cafes and restaurants if need be. However, it is possible to be discrete (it was rather disconcerting when woman feeding her baby in a cafe I was at a few years ago just flopped both norks out at once and left poor old leftie just hanging there for all the world to see while bubs was having a feed on rightie).
However, I also support a mother’s right to NOT breastfeed.
And really, I think that as a nation we have much bigger things to worry about when it comes to the well-being of our children. Doing something about the appalling numbers of children being beaten to death in this country by parents, step-parents and other supposed caregivers would be a good start.