I was quoted in one of our local news papers, the Journal News, when I was a participant in the Global Breastfeeding Challenge on October 3, and the writer did such a terrible job with the article that I had to write a Letter to the Editor.
There were several things wrong with the article, but they told me in no uncertain terms that they would not write a correction and therefore I had to limit myself to expressing what was most important to me. Here is what I wrote:
“…Breastfeeding is what nature intended, but it doesn’t come naturally to a lot of mothers. Most mothers struggle with it at first, and there are not enough resources and support for women who want to breastfeed. That is why raising awareness with events like the World Breastfeeding Challenge and having places like Full Circle Family Care is crucial. As a breastfeeding advocate who frequently writes about her experience with breastfeeding on my blog, Dagmar’s momsense, I work very hard to get the word out about all the wonderful benefits of breastfeeding and that nursing in public is normal. The last thing I want is for people to get the impression that breastfeeding isn’t natural. It’s the most natural thing in the world, and it needs to be promoted as the best choice for children’s and mothers’ health.”
I didn’t know that my letter to the editor had actually run until I got the sweetest postcard in the mail from a “76-year-old breastfeeder of three,” thanking me for being “such a valuable proponent of breastfeeding our babies” and my the letter to the editor.
So today I tracked down my letter via the paper’s website. The paper changed my wording around a bit to make sure it doesn’t come across like they reported something untrue, but what caught my eye was a discussion between two women who left comments about my letter on the website.
One woman thought breastfeeding in public is “a personal experience that should be done in private.” The other woman chimed in and in the end things like “if you think the perverts who walk around us aren’t looking for opportunities to exploit and satisfy their personal demons, you’re from another planet” were written. Huh? As the other woman pointed out, breastfeeding “is not about sex”! Or demons, for that matter!
So I just had to chime in again. I responded:
“Nursing in public or in private is normal. In what world do we live that mothers have to justify feeding their children? Why is bottle feeding accepted in public and breastfeeding isn’t? In the whole three years I have been breastfeeding my child in public, no one has ever seen my breast, if that is what this is about. And even if someone did, who cares? I am feeding my child! My son has as much right as any other child to be fed on demand.
Now that he is almost three, we hardly ever breastfeed in public anymore, but you bet that I would let him if he wanted to and I could not get him interested in other food at that moment. I hope to encourage other moms to breastfeed, and I write about its health benefits on my blog all the time (http://DagmarBleasdale.com). It is sad that some people want to attach such negativity to something as beautiful as breastfeeding. When did something so natural become something mothers are made to feel ashamed about?”
I could have gone on and on, but I was limited by the number of characters the paper allows for comments on the Internet. What is wrong with people? Why does breastfeeding incur such negative feelings? Why do people have such an aversion to seeing a mother breastfeed her child? I don’t get it.
Have the formula companies brainwashed our society so much that we forget that the purpose of breasts is breastfeeding?!
I would love to read your comments.