I wrote an article for Comediva last week about Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s new policies for Latch on NYC. This article was for a comedy website so I didn’t talk about all of my feelings regarding breastfeeding vs. formula feeding. Luckily, I have a blog.
I have gotten tons of nasty emails from people who think I am against breastfeeding which makes me wonder if they even read my article. I guess I would call myself pro-breastfeeding anti-guilt.
This is because I really, really, really wanted to breastfeed but I was not given the proper tools to do so like the hospital had promised. I delivered my daughter at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center and never once saw a lactation consultant. I was told this was because I had my daughter on a Friday afternoon. Once I had to give up breastfeeding I felt a tremendous amount of guilt because of the remarks I got from other people and all the adds I saw from the New York City Government promoting the “Breast is Best” campaign. I felt like a little ant who wanted to do her best for her baby but my anthill kept getting stepped on by people bigger than me. I cried to my therapist about how I felt small.
In the end I learned no one can make you feel small you are in control of how you feel so I went to therapy, started a blog, found my voice, and learned to speak up.
So in honor of this I would like to write a letter.
Dear Mike Bloomberg,
I feel your heart is in the right place but am afraid your actions won’t help. Anyone can spend a lot of money and cover the subways, streets, and billboards of NYC with adds promoting breastfeeding. All you have to do is write a check. It’s also easy to make formula harder to receive at the hospital and to tell new parents that breast is best. All you have to do is memorize words and repeat them. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work. I know from experience these techniques make moms who can’t or don’t wish to breastfeed feel guilty and preach to the choir of breastfeeding moms.
I know a much more useful way of using the taxpayers of New York’s hard earned money. Make sure every New York mother sees a lactation consultant in the hospital if she so chooses. The only way to learn how to breastfeed properly is to have someone actually help you breastfeed. Have lactation consultants do follow ups once the mom is out of the hospital. It would be helpful if all insurance plans covered this. Help working moms get long paid maternity leaves. And please take down the “Breast is Best” posters. We get it. Now what we need to do is make sure every mom gets the education she needs to breastfeed even if her baby is born on a Friday afternoon.
image via Comediva.com