The Perfect Baby Blog

The breastfeeding guilt-trip irks a certain mommy!

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

COMPETITIVE NURSING: USA (left) takes on Romania (right).

COMPETITIVE NURSING: USA (left) takes on Romania (right).

Friend of PBH Lynn Harris (rhymes with “hilarious”) reports with uncharacteristic sobriety on the ongoing “bottle or breast” debate over on “Anyone remember the 2005 public health campaign comparing not breast-feeding to riding a mechanical bull while pregnant?” she asks.

If breast is indeed best, then breast-feeding advocates would do well to stop calling formula “poison” and rhapsodizing about “bonding” and warning of the so-called “risks” of not breast-feeding.

Lynn is one of the women who shared their insights into the unnecessarily melodramatic nursing issue with me for a piece in The Perfect Baby Handbook called “Competitive Breastfeeding: Seven Ways to Nourish with Distinction.” It begins thus:

According to conventional wisdom, a woman must nurse her infant to be a superior mother. What nonsense, insisted a leading medical group in a recent public statement: “We, the American League of Pediatrics would like to clarify. It is not necessary to breastfeed to be a superior mother; it’s necessary to breastfeed spectacularly. Go, moms, go! Be aggressive! Be aggressive! B-e-a-g-g-r-e-s-s-i-v-e!

Given such calls to action, it’s no wonder certain women nurse as if they’re trying to one-up each other. Even if you opt out of this lively dynamic, you may want to familiarize yourself with the key areas of competition:

Most Spiritual Experience: Moms who excel here call up busy friends while nursing to announce they’re reached nirvana, only to become so overwhelmed by the “breastfeeding high” that they “can’t quite talk…just now. Sorry.” For bonus points, they comfort others who are not so blessed: “It’s not your fault, Katherine. Your hormones must be underachieving. Have you had your oxytocin levels checked?”

Most Arduous Ordeal: This title goes to the competitor who can most vividly describe surreal pain. For instance, Contestant A might say, “Breastfeeding is like having my nipples slammed in a dresser drawer,” only to be trumped by Contestant B: “How awful. For me, it’s more like being attacked by a very sweet and gifted king cobra.”

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