Thursday, September 07, 2006

I Like Bottles

(Disclaimer: There have been many posts lately that have far surpassed this blog in general meanity, so clearly, I have to step up. Do remember why you're reading this blog in the first place, if this offends you too much.)

Over at Twisty's place, there's a great post where she exhales some carbon dioxide on the whole "breastfeeding women should only breastfeed in public toilets, lest someone see a booby in a NON-SEXUAL context." High fives from Edith, as this couldn't be more annoying to her.

But what do you know, the utterly typical happens: it becomes a thread about how much better breastfeeding is for infants and how mothers who bottle-feed are putting their babies at a serious disadvantage. And one poster even says, more or less, forget the woman's "choice," WE HAVE TO THINK OF THE BABY!!!!!

So, here's a hearty FUCK THAT.

Bottle-feeding your infant is, guess what? FINE. It's FINE. When did it become oh-so-feminist anyway to, you know, turn your back on the segment of the population that has to bottle-feed (i.e., the working class, the disabled, the women who have shit to do and/or don't feel like being guilt-tripped into doing something that is perhaps painful and difficult for them when there is a PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE alternative) their infant?

This reminds me of another similar breeder-specific hysteria, the "don't have kids when you're old" genre. Because there are studies!!! You know, that say that's bad!!! Your kid could have autism!!! Or like, more earaches!! OMG!! You're 29-years-old?! You better have a kid now or not at all, because it's just not fair to your future child!!! THINK ABOUT IT!!

I have expressed displeasure at the strain of feminism that embraces the typical feminine virtues of "being at one with nature" and generally the typical patriarchal judgment on those people who choose the "unnatural" in the forms of: taking pills to minimize the number of periods a woman has, taking psychiatric medication instead of merely relying on meditation, giving birth in a hospital instead of with a midwife because they fear complications, etc. But let's be real: I will criticize the bio-medical model all day long. But seriously, I wonder why we are all for it when it backs up our dubious prejudices towards breastfeeding versus bottle-feeding, but all against it when it backs up psychiatric medication for children? You know what I call that? I call that selectively using science to justify your bigotry. And I call that pathetic, and disappointing, as well as being unfeminist.

On a lighter note, check out some info on male breastfeeding, which is totally biologically possible, in the form of this obnoxious Guardian article. This may be the best news you've heard all day, if you didn't know about this before. I know it was for me.


Blogger alyx said...

Read the article before. Loved it.

You know what? I call that selectively using science to justify your bigotry. And I call that pathetic, and disappointing, as well as being unfeminist.

Rock the fuck on, e. :P

1:57 AM  
Blogger alyx said...

Should clarify: "Loved it" = found it hilarious.

2:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha! As of this morning, I have some thoughts on the subject. I noticed a sign at the Children With Special Healthcare Needs State Dept. of Health office today that read, "Please feel free to breastfeed your child anywhere. If you would like a more private place, just ask and we will accomodate you." First it startled me, and I wondered if that was ok. All right, I thought, I have no problem with it. Then it made me wonder about all of the people who react to public breastfeeding strongly. What really bothers them, anyway?

Then, when my psychologist mentor arrived, he told me how his son has been torturing him every night with trouble sleeping in his own bed. I told him that I have a friend with a two-month-old who cannot get him to sleep at all at night, not even for an hour or two like he does during the day. He told me she could try formula because it sticks in babies' stomachs longer, and a co-worker said, "Well it sticks in their stomachs because it's harder to digest."
"You're not a breastfeeding nazi are you?" he replied.
"No, I get tired of breastfeeding nazis too," she said.
"Are you sure you're not a breastfeeding nazi? Because that sounded like a negative comment about formula being more difficult to digest."
"It wasn't meant to be negative, just explaining."

As I begin to spread my feminist wings and read more ideas by and for feminists, especially the most recent information online, I marvel at the number of ridiculously insignificant details that become conflicts among intelligent, competent women. It makes me want to say Come on, everybody! We're radical, with all sorts of crazy ideas! Let's get back to our common goal, taking our power back! Making women's lives better! Who gives a hoot about what another woman chooses works best for her and her child? Or even just for her because she --gulp-- has no children? Get over it, we've got a revolution on our hands!

Geez louise.


5:16 PM  
Blogger sailorman said...

The whole breastfeeding-nazi thing seems to conveniently ignore the many OTHER ways in which a parent's happiness and health can affect their child. Yes, breast milk is great stuff. But let's face it: Nursing sucks--drum roll please--for the mom in many ways. (My wife nursed all three of ours, as did all my friends; I've seen a lot of it.)

The issue people ignore is that PARENTAL HAPPINESS has a huge effect on the long term health of the child as well. A mother who is unhappy breast feeding is more likely to resent her child than one who is not. A mother who is staggering around from sleep deprivation is less likely to catch another medical issue; less likely to read her 4 year old a book; more likely to snap at her other kids and spouse; less likely to be part of an otherwise happy and stable household.

So of course breast milk is healthier. But the decision as to whether nursing is better for her and her family OVERALL is something that can only be determined by the mother and father, in the context of their own parental life.

7:01 AM  
Blogger simply wondered said...

you aren't gonna win -

Want to control your own fertility?
Oh you naugty women! God and the men want you to have babies....

Decide you want babies?
Oh we're all going to have to tut about how you do it....
blah blah blah
Yes breast feeding is good (hear the tuts if you do it too publicly - oh my god that woman has her breast out and it isn't even meant to be titillating. That sort of thing is only for those magazines.)
But it's your child and presumably your choice.

I do fall into the same thing myself over smoking cos I'm a smoke Nazi - sorry; we all have our fascist bit...

6:55 AM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

My experience of the breastfeeding in public question (or in general) has alwaysbeen the opposite - it seems people are coming out of the woodwork to discredit "lacto nazis" and "I was formula fed and I am fine" even when the merits of breastfeeding are not what is up for discussion. The fact is, that no bottle feeding parent has ever been arrested, ticketed, removed from a plane like a suspected terrorist, had custody of their child(ren) revoked for their parenting choice, yet these results happen to breastfeeding mothers still to this day. The status quo is bottle feeding, no matter what lip service the AAP or CDC might give that "breast is best". I think the real problem is that science does indeed point to the inferiority of bottle feeding, yet society doesn't want to do a damn thing to help mothers nurse their babies - an act which benefits the mothers health as much as the babies by a greatly reduced risk of breast and other cancers and greater bone density. I don't think the bottle is being oppressed here, or in any danger of being oppressed but sometimes truth is under the guise of "respecting everyone's choices as long as its the status quo choice".

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, but formula is not fine or acceptable. You need to do more research.

5:22 AM  
Anonymous Jane said...

Funny isn't it? Women who bottle feed are usually very respectful of women who breastfeed, it being about choice an' all. But the Breastfeeding Gestapo, (see Anonymous) above have this 'My Way or Else' attitude.

The thing about feminist breastfeeding afficianados, is while they don't use the word 'selfish' which is the stick used to beat formula feeding witches, instead they do the Saintly Condescension route. Poor old us - we're victims of the patriarchy don't you know? We bottle feed because we're being fed a line by Nestle, instead of trusting to our womynhood. Well don't feel sorry for me. I bottle fed my two children and they're both happy and healthy. I respect your choice to breastfeed. Just don't force it down my throat.

6:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, you really are so uninformed and uneducated! Why should women be tied to corporations and their marketing, there is nothing feminist about that. Facts are breastfeeding is easier (yes really! If it's not YOUR DOING IT WRONG) and more healthy for both baby AND mother. Spending all your time washing and sterilising bottles, paying money to corporations for plastic bottles and milk from a whole other species...nout feminist about that either. If you have "shit to do" why not try not bothering having a baby.

12:20 PM  
Anonymous yougottabekidding said...

Oh well, four years late to the argument, but hell, better late than never. Anonymous has proven the point of the articles author. An intelligent post is written on how the argument on a womens right to choose will invariably lead to a breast vs bottle debate and within 6 comments she is proven to be correct.

As a side note, I would like to point out that breastfeeding is not easy, that is why lactation consultants exist. I think YOU might be the one who needs to educate yourself.

The insinuation that the mother is doing something wrong because it does not come easily or naturally is disgusting, as is your statement that women who have "shit to do" shouldn't bother having babies. You seem to imply that the only people who should bother with motherhood are stay at home mothers being financially supported by their husbands. How very modern and feminist of you.

The New Victorians ride again

6:36 AM  
Anonymous Kenzie said...

Speaking as a 21 year old female without children....

I work for a company that distributes breastfeeding and maternity products. Over the course of 9 months I've learned far more than I ever expected to know. I really enjoy this article because in my line of work most of the articles are totally anti-bottle, anti-formula with absolutely no further discussion allowed. If you so much as look at a can of formula you are a TERRIBLE person to these people. I find societies like La Leche League abhorrent. Consider, anon, that sometimes a baby isn't always a persons intention. Accidents happen and some people roll with it. Some people are single mothers who cannot take time off from their shitty jobs to breastfeed a baby else they end up on welfare and stuck in a vicious cycle trying to get out. Maybe they love their child enough to continue working to support it's life because there isn't always a male in the picture. There is ALWAYS 2 sides to the story and sometimes pro-choice doesn't just refer to abotion clinics.

I realize that this is by no means a recent debate but if anyone wants to directly reply to me you can find me at
I look forward to hearing your opinion regardless of what stance you take.

12:48 PM  

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