Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Just a note: What i say about breast-feeding in this blog is not meant to imply that my thoughts are completely one-sided. I am absolutely, totally aware that there are circumstances where it is not the best thing for the mother/baby, and is, at times, impossible. 

I went to a small conference on campus the other day called "Mama PhD," where a woman in her mid-40's spoke with us about her own personal story of being in school until she reached her thirties & her struggle to find herself in happiness afterwards. She talked a lot about how it is possible for a woman to juggle being a mother, & being a professor simultaneously, however, she noted that it was extremely difficult getting there, & along the way, she worried that her biological clock would run out by time she met the right man & was ready to have a baby after her many years of schooling had passed. Luckily for her, she met her now husband of four years & has a healthy little girl. She said she's crossing her fingers that her daughter does not take the same difficult path she did.
Prior to this meeting, i thought i had a few things figured out when it came to my academic life. Granted, I'm still not quite sure what path i am taking, but i was set on becoming a professor of some sort. I do realize that it is not necessarily going to take me twelve years to get there, but even so, it's going to be a lot of work a long the way...more work than i even want to put myself through before i am established in a family. I am in no way trying to plan out that aspect of my life, I want to take it as it comes, & it isn't that i lack motivation. I merely want to fulfill my life long desire of someday becoming a mother, first & foremost...& not a mother of 40 who is worrying that my child will come out with some sort of disease. So, I have ultimately decided that a four year study will, for now, suffice for my life and future.

On the subject of Momma' seems that the subject of breast-feeding has been popping up everywhere lately.  I often hear stories of women being shunned for breast-feeding in public. My mom told me yesterday as we talked about this subject, that people looked at her as if they were disgusted that she would be nourishing her infant in public. Really? It's disgusting? Are these same people disgusted when they see kittens nursing on their mother? Has it ever occurred to them that none of us would be here without breast-feeding-There was no such things as Enfamil & Similac when our ancestors were growing and prospering. I am so thankful to have a young mother who chose to breast-feed my sister & i, & was not at all ashamed to do it in public, as every woman should, and is of her own free-will to do so.
The idea of breasts as a sexual object has skewed all thoughts of breast-feeding being the reason we, as women, have breasts on our bodies. My anthropology teacher, a man of about thirty, is passionate about encouraging women to breast-feed. It's inspiring to see a young father like himself talk to a group of seventy or so young students in such a way. The woman who spoke at the conference also mentioned the subject, and referred to non breast-feeding women as the "non le leche people." As i read on a website, infant formulas often include such ingredients as "lecithin, carrageenan, and mono- and diglycerides which are added to ensure that the formula doesn't separate during shelf-life..."
So it comes down to this: 100% God-given breastmilk, or ingredients that most of us cannot even pronounce? 

I found this article on a blog:

"Use my picture if it will help" said this mother.  The children are twins, the bottle-fed child is a girl who died the day after this photograph was taken by UNICEF in Islamabad, Pakistan.  Her brother was breastfed and thrived.   The mother was incorrectly told she could not breastfeed both children.  This horrific picture demonstrates the risk of artificial infant feeding, particularly where water supplies are unsafe.  The expense of formula can lead to parents over-diluting it to make it last longer or using unsuitable milk powders or animal milks.  In all countries breastfeeding provides immunity against infections.  Despite these risks the baby food industry aggressively markets breastmilk substitutes encouraging mothers and health workers to favour artifical infant feeding over breastfeeding.  Such tactics break marketing standards adopted by the World Health Assembly. NestlĂ©, the world's largest food company, is found to be responsible for more violations than any other company and is the target of an international boycott.

SCN News May 1991

This picture tells two stories: most obviously, about the often fatal consequences of bottle-feeding; more profoundly, about the age-old bias in favour of the male. The child with the bottle is a girl - she died the next day. Her twin brother was breasfed. This woman was told by her mother-in-law that she didn't have enough milk for both her children, and so she should breastfeed the boy. But almost certainly she could have fed both her children herself, because the process of suckling induces the production of milk. However, even if she found that she could not produce sufficient milk - unlikly as that would be - a much better alternative to bottle-feeding would have been to find a wet-nurse. Ironically, this role has sometimes been taken by the grandmother. In most cultures, before the advent of bottle-feeding, wet-nursing was commomn practice.

The photograph on the cover is horrifying. Another baby girl dies unnecessarily. The department of child development, Government of India, with assistance from UNICEF, has produced a compelling account of the plight of the 'Lesser child'.

"In a culture that idolizes sons and dreads the birth of a daughter, to be born female comes perilously close of being born less than human. Today the rejection of the unwanted girl can begin even before her birth: prenatal sex determination tests followed by quick abortions eliminate thousands of female foetuses before they can become daughters. Those girls who manage to survive till birth and beyond find that the dice is heavily loaded against them in a world that denies them equal access to food, health, care, education, emmployment and simple human dignity.

"Born into indifference and reared on neglect, the girl child is caught in a web of cultural practices and prejudices that divest her of her individuality and mould her into a submissive self-sacrificing daughter and wife. Her labour ensures the survival and well-being of her family but robs her not only of her childhood but also of her right to be free of hunger, ignorance, disease and poverty.

A baby dies every 30 seconds from unsafe bottle feeding.

One and a half million babies die every year in poor countries because they are not breastfed.

It's a sad reality.


letstalkmodern said...

Tori, it is so exciting to see you becoming so passionate about so many things. I have been enjoying these posts lately, lady!

Oh- and Luke gave me an article to read about Afghani women and their advances as equals to men. It was really encouraging to see that despite so much negativity in the world, humans are able to see light & good. :)

Keeper of the Skies Wife said...

I'm glad you went to the conference and she helped you to make up your mind about your future. After talking with you about it I could tell that you were very serious about your decision.

On the breast know how I feel about this. When you explained the photo over the phone I imagined it better than that. It made me cry!! Just broke my heart! Breast is Best!

WheresMyAngels said...

First of all your absolutely beautiful. I have seen photo's on your mother blog and can't believe how lucky you are to have such great jeans. I am jealous.

Now, I have to add something that I feel strongly about. lol I don't look down at people whom bottle feed because some people cannot nurse. I was very upset when pregnant with my last child because I kept being told by books and online people and others that EVERYONE can nurse and that if you do it right, there is no reason you won't have enough milk. I know that this is not true. My mother ran out of milk when I was 3 months old and when my sister was only a few weeks old. My sisters son was only 1lb and 1 oz when he was born. She had to pump and after 3 months, she could no longer get anything out. I was fortunate to be able to breast feed my last child. I loved breast feeding her and wasn't happy to quit when she was a year old. My husband asked me too, because she would have nothing to do with him. Yes, he is very selfish!! lol But as soon as I quit, she did pay attention to him. But I do know alot of people who have tried and tried and things didn't work for them, so I feel bad when they read things that make them feel bad. My SIL wanted to Breast feed but she had to take 3 different blood pressure meds after the birth and it would also be in the milk.

Hope you aren't offended, I just wanted to offer another veiw.

Julie said...

Hi Tori, I came over from your mom's site, she said to come read your article.

I only have one other thing to add to what you wrote, I have two little boys and I tried so hard to breastfed, but never had enough milk. From the time I was still in the hospital for up to 2 months I sat every day feeding, pumping, and bottle feeding to make up for what I couldn't produce. I tired everything and did the above with my boys every 2 hours for 2 months. It didn't work for me. It is such a personal and difficult subject and I wish I could have breastfed but God did not let me for some reason. It is emotionally taxing and hard. I cried a lot with my first son wanting it to work so badly and with my second I was just so determined and my milk literally dried up with him and I was then again forced to give him formula. Mom's like me praise God for formula, otherwise I would have no idea how I would have been able to feed them.

I just wanted to share with you this part of women who use formula too. Granted I am not in a third world country where they are teaching people poorly and not educating them on safe water... I am just speaking from as a mom who desperately tried and couldn't. I had to use formula out of need. Just another perspective for when you see mom's feeding with formula... (and i am not anti Le Leche (not sure how to spell it... but for breastfeeding, just couldn't... not everything is so black and white sometimes...)

Julie said...

Tori thanks for commenting on my blog, I also think Jasper is adorable! I feel so blessed like your mom does with you girls... I am praying one day we have a girl, but we seem to make boys!

I just wanted to share another side, and I wasn't offended or anything and I pray you weren't either by my comment. It is so fun being in college and getting to absorb so much information. I miss it, my husband and I talk all the time about how we wish we could go back... maybe one day but not while we are in Hungary...

Have a great day!

Beths Blog said...

YOU GO TORI!!!! I love what you have to say about breast feeding, its truth! My dad used to always tell me, breast are made to feed their children not flaunt around for everyone to see. This would be after he saw women with the breasts being revealed in the way they dressed.
I love you picture on your blog, you are precious! Love, Ms Beth

dddiva said...

I came over from your mom's blog- you are a very beautiful and I can see from your post passionate young woman.
Others have already mentioned that it is not always advisable or even possible to breastfeed so I'll just say that I love that you care enough to share your opinions.
It is a tragedy that in some places females are considered lesser but it is not always or even not often lack of nourishment in formula that makes them fail to thrive. Maybe in the case of the pic on your blog it was, and maybe not... my oldest girls fiancee is from China and let's just say it is not uncommon.

Sandy Toes said...

That is so sad!
-Sandy Toes

Elise said...

I love reading all your blogs. This one really touched me. You know as well as I do Breast feeding is spoke highly of in our family. I think it's the best way to go for every child.

I breast fed all my kids... at home and in public. I seen the way people looked at me for feeding them but, I didn't care. It was my choice and I know it's the best one for my children. It keeps them healthier.

love you Tori, hope to see you soon.

Aubrey said...

What a powerful post!

I have had 3 kids and tried to breastfeed all of them. My husband was encouraging and supportive. Unfortunately, I wimped out after about 6-8 weeks with each of them. I am always amazed and in awe of the women who stick thru it (and it can be TOUGH at times) and breastfeed through at least the first year. I also think it is a shame that there people out there so offended by a breastfeeding mother in public. It's a beautiful thing!

Sarah said...

Hi Tori, this is a brilliantly written post on something I feel passionately about. The photograph and story you shared was heartbreaking. There is so much work to be done to restore the natural balance globally with regards breastfeeding (and a whole raft of other subjects!).

Both my children were born in New Zealand, where home birth is free and not frowned upon and breastfeeding is taken for granted in city cafes and public places.

After a very rough start to breastfeeding with my first daughter I ended up feeding her till she was beyond two. I'll never forget the day she simply kissed my breast and never asked for milk again or mentioned it. I was twenty week's pregnant with my second child at the time and think the milk must have changed.

Anyway, I'm now still breastfeeding my second daughter, who turns three on Boxing Day (only one or two times a day and mostly at night).

Both my daughters are exceedingly bright, confident and well adjusted. The close attachment they experienced (and continue to feel) with my husband and I has given them the inner confidence to go forth with independence and strong personalities in their own right. I'm so enjoying this parenting journey! And I am eternally grateful for the support of my midwife, husband and a lactation consultant - without which I never would have succeeded in breastfeeding.

Sorry to go on.... you might like to read something I wrote on Gather a while back.

Great post!

Sarah x

jodi said...

beautiful post. I'm still breastfeeding Ché - what a gift.
I found this the other day - i think it will make you smile