What Time article you ask? It's not the one with the cover of the 3-year old breastfeeding his mother standing up. It's this one, "Is the Medical Community Failing Breastfeeding Moms?" Anyone in breastfeeding advocacy could answer that question. I call it a rhetorical question. The Medical Community has been failing breastfeeding mothers for years and will probably do so into the future. Hey, come on, is breastfeeding a medical condition? Is childbirth a medical condition? If ya believe that childbirth is a medical condition in need of fixing then of course breastfeeding is a medical condition in need of fixing. Funny how when the medical community bullied their way into dictating childbirth, the c-section rate went through the roof. So I find it eye-opening that docs who have the required human lactation training (note we aren't talking about breastfeeding training; words are important in reading the media), are stating that "as many as five percent of all women have medical conditions that prevent or seriously hinder lactation." I guess this article banks on some people having significant memory loss. Back 30 years ago, when I was a breastfeeding mother that percentage was 2%. So like childbirth that has been medicalized and suddenly women can't give birth anymore, medicalization of breastfeeding has changed so that women can't breastfeed anymore.
Let's look at some of the statements made by the author, Lisa Selin Davis. She is an excellent writer, by the way, having written articles and won awards for writing about real estate and various issues like parenting. I love the statement, "well-meaning lactation consultants urge them to try harder..." Yeah, if I was still a lactation consultant I wouldn't be so pleased about this comment. That sentence goes on to say,"...while doctors might advise them simply give up and go the bottle-and-formula route." Hm, let's grade this clinical trial, docs 10, ibclcs 1.
"...but the truth is that breast-feeding is very difficult for many women." Yes I do believe that psychologically we have just been given the stab in the back. Is breastfeeding the difficulty or is it a society that creates those difficulties? Is breastfeeding a totally physical function or is there enormous social and psychological issues in our culture (along with the ever-present infant formula marketing) that predispose breastfeeding "failure." Oh wait, lets get the terms correct, lactation failure.
Last quote that makes my day, "Perhaps most importantly, we need to stop demonizing mothers who can't breastfeed, guilting them into starving their kids with insufficient milk supplies rather than supplementing with formula."
Yes, you-you, IBCLCS are creating guilt in mothers. I never heard of an IBCLC doing that except in PR articles and blogs that I suspect were paid for by the infant formula industry. So we are going to perpetuate the myth that it is IBCLCs who are browbeating mothers? Let me see but the Doc who is an IBCLC doesn't do this because they will prescribe infant formula for insufficient milk supplies?
Hm...you know I think that IBCLCs instead of applauding this article might consider asking who paid for this article? Or who wanted this PR, because this is absolutely what this article is...public relations. Let's get more docs to be IBCLCs because according to this article they will take the time to visually inspect breasts (yes you can produce, no you can't-you are the 5% oh wait next year it will be the 10% who can't breastfeed). Oh wait, I think all the IBCLCs I know actually do look at breasts and do medical histories. But you wouldn't know this by this article.
I understand why I am no longer an IBCLC. Reading the comments by other IBCLCs who think this article is so-so wonderful, is totally baffling. The medicalization of breastfeeding will most certainly screw breastfeeding, just like the medicalization of childbirth has created our soaring c-section rates. This article is PR, big time. There are wonderful doctors who support and help breastfeeding mothers. But if the theme from the medical community becomes that breastfeeding is very difficult, then that is what we will build a nation full of women having a difficult time breastfeeding. The percentage of women unable to breastfeed will increase because breastfeeding is a confidence game. Breastfeeding is more than a product decision, human milk vs. infant formula, its about how society cares for mothers and babies. And our society doesn't much care for women or babies and certainly not together. Insufficent milk syndrome is the infant formula calling card. It is played and a replayed theme in the media and in this particular article. Where are we going?
Copyright 2013 Valerie W. McClain