Aliska - posted on 06/29/2010 ( 74 moms have responded )
I’m interested to know why breast-feeding is treated differently to other child care/health issues by the general public and mothers in particular.
If research shows that something is better than something else in regard to children we are quick to legislate or at least run extensive public information campaigns promoting the better practice.
Things that spring to mind, these are Australian examples so may not apply to all, include legislation that all babies and toddlers must be restrained in an approved car-seat when travelling by car as research has shown that they are safer in an accident than if unrestrained.
Proposed legislation that bans parents/adults smoking in cars and other confined spaces when children are present as research shows that passive smoking is detrimental to a child’s health.
The extensive public education campaigns (not legislation) advising how babies should be put to sleep in order to avoid Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and to have children immunised against common childhood diseases.
None of these and the million other examples out there generate the strong public debate and opinion like breastfeeding campaigns do. For example in regard to passive smoking and children we don’t try to spare smoking parents’ feelings. We actively try to make them feel guilty so they give up or at least stop smoking around their child. No-one says that because it can be so hard to give up we shouldn’t make parents feel guilty about smoking around their children and try to change their behaviour. We don’t say that approved child restraints are expensive and are an unfair burden on low-income parents so we shouldn’t force them to buy one etc
Yet when there is a campaign promoting breast-feeding there is often an outcry from the public that it is unfair on all those mothers that can’t/don’t breastfeed, that the benefits of breastfeeding shouldn’t be overly promoted as it makes non-breastfeeding mothers feel guilty, hurts their feelings, stirs up their feelings of regret of not being able to breastfeed etc.
Breastfeeding is the only issue that I’ve noticed that the feelings/desires of the parents have equal or more weight than the benefits to the child in the public debate. I was wondering why this might be so and what your thoughts on this are.....