Nine Honey claims to be the leading women’s website. If this is what is leading women, I have just one thing to say: Astray!
These two articles (above) caught my attention over the weekend (July 2019).
The first ‘explores’ the dangers of breastmilk sharing.
It does not address the commodification of women or the awesomeness of women, women were irrelevant in the article. The article suggested that woman were either prepared to withhold details in order to exploit other women to buy their milk, or indeed were prepared to donate milk maliciously.
Or was nine honey suggesting that women were too stupid to consider the source of the milk?
The article refers to the ‘breast is best’ campaign – a campaign that was launched by formula companies.
What is most concerning about this article is that the GP who puts their name to it is a specialist in ‘women’s health’ but not lactation. If she is, it is not highlighted. She is clearly ignorant of many of the issues around breastfeeding. The need for support is the most important point.
What’s worse is offering them “options” or “solutions” that are unregulated and potentially very unsafe.
Because the only place to get information is from an Authority (say, a Doctor, who is not lactation qualified), and women clearly need to be regulated. They are clearly unable to determine what is safe, or what risks they are comfortable with. Because balancing up the risks of donor milk with expensive formula that will impact their breastfeeding goals negatively, and impact the baby’s gut health and possibly lead to mental health concerns related to her guilt over using formula (as opposed to the guilt of not breastfeeding).
And to highlight her closing remark:
As I say to new mothers on a daily basis, all we want is a well-fed, healthy, growing baby and a sane mum. If a bottle of formula is the only thing that is going to make that happen, go for it.
Why not end this with If donor milk, from another woman who is known to the mother is the only way to make that happen, go for it.
If this GP is so concerned about the health of mothers, and their babies, then she should know about the risks of artificial baby milk. That it is not just a matter of buying a tin and following the instructions. There is added work, added cost and then the gut issues of baby to consider. That and The Fact that breastfeeding is about so much more than just the food, and that mothers need support – as the authors goes on to condescendingly conclude:
We need to be giving them information and safe advice, not preying on their vulnerability, and we need to be telling them that whatever their feeding choice – they are doing a great job.
It is not about choice (which is apparently different to “options” and “solutions”). Or doing a ‘Great Job”.
Society has failed Mothers by expecting them to do it all. By implying they should not ask for help. And belittling the dedication to normal baby feeding, and all the other aspects that go with breastfeeding.
If this GP author is so concerned about women knowing all the risks, she might also have pointed out that the exploitation of women willing to donate, or seeking to make some money, can come from MEN – not just women. There are cases of men with fetishes or other needs seeking to buy milk, and not for a baby.
The truth is, Wet Nursing is not new, it has just been extended to include pumps and bottles, and in some cases the exploitation of altruistic women.
The second article looked at advice, and the best advice that came from a non-parent. This advice was dismissive: “They’re just kids” (which is technically four words).
I say this advice is dismissive because the pastor-friend overlooked the frazzled Mother. The story did not specify whether or not the non-parent visitor cleaned up the mess or entertained the ‘just kids’ whilst the mother focused on feeding and settling the baby. Nor did the story look at whether or not this paster-friend sat down with the Mother to check in with her.
Instead, the story reads as if the Mother was put firmly back in her place. Instructed to not catastrophise her simple, even privileged, life because workers have important things to stress over.
It reminded me of the 1950s advice:
So it seems that in 2019, everything that was old is new again.
Clearly I am delighted, and am hip to the jive.