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Touching base (or, excuses and a Rant)

October 3, 2010

Yoiks, it’s been six days!  Well I’ve been busy, traveling to my grandmother’s funeral without the baby, and stressing over the resulting reduction in milk production.  Now I am turning around and traveling again, back to my hometown in IL for my 10th high school reunion, and so my baby can meet her grandpa!  The little spare time I’ve had was devoted to a few quick sewing projects.  Most of what I do leaves my mind relatively free to ponder the deep mysteries that arise throughout the day:

Why does the sound of a laundry basket being placed on carpet wake my baby up, but a shop vac running in the hallway does not?  Why does toast always land jelly side down?  How do I go to Target to buy kleenex, cat litter and batteries, and come home with this:

WHY?? At least it was only $1...

Today DH and I rode our bikes, with LM in a Burley Trailer, to an event that happened to be close by, the Global Breastfeeding Challenge.  The purpose of the Challenge is to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and to provide support for mothers who breastfeed.  I love the concept of it, but after the designated “latch on” was over, I was chatting with some of my mama friends, when a woman (not sure if she was a mother or not) approached us to offer some samples of Mary Kay products and to try to get our emails for her mailing list.  Now, I do not begrudge this woman her right to try to make money, but at that moment I felt a tremendous sense of irony…why should organizations and support groups and Global Challenges exist to raise awareness of something that is a basic biological function and, until less than a century ago, was pretty much essential to the survival of every human infant?  Why??  Because breastfeeding doesn’t make anybody any money.

There is no R+D department of an international chemical corporation involved.  There is no multilevel advertising campaign for why someone else’s breast milk is better than your breast milk and why you should switch.  No doctor can be a paid spokesperson for recommending a particular brand of breast milk.  Breast milk is perfect, sterile, conveniently and attractively packaged, and FREE.  Yes, there are times when formula is useful, but breastfeeding should be the natural, default choice for feeding an infant…not an ‘alternative’ choice made by those weird hippy-type mothers.

But we live in a culture driven by the need to profit.  So, just as this woman was trying to sample out her MK cosmetics to a captive audience of potential future customers, the formula companies send new mothers free samples with colorful brochures touting all the nutritional benefits of their products to the point that they sound healthier than breast milk.  ACK!  Why trust your own body to feed your baby, when it just spent nine months building that little baby and then laboring to bring it into the world??  Because no one gave you a colorful brochure with lots of bar graphs and pictures of smiling babies, telling you that your breast milk is all that your baby needs or wants. But that is the truth, even though no one stands to profit from it except your baby.  And that’s why people had to start organizations, support groups and Global Challenges, because a baby does not care for advertising, brochures or exaggerated nutritional claims. All that baby wants is you, momma.

*I am told that hospitals often feed babies formula without consent, and that they hand out formula samples, which the formula companies no doubt PAY the hospitals to sample out their particular brand.  Despite having a home birth, I STILL got a sample can of formula in the mail, and a few subsequent coupons from the same company.  I don’t know if it was the Social Security office or the County Recorder’s office that SOLD my personal information to that company, but hey, someone made a buck out of the deal so who cares if it was a government office that did it?  ACK!

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