Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Real Simple Breastfeeding Article Update:

I recently mentioned an article in Real Simple magazine which listed breastfeeding as a "time waster." Well they've gone to the trouble of publishing a response to the flurry of letters, calls and e-mails they've received. After reading it I have to wonder why they bothered. They actually say that
In no way are we suggesting that breast-feeding is a waste of time.

Umm, the article was about time wasters whose time had come and gone. By including it in such an article, aren't you implying it's a time waster?

Their response also states:
By saying that no great harm will come to your child if you are unable to breast-feed, Real Simple is not implying that it is better to forgo nursing. (In fact, in the article we clearly outline the benefits.) But not all mothers are able to nurse for the 12 months recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The advice in the article is intended for those women — women who sincerely want to do the right thing but are defeated by circumstance and subsequently saddled by guilt.

No one should ever feel guilty because they were unable or chose not to breastfeed. No one should ever be bullied, harassed or mercilessly egged on to breastfeed. But I find it sad that a person who had difficulty breastfeeding would find comfort in the idea that it is a waste of time. The short and sweet of it is, breastmilk is best. It is often worth investing the time to make it work. However, there are lots of reasons that breastfeeding doesn't work (medical, returning to work makes it difficult, etc). Some babies wean themselves before they reach their first birthday. In my opinion, it would be wrong to force a baby who has self-weaned. Every parent makes these decisions based on what works for her/his own family.

I'm simply disgusted with Real Simple's condescending response. I guess that Real Simple assumes it's readers are Real Idiots who will believe any half-baked explanation. And it still didn't acknowledge that the Doctor quoted in the article gets money from a company that makes baby formula. It's needless to say that the online community at Mothering was not satisfied with Real Simple's response.

Personally, I would have preferred a statement truly valuing both decisions and an admission that the information provided was inaccurate, or at least more complicated than could be adequately covered in a magazine called "Real Simple."

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