Even with research showing that breastfeeding is better for babies, there are instances of breastfeeding controversies—especially in the U.S. These controversies range from ‘inappropriate’ breastfeeding, breastfeeding in public and milk sharing.
Inappropriate, by definition, is not right or suited for some purpose or situation. By comparison, the WHO and other organizations recommend children are breastfed on demand as the child gets hungry and be the exclusive means of nutrition for children until they are 6 months old. These statements are contradictory when women are chastised for feeding their children in public.
We invite you to continue reading to learn more about 3 of the most common breastfeeding controversies.
- Breastfeeding in Public
In recent decades, breastfeeding has become more popular; thus, this rise in popularity has created a ‘grassroots’ movement surrounding a woman’s right to breastfeed. Even with the push to increase the number of women breastfeeding—especially in the United States—women have been receiving flack for feeding their children in public.Today’s electronic age has only helped to add fuel to the flames as stories of women being asked to cover up or leave stores have flooded the internet. Whether it was the mother who had her request to feed her child in the fitting room of a Victoria’s Secret (after buying $150 worth of underwear no less) denied or the woman who was chastised by a judge when she began to feed her child in a court room, it begs the question: what is the real issue behind the controversy?
- Extended BreastfeedingMost people had never heard of extended breastfeeding until the May 21, 2012 issue of Time Magazine released. The cover showed a photograph of a mother breastfeeding her three year old son who is standing on a step ladder to reach her breast. This one photo not only peaked interest in the idea of extended breastfeeding (and through it the idea of attachment parenting) but sparked outrage over the idea of women breastfeeding their children for such an extended period of time.
- Milk Sharing
A growing trend is the ideas of milk sharing and milk banking. With the growing push to ensure that babies are fed breast milk, thoughts are being turned to those babies who would not have access to a mother’s breast milk: adopted babies and babies of mothers unable to produce a sufficient milk supply. In some areas, there are now milk banks where mothers can donate extra expressed milk. These donations go through a rigorous screening process (checking for diseases like HIV or hepatitis) and the mothers must adhere to a strict lifestyle of no smoking or drinking. Some mothers even go a step further and practice cross-nursing—splitting breastfeeding duties with another mother and her baby.
Women will always breastfeed their children: regardless of the controversy that may surround it. Having said that, breastfeeding is in no way a lewd act and should not be treated as such.
Further information about breastfeeding, pregnancy and other women’s issues can be found by visiting our learning center or by scheduling an appointment with a Gainesville-based pregnancy physician (https://www.allaboutwomenmd.com/obstetrics.html) at All About Women today.