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In Support of the Most Real Food There Is…

English: lactancia, breastfeeding

English: lactancia, breastfeeding (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On March 28, 2013, bloggers from around the world came together in a show of support for breastfeeding mothers. New mothers have enough challenges without having to feel guilty for how they feed their baby.

Over the last few days there have been a lot of heated debates, controversial posts, and social media outcry against the position that the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) takes on breastfeeding.

While they do present sound information on the ideal diet for breastfeeding mothers, they do so in a manner that brings about guilt, fear, and confusion.

I was particularly sorry to see many of my favourite ‘real food’ bloggers supporting this message through the support of The Village Green Network’s recent Healthy Life Summit, where blogger and spokesperson for the WAPF Sarah Pope presented a seminar entitled: Is Breast Always Best? (followed up by the answer – only if mother’s diet is nutritionally dense).

I want to emphasize that behind that messaging is not just the thought of a mother who survives on a diet of pepsi and doritos – but vegetarians, vegans, people who follow a middle of the road conventionally healthy diet – essentially anyone who does not follow the strict WAPF protocol of only traditional, real foods.

In fact, they believe that The diet of modern American women is so appalling, and their preparation for successful breastfeeding so lacking, that their breast milk provides no better nourishment for their infants than factory-made formula.

I questioned several of the bloggers involved in the promotion of this message on whether they agreed. Some simply claimed not to have heard Sarah’s presentation (even though they were advertising it). Several stated that they couldn’t understand why it was such a controversy and that the many questioning these claims from Sarah/WAPF are just overreacting.

To them, I posted the following on my Facebook page:

I am in tears right now because there are so many real food bloggers I have admired and looked up to who are either tacitly or openly in support of Sarah Pope’s messaging that a mother whose diet is not essentially perfect should be making homemade formula instead of nursing.

I gave my daughter a bottle at 10 days old. There were a multitude of issues both physical and emotional, and one of them was the idea that I wasn’t ‘healthy enough’ (and hence, good enough) to feed her. It added an even greater pall of discouragement to all I was struggling through, to the point that I just gave up. And while I in NO way judge moms who do not nurse and I do not feel I am a bad mother for not doing so, I still regret – and feel sad that I didn’t have the support that might have gotten us through that difficult and scary time.

So when I see bloggers of such great influence refusing to acknowledge that this is a problem or literally wondering why it is ‘controversial’ I just feel angry. And sad. And so very sorry for those moms looking to improve their diets for the health of themselves and their children who may now be hit in the face with this message – because you weren’t eating ‘right’ all along, you should give up breastfeeding – a message that is not only incorrect, but neglects all of the other benefits of nursing outside of nutrition alone.

One of the things about real food that has drawn me to the movement the most is its logic and simplicity – if a food is real, eat it. If it is full of chemicals and crap, don’t eat it. And now I ask what more real, super, amazing food can there be for a child than her mother’s milk, tailor made especially for that little one?

If you’re a real food blogger saying anything differently, I will no longer be following your words; as far as I’m concerned, they are tainted all the way through.

As a blogger who participated in the Breastfeeding Support Blog Party, neither I nor they are not trying to create a divide between mothers. We wanted to offer support, in the form of blog posts, as to why breastfeeding should always be the first choice both for baby and mama.

But I personally want to make it clear that as much as I do not wish to perpetuate any controversy or divisiveness, I will not be an advocate of blatant misrepresentation when it comes to an issue that is so very important.

What I am very grateful for are those many real foodists who have continued to support the message of the reality of the goodness of breastfeeding in spite of what appears to be quite a lot of pressure not to. I hope you take some time to read the posts that were written as part of the Blog Party. There are also over 140 posts linked up as part of this. Take some time to check them out here or link up your own breastfeeding support post!

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4 Responses to “In Support of the Most Real Food There Is…”

  • Jennifer says:

    so glad you’ve stood up for your beliefs but its too bad you lost some of the voices you’d considered peers. I hadn’t heard of the WAPF’s stand before this and it does seem quite appalling. I’m not sure why our culture has such trouble accepting breastfeeding – there are so many misconceptions and so much confusion. I was sad to hear of your own experience and your reasons why – when my daughter was born she tested positive for Cystic Fibrosis and the doctors insisted I stop nursing and put her on formula. I heard one tiny voice that breastfeeding helped her CF-afflicted child and refused. It turned (thankfully) that the test was a false-positive and she does not have CF. I was so happy for that one voice that gave me the strength to stick to my convictions – but it was a close call just the same.
    Jennifer recently posted..and kitty says kik-kik-kik

    • Kelly says:

      It’s amazing what a difference one small voice can make – toward a negative OR positive outcome! Glad yours turned out to be on the positive side. :)

  • Amanda says:

    No offence, but formula feeders get WAY MORE FLACK than breast feeders. I breastfed my daughter, bottle fed my son, and I was treated so badly by breastfeeding women for my choice to bottle feed.

    • Kelly says:

      No offense taken Amanda. :) I totally get that pressure and even just plain meanness that can come from the breastfeeding community – as a bottle feeder who considers herself to be part of the attachment parenting community, I had to make a conscious effort to surround myself by those who were not judgmental – and they are out there. I will not have anything to do with those who want to condemn me for feeding my daughter formula.

      But nor do I think it is acceptable to spread un-truths when I know from personal experience how hard it can be to breastfeed when you really want to, which is why I am calling out the WAPF and Sarah Pope in this post and others.

      I am sorry that you had to go through being treated badly for bottle feeding – no mom should have to be hurt that way and it’s no more excusable in the AP community than anywhere else. <3 to you!

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