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!
- Dionna at Code Name: Mama has come up with 40 ways that family, friends, coworkers and employers can support mothers who pump breastmilk, along with a ton of resources for you and the pumping mom in your life. There are also some fun graphics you can print and pass out, with 70% of all proceeds going to buy pumps for moms in domestic violence shelters!
- Destany at They Are All of Me writes about ten common breastfeeding myths that scare women out of breastfeeding.
- Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses how her diet wasn’t WAPF perfect, but she still breastfed a perfectly healthy baby.
- Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry is passionate about breastfeeding, here are her 101 reasons why!
- Kelly at Becoming Crunchy discusses the question of whether you should still nurse – even if your diet isn’t ‘right’.
- Jorje of Momma Jorje has enough pressure in her life, she is glad she doesn’t have to worry about what, when and how much food she feeds her son since he is also still nursing.
- Angela at EarthMamas World discusses a few of the most common problems that a mama may encounter while breastfeeding. Angela also shares natural remedies for each of these breastfeeding problems!
- That Mama Gretchen reflects on the beautiful bond breastfeeding has created as her two children have transitioned from their womb experience to their earth side one.
- Julia at A Little Bit of All of It shares ways breastfeeding and breastmilk are unique and special in a way only they can be.
- Amy W. at Natural Parents Network shares 5 scientific reasons that mother’s milk is an unequaled form of nutrition and nurture: so awesome, and so unique!
- Laura at Authentic Parenting shares solid information on iron intake for the breastfed baby.
- Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares the questions (and answers) about breastfeeding she wished she had a friend to answer for her before becoming a mama.
- Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter choose to breastfeed her children in part because it’s easier than bottle feeding, not to mention that it is the best nutrition for babies, that it has health benefits for both mother and child, that it encourages bonding, and of course that it’s free! Basically breastmilk is the ultimate convenience food.
- KerryAnn at Cooking Traditional Foods shares how the rush to recommend raw milk formula actually harms mothers.
- Starlene at GAPS Diet Journey shares her experience with nursing and why she feels it is an important piece of the your baby’s health.
- At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy draws a connection between how formula companies market and how women are treated by society.
- Amy at Anktangle outlines a few of the many ways breastfeeding benefits both mom and child—aside from providing excellent nutrition.
- Adrienne at Whole New Mom shares Part One and Part Two of 100 Reasons Why Breast Is Best.
- Dawn at Cultured Mama shares her personal breastfeeding journey and how she overcame low supply issues and successfully tandemed nursed with only one breast.