Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Studies and judging

I came across this article recently -- Study: Breast-Feeding Improves Academic Performance, Especially for Boys. Among other things, it says:
In the latest analysis of the academic performance of children who were breast- or bottle-fed, researchers found that breast-fed babies scored higher on tests of math, reading and writing skills at 10 years old, compared with those who were bottle-fed as babies.
While I think that's great news for women who breastfed, breastfeed or plan to breastfeed, I also think it's another way to make women who didn't -- or couldn't -- breastfeed feel really damn guilty about it. It's not as if you're going to start breastfeeding your second-grader based on this study.
I have read that there's not a lot of support for women who choose to breastfeed. And although I haven't had the experience yet myself, it seems there's a lot more guilt laid on women who choose not to breastfeed -- even those who, for whatever reason, physically cannot breastfeed their babies.

I find it interesting that so many people have such strong opinions about what other people do. Sure, I'll admit I find it strange that someone will breastfeed a child that can walk and talk and has a full set of teeth. But maybe that's what works for them. And maybe that kid will end up at Harvard. Regardless , it's certainly not my place to say.

But it just goes to show how we judge. We judge women who don't breastfeed. We judge women who breastfeed "too long." We judge a woman who will have the temerity to breastfeed in public. We judge and judge and judge. And yes, I've been guilty of it at times. I think we all have. In fact, there are apparently some folks who have expressed the opinion that breastfeeding for at least six months should be the law.

I have to admit, even though I know it's the most natural thing in the world, I find breastfeeding a bit squicky. That said, I still plan to breastfeed my baby. If I can. And I'll do it in public if I have to. I'll be like the guy in "Green Eggs And Ham."

I will do what is best for me and my child. And I will try really hard not to let all the noise from the outside world interfere with my decision.

1 comment:

  1. You go, girl, ... er, I mean mama! I wasn't so hot at it with the first, barely tried with the second, did great with the third then found out I had to go back to work, quit nursing ... and was laid off two days after I was totally dried up. Do what feels right for you and Tommy. :o)