This week there was another newspaper article about the battle between breast feeders and bottle feeders. The article wasn’t about which approach is best but the fact that the two sides just can’t get along. It’s hardly surprising they are apparently locked in a bitter civil war if the article’s characterisations are correct.
Breast Feeding Mums were painted as elitist parenting snobs bolstering their egos by reducing poor Formula Feeders to tears with tales of how their baby will inevitably develop life limiting health problems. Formula Feeders are both selfish and guilt ridden (an interesting combo) and so distraught about their choice to give formula (obviously just to allow them to party all night) that the sight of a baby being breast-fed can send them over the edge.
How ridiculous! Of course there are a few very vocal people on both sides of the argument but surely most of us have a more ‘live and let live’ approach. There used to be an important debate about the emerging evidence around the impact of our feeding choices. Now everyone has heard the arguments and made their decisions there’s not much left to say. But we still need to sell newspapers, right? So instead they go in for a bit of mummy baiting, ‘helpfully’ letting each side know what the other has been saying about them (like a manipulative teenage girl) just to wind everyone up. It’s all just a cynical attempt to generate traffic.
Like most mothers, I gave a lot of thought to how I would feed my kids and made a decision that I’m happy with. Obviously, I think my way is the best because it works for me but that doesn’t affect the way I feel about other mother’s feeding choices. I don’t feel superior to people who have made different choices or threatened by them. In fact, I honestly couldn’t care less how you feed your baby and if you have time to worry about what I’m doing then parenting clearly isn’t keeping you as busy as it is me.
So what should we do about these attempts to get us all wound up? What would our Mums have said when we were kids? ‘Just ignore them’, ‘Don’t let them get to you’, ‘Don’t give them the satisfaction’, ‘They’re only doing it for attention’. So next time you feel you’re being unfairly judged for formula feeding or that someone isn’t appreciating the hard work you’ve put into breast feeding don’t let these comment hungry journalists suck you into an argument. Have a look at your happy healthy kids and feel a little bit smug that whatever you’ve done has obviously work fine and you don’t have to justify it to anyone.
Or I guess you could always blog about it…