Monday, September 27, 2010

Why I'm (apparently) not a lactivist

Today, I was on one of my favorite breastfeeding support Facebook pages. The moderator of the page posted a link to this article. I read it, and agreed wholeheartedly.

Then I read a comment that basically said that you can't be ok with any kind of formula feeding and still be a breastfeeding advocate or lactivist.

Most of you know by now that I work as a peer counselor. And I advocate breastfeeding every single day. I think breastfeeding is normal, and should be encouraged. I think more companies should allow babies at work, so that breastfeeding continues longer. I proudly nurse in public. I'm all for extended breastfeeding. I want to make sure that every woman has the tools she needs to meet her breastfeeding goal. I want to stamp out every silly breastfeeding myth out there.

But there are exceptions.

I myself had to supplement with formula. Several times, with Miss Rhiannon. It sucked. I had been so sure that everything would work out well that I can remember standing in the formula aisle in tears, feeling so judged, like I was a terrible, terrible mother. I hated every second of supplementing. I worked so, so, so hard to get Rhi back to just breastmilk. But I did it. Know why? Because, in the end, formula feeding didn't make me a terrible mom. But NOT feeding my child so that I could keep some silly ideal alive totally would have.

And before anyone scoffs at that, yes, that *has* happened. I remember reading of a vegan family who were so against using any animal products (including breastmilk) that they used a homemade formula and killed their child by malnutrition. Killed their baby. The cause was so important to them that they allowed their child to DIE for it.

I see moms daily that want to breastfeed. And most of them do. But some of them don't wind up being able to. Sometimes a well-intended bottle turns into horrible nipple confusion. Sometimes they're victims of a sexual trauma that makes breastfeeding a horrible experience for them. Sometimes they're simply low income and working at jobs that make it next to impossible for them to pump.

It reeks of over-privilege to say that all mothers need to breastfeed exclusively unless they literally cannot produce milk. Because, you know what? There are a multitude of factors that lead to women using formula. And not all of them are as cut and dried as some lactivists want us all to believe.

I am a proud breastfeeding advocate. I am pro-breastfeeding. I am a future lactation consultant. I am, and will remain, committed to helping moms breastfeed and normalizing breastfeeding. But if being a lactivist means shoving all moms into groups based on hasty generalizations, well, then, lactivists can suck it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11 Nine Years Later

I remember the horror of that day. I woke up like any other, decided to be irresponsible and skip my first class to get some extra sleep. Pushed myself out of bed, took a shower. Turned on the news. A generic anchorman was talking about a plane having hit the World Trade Center. It was speculated that it might have been an accident at that point - faulty navigational equipment or something. But even as he was saying this, another plane streaked in from the side of the screen and smashed into the second tower.

It was immediately apparent that this was no accident.

I remember calling my father - he travels a lot for business and I was a typical 19 year old, paying next to no attention to what this schedule was. So, for a moment, I was terrified that one of those planes could have contained my dad.

He wasn't, thankfully. But not everyone was as lucky as me. So many people lost fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, cousins, lovers, friends, grandparents...people they loved...that day.

The worst part of it was that these people were innocent. They weren't military personnel. They weren't people who were in the business of putting themselves in a dangerous position, knowing that there's a possibility of injury to them. Nope, these were just normal people, going on their daily routines.

I didn't go to class that day. Instead, I watched TV. I watched as stories unfolded. I watched as shell shocked New Yorkers wandered around covered in ash, as people jumped or fell from buildings. I watched the buildings topple. I watched people die, which was a pretty terrible thing. I felt powerless, and sad, and frightened, and afraid.

But I watched something else, too.

I saw stories unfold of average people working together to help others. Firefighters and police and aid workers putting themselves in peril to help rescue those that could be rescued. Citizens pitching in, even though there were many, many inherent dangers. I heard about another plane, which had crashed far from the location it was supposed to impact and heard the moving, heroic story of the passengers who stood up to the terrorists. Their heroic actions ensured their deaths, but also kept the death toll from rising further.

People all over the country did what they could. They sent money, they gave blood, they did everything they could to personally help out with the tragedy. Maybe they couldn't be in New York, but they took the steps they could to help.

I remember being so proud to be an American that day. I was so impressed by how people were working together, in spite of differences, to help their fellow countrymen. United We Stood.

But it's nine years later, and we are divided again. We have let our differences define us, without letting our similarities bind us. We not only define ourselves, seeming almost proud to break away into small, neatly labeled groups - we do it to others, too. Bleeding heart liberals. Muslim terrorists. Crazy Tea Partiers. Blacks. Whites. Young. Old. Republican. Democrat. For the mosque. Against it.

We will always, as a country, have differences. No one will ever agree over everything.

But nine years ago, we all pushed our differences aside to show everyone what we could do as a country. We showed everyone that we had a backbone of steel, and that, when it came down to it, we were a country united. A country that would help and love their fellow citizens, no matter what labels they had.

We need to find that again. We need to find our ability to compromise and agree again, our ability to work together. Because when it comes down to it, we're Americans. The other categories don't matter when we all want the country to succeed. When we look first at our similarities, our differences are less important.

To those who lost their lives and loved ones in 9/11, we have not forgotten. We will never forget. To those who are still here, I leave you with this quote:

"I know that there is strength in the differences between us. And I know there is comfort where we overlap." -Ani DiFranco

Let's find the strength and comfort in the country again.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hey, everyone

So there's this place called, and they have AMAZING nursing clothes. Seriously, they're gorgeous. And today the contest is for a nursing top, and I need new shirts, as my boobs have eclipsed the ones I currently own. But I'm also poor.'s the link to the giveaway. If you enter, please put that you were referred by me (the e-mail is Then I get 10 free entries, woot! Thanks, folks. :)


It's a new thing every day, so I'm going to post each day's one here! This is the next one, here. 9/8/10