I wish infant feeding wasn’t seen as such a personal choice, otherwise I think support for it would be on every international agenda that included environmental and health issues. Whenever people ask me about breastfeeding and the importance of it, the main thing I always want to say is that it is not a personal choice made by a mother or a family in private – it is a huge political, social and cultural issue.
Last month, I did a gig in Cape Town. There’s a drought. Water is scarce and diminishing. This is the sort of situation in which formal milk is a total fuckry for parents. It’s not about personal choice, it’s much, much bigger than that. I’m sick of hearing how breastmilk increases a baby’s IQ. I think this is the least important thing about supporting breastfeeding but strangely the one that is talked about so much in the promotion of it.
Anyhows – I thought this was a really interesting article, in particular how formula companies target poor mother’s more. There is so much disparity in who does and does not ‘choose’ to breastfeed. If it was just a personal choice, the rates amongst working class women would be roughly the same as middle class women for example. Or younger versus older mothers. They’re not though. From the embarrassment some women feel, to the inability to balance work and feeding, to the inability to feed comfortably, it is all due to lack of economic, cultural and political support.
As politicians worldwide discuss plastic waste, healthcare, environmental damage and climate change, I’m still shocked how little support for infant feeding is mentioned and I think it’s mainly because it’s still seen as a personal choice which we cannot possibly touch with a bargepole rather than something which politics and economics needs to support if we’re ever gonna ‘choose’ to do it more again. Women don’t need to be ‘told’ to breastfeed. For me, that makes fuck all difference if all of the environment around them makes breastfeeding costly, uncomfortable and hard to live normally whilst doing.
Anyways, ranting! x
Hope you enjoy the read!
Please also take a look at the article in The Guardian published this morning.