Bloomberg, Breastfeeding and Body Policing Misogyny
Here’s the story (link via @mazarin221b, cuz I just saw a detailed report on local news and video isn’t up yet )
I don’t have a kid. I’m probably not going to ever be in a position where breastfeeding is a conundrum I wrestle with. That doesn’t mean Mayor Bloomberg’s mandate on breastfeeding and ban on bottlefeeding/formula (which aren’t the same thing, btw) doesn’t impact me. Why? Because I have watched friends and acquaintences struggle with breastfeeding. In some cases for weeks and to the point of despair and resenting the child. I have women tell me stories about the agony and feeling of shame and failure they had. The simple fact of my own birth, two months premature and requiring an incubator, where just as I was about to be released, my mother nearly died from a hemorrhage. She couldn’t breastfeed, I was practically being fed with an eye-dropper on high-iron/calorie formula because I barely weighed 4lbs.
Breastfeeding is a choice every mother who gives birth, has to make. Sometimes, medical circumstances make it difficult, if not impossible. Sometimes, a child doesn’t latch or enough milk can’t be produced for a full feeding at the breast. Some women can’t afford to take a year off work if they don’t have on-site daycare. They have to pump and bottle feed, or use formula for a variety of reasons.These are not choices any government has any business in. Ever. To essentially say, “Breastfeed or else,” is obscene. To require a note from a doctor providing a reason for not breastfeeding is a shaming and body-policing tactic, that much like anti-choice legislation, says that another person knows better how to rule a mother’s body. It turns mothers and babies into objects of control.
I’m all for breastfeeding as a preferred choice for health reasons, and facilitating education, and freedom to nurse in public spaces is a grand idea. But this is not something that can or should be mandated. Overzealous lactation consultants should not have carte blanche to bully mothers on behalf of the state, or deprive infants of nutrition. That is never acceptable.
This is also a clear violation of the right to privacy, I look forward to the court cases.