Conversations among friends and between strangers fueled my pumping obsession. Every time I thought I was ready to skip a session or wean my son, I felt this peculiar sense of failure. "Not yet..." nagged a little voice. I'd ask other people how their feeding was going and then persist with my own despite my frustration and annoyance. I also made the crucial mistake of reading popular parenting blogs where I'd see talk of only weaning well past the 12-month mark. I feel like I passed the first parenting test and when people converse about infant nourishment, I feel proud stating that I did whatever it took to give him the "best" start.
Some things I remember clearly about the first days after my sons were born. I was zapped, emotional and incredibly vulnerable. So I can't imagine having a document thrust at me that essentially guilt-trips me into swearing that I will breastfeed my newborns or else risk exposing them to "significant illness and disease."
The first two days with my newborn were hell. Those weren't exactly the words I'd expected to come out of my mouth as a first-time mom, but from the moment my new little man laid eyes on my breasts, his reaction was to scream. I had intended to breastfeed, just like I had planned on having my baby sleep through the night at eight-weeks-old. It wasn't about my struggle though, or my sore nipples, or my frustration -- it was about my new best friend in the world, and he was hungry. That was it. That was all that mattered. I got the feeling from these nurses that if I were to feed him formula it would be like pouring a bottle of vodka down his throat.
Baby formula is a big killer in less developed countries, but even where access to health care is good, not breastfeeding increases illness. Yet companies are still allowed to use advertising to convince parents to use their products. Those looking to make a buck from the product have no business "educating" about it.