I have no use for parenting dogma. At best, I find it rather irritating. It assumes a sort of moral superiority that begs to be taken apart at the seams. We're all just slogging through the trenches, doing the best we can with what we've got. This shit, as I've been known to point out, is difficult. At worst, I find it harmful. And here's an example of how and why I find it thus...
Doing a search on Dr. Google for some unrelated issues, I've recently stumbled across some particularly yucky statements about breastfeeding. Uttered by self-professed feminists. Statements that included gems such as "Everyone should breastfeed," "There is no excuse to use formula," and my personal favourite, "formula should be taxed" (I could write a whole separate rant about the class-based violence of this particular statement, but it shall have to wait for another blog).
And for the record, I breastfed both my babies for a total of three years. I breastfed through excruciating pain, bleeding nipples and three, count 'em three violent bouts of mastitis. Never once did my care-providers suggest that bottle-feeding might be an alternative. Though I likely would not have taken up this option, it would've been kind if they had). I'm not saying I don't believe in the value of breastfeeding. I do. I believe. I'm a believer. I believe the world should be a breast-feeding friendlier place and I have whipped my boobs out in every imaginable corner of this city and along several highways to boot (and heck, if asked especially nicely, I still might!)
I don't, and here I mean emphatically do not, however, believe that pushing us baby-carriers (What? What's that you say? You mean those are actual people?!) to do things that, for whatever reason, cause stress or emotional discomfort, makes any kind of good sense. In fact, I find it ridiculous and all kinds of offensive.
Bodily autonomy is bodily autonomy. Pro-choice is pro-choice. Our bodies do NOT belong to our children, past, present or future. My body did not belong to my children when they inhabited it and neither does it now. Breast feeding is a choice. Formula feeding is a choice. Anything in-between, yes, also a choice. We need to trust women to make the best choices they can for themselves, depending on their resources and the life circumstances they find themselves in.
And you know what?