Saturday, February 19, 2011

Why helping women be successful in breastfeeding should be applauded and not criticized (aka Karen's newest rant)

I've been following this story out of the U.S. with great interest. Can someone, anyone, please explain to me using some intellectual capacity, how promoting breastfeeding, especially to a population that traditionally doesn't breastfeed or at least breastfeed beyond a few weeks, is being Big Mother or creating a Nanny State?

I am so riled up about this and it isn't (thankfully) happening in my own country. But I just don't get how Americans can vote for the Republican Party.

Promoting breastfeeding is in no way being a Nanny State or "Big Mother", as the Republicans have described Michelle Obama. If it is then so is an anti-smoking policy, or banning asbestos as a building material, or promoting fitness through Participaction.

The Republicans argue that making these opinions into policy is making the U.S. into a Nanny State. Oh, and the Republicans have never made their opinions into policy, right? Making killing an abortion doctor justifiable homicide in South Dakota comes to mind as a recent and abhorent example.

By the by, making breastpumps a tax deduction wasn't Michelle Obama's idea. It was proposed by 45 Congress men and women. Not that that should matter. Working mothers - and most women in the U.S. don't get much maternity leave at all - need help if they're going to continue to breastfeed. A decent breastpump up to the job of a lot of pumping costs about $250. For a woman being paid minimum wage, that's unaffordable. These women need help. It makes me sick that the Republican Party thinks that because one well-off woman could buy a pump on her own to breastfeed her five children, that all women can do that. Guess what? Most American women don't have that kind of money. Most American women need a bit of help if they're going to work and breastfeed.

American Republicans: start thinking about someone other than yourselves. It's what you were elected to do.

You make me thankful I don't live in the United States.


Jannie said...

Thank you Karen - for your (much needed) 'rant'.
Very well said / written. It is a mystery how educated,
intelligent and thinking people can become so irrational when it comes to policy and politics. Profoundly tragic.

Erika said...

It's hardest to see in the NICU. There's almost NO breast fed babies there, and really no talk about pumping for moms who would like their babies to have breast milk, even if they're too ill to be fed that way, or if every little part of an ounce of intake needs to be accounted for. Hey -- you get so many formula freebies I'm all for a discount on the pump!

Sheryl said...

I think it's simply a matter of one side opposing the other at all costs. Stupid, yes, but also not unexpected.

I'm all for it. Thankfully my grandmother bought my breast pump for me when I had to wean Jack and could only give him milk in a cup. That was in May and he still gets milk every day because of my freezer supply. But that wouldn't have happened without a good electric pump.