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13 Sep

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

I breastfed both of my children. I breastfed Emilia on park benches and in restaurants and in libraries and on airplanes. I breastfed Jasper in front of a crowd at BlogHer ’08 – while I was speaking – when he was eight weeks old. I breastfed Jasper by Guy Kawasaki’s swimming pool, while sobbing and wiping baby shit from my pants. I breastfed another woman’s child. I wrote many thousands of words about breastfeeding. I launched, with a good friend, a campaign against Facebook for removing photos of women breastfeeding, and then, from that, an entire site (now, sadly, defunct) devoted to mom-activism and defense of mothers against nonsense like Facebook’s hypocritical policies on breastfeeding photos, whereon we posted a breastfeeding manifesto, and hosted – don’t laugh – a Breast Fest. I considered myself a breastfeeding activist. I stillconsider myself a breastfeeding activist.

But some would argue that I’m not a breastfeeding activist. I am, according to certain arguments, a bad breastfeeding citizen, perhaps even an enemy of the breastfeeding cause. In this view, all of the work that I’ve done to support the nursing cause amounts to zip, diddly and squat, because I work for a media property – the one that I’m moving to New York for – that accepts advertising from formula companies. The money that I earn is, on this view, “blood money,” because it comes from a company that accepts such advertising. Formula advertising is, after all, indisputably evil, because formula itself is evil. So. You can’t, according the parameters of these arguments, be a breastfeeding activist if you’re not against formula, never mind accepting blood money – blood money, you guys – from companies that aren’t opposed to formula. You’re probably evil if you do this. I’m evil. I should probably just accept this.

Because herein resides the problem: I’m not against formula advertising. I’m just not. (Continue reading this post at Bad Mother Confidential. The conversation is kind of raging there. That’s kind of awesome, but also kind of headbursty. So if your head cannot take any unexpected bursting today, consider yourself warned.)