I read the articles on infant feeding this morning. I read the information from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) too - and I cried. As someone who calls themselves an "infant feeding practitioner" rather than a breastfeeding supporter, because it is not my business how you feed YOUR baby, I found all of this made me rage and not for the reasons you might think.
My over-riding sensation was how very broken our culture must be for me to be seeing these headlines. What kind of culture do we live in where the RCM felt a need to tell midwives not to shame mothers? What kind of culture do we live in where the media are allowed to take one sentence from a large general document and turn it into a massive assault on both midwives and breastfeeding advocates, without any concern for them or the mothers who now feel pressured and didn't before?
Because formula companies don't care what you feed your baby - right?
You might feel like that mantra puts a lot of pressure on you and makes you feel like a failure when you can't provide the "best" for your baby. Well that isn't the only reason to hate it. The thing is that formula companies love the "breast is best" campaign, precisely because you hate it. They love it because it separates us into two categories (this is important). It pits us against each other: those who are breastfeeding and those who are using formula. Now those who are desperately struggling to breastfeed (and it can be bloody hard, especially at the start) and not getting much support, need to defend their reasons for this struggle (sometimes to themselves and close relatives even) by sticking to the "it's best" mantra, and those who formula feed feel attacked by this message. Now why do you think this benefits those who sell formula?