Friday, April 27, 2007

Procrastination Rant

So amidst my blog-reading procrastination attempts (there's a clinical skills worksheet due this evening) I found something over on Sage Femme's blog, and started to comment only to find a whole post coming out.

The growth chart issue is one of those that will just about send me into a head-against-wall pose, just about every time.

With the same customary logic that had people commenting that my (100% breastfed) son was so big that I MUST need to supplement to keep him happy (huh?), woman after woman after woman is told that their breastfed baby is "too small."

Too small compared to WHAT? Compared to the - dare I say it - infant-version-of-obese babies that are fed formula? There's no doubt now about the correlation later on. But what if, just what if (come on now people, it isn't really THAT much of a stretch) what we are seeing on the growth charts ISN'T NATURAL. What if it leads to a whole LIFETIME of NOT NATURAL? Nobody really knows what an obese infant looks like. And I'm just going to be horrifically insensitive and say that just as it isn't natural for an infant to be fed formula, it isn't natural for an infant to be obese, and feeding our kids formula is giving their bodies that first taste of that unnatural growth - and we already know that our bodies imprint this and tend to go back to it later.

Why on earth would we want to compare our breastfed babies to THAT?

In classic American style, what we're really worried about is winning. What are we winning? IS there a big mama race for the biggest/best/most normal/most advanced baby? Are we really after bragging rights? After a dainty little below-the-average pocket-sized girl? A BIG HUGE my-penis-is-bigger-than-yours boy? Well, yes, actually, I think there is, just like there's a big mama race for the most advanced toddler, best preschooler, honor-child elementary student, AP academic high schooler (who lettered in Football, to boot!). I can see no other reason for moms to get together and proudly flaunt their childrens' positions on the growth curve or whisper in that horrified drawing-people-in kind of way about how the doctor said their baby just wasn't up to par.

What if we applied it to adults? I have failure to thrive because I'm only 5'2" - it must be my mom's fault for not giving me formula. Only, wait a second, I was a big kid. That must be my mom's fault for not giving me formula. Oh, wait, I'm an average-sized adult. It must have happened DESPITE the fact that my mom didn't give me formula, because everyone knows that the only RELIABLE way to keep to "normal" is formula. It has an ingredient list and comes with a measuring spoon, after all.

It drives me, in case you couldn't tell, fucking batty.

(This post courtesy of Ross Laboratories.)


Aimee said...

I just have to add my .02...

In my case, formula saved my children's lives because I was not able to breastfeed and didn't have anyone available to breastfeed them through the night. Although I would have preferred to breastfeed, and I agree that it is the natural thing for our babies' bodies, my body simply did not produce all, so all three of my children were formula fed. And none of them are obese because we've been diligent about teaching them healthy food choices, and we keep them active instead of placing them in front of the TV or video games.

I totally agree with you, however, that breastfeeding is the best, healthiest thing that you can do for your child. I still struggle with the fact that my body didn't nourish my babies, but I don't beat myself up about it anymore.

Breast is best, but when a woman absolutely can't do it, formula is blessing.

Aimee said...

I hope that comment wasn't too bold. I have strong feelings about listening to women who say their milk is not coming in, that they are worried about their babies...

Anyway, I would love you to read the breastfeeding story I've posted.

I love it.

Niki said...

Oh, I totally agree about that Aimee. I have a problem with making formula the "standard," but not at all with the fact that it exists and is a blessing for some women.

Off to read what you've posted :)

emjaybee said...

I wish it more acceptable/practical/safe to allow other moms to help new moms with breastfeeding...I have talked to so many new moms who have trouble, and first babies always seem to be harder than second. I know in the "old days" you had lactating family members or wet nurses to help, and there was no formula. Nowadays, people think you're insane/obscene to even suggest it. But if it could have kept my son off of formula, I would have gone for it.