Ohmigod! Ohmigod! Ohmigod!
Lactivists have just discovered that some mothers text while they breastfeed!
You see, a sanctimommy’s work is never done. She has to constantly move the goal posts and make up ever more outrageous stunts and ever more stringent “standards” to maintain that fragile sense of superiority over other mothers. Don’t worry though, she’s up to the task.
Think you’ve met the goal by exclusively breastfeeding your baby until she is 7 years old? Think again. Not if you’ve marred the pristine process of breastfeeding by daring to text while you breastfeed.
Today’s piece in the Lamaze blog Science and Sensibility, Texting While Driving And Texting While Feeding The Baby, Two Sides Of The Same Coin?, is a masterful piece of self-parody. There are lots of lessons here for sanctimommy wannabees.
Lesson 1: Always lead with a question that equates violation of sanctimommy principles with killing someone.
If you’re going for the guilt, and lactivist sanctimommies are always going for the guilt, it’s best to compare other mother’s behavior to a heinous crime.
Lesson 2: Ask a stupid question.
The question could have made sense if it compared texting while driving to breastfeeding while driving. Both can result in serious injury or death. But breastfeeding while driving appears to be a protected sanctimommy activity, so you can’t criticize that. Texting while breastfeeding, that’s a hideous affront to gods of breastfeeding.
Lesson 3: Always assert that offenders are destroying their relationship to their babies.
Don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be true.
The fact is that mothers and babies now have a third party in their relationship—technology.
That’s right; texting introduced technology into the mother-baby dyad. It was perfectly pristine before that since there was no house, no central heating, no clothes, nothing but moss and hemp and naked skin before that, amirite?
Lesson 4: Always, always, always misuse existing research to make you point.
Now back to the frantic thumbs and feeding the baby. Here’s what research is showing—that as we humans text, a few interesting things happen physiologically Our breathing becomes rapid, shallow, or non-existent (we hold our breaths until we must breathe). Our pulse increases. Our temperature goes up. Sound familiar? Many of us will recognize the physical symptoms of “fight or flight”, or the human body in the sympathetic state. To be super basic about it, there is a massive release of several hormones in our body that prepare us to act to save ourselves. And it’s contagious. We share our hormonal responses, breathing and heart rate with others who are near us.
That’s a pretty big heap of bullshit. What, you didn’t know that texting destroys our normal hormonal balance (since it is so very similar to fleeing from a predator)?
Lesson 5: Be sure to include citations that have absolutely nothing to do with the issue under discussion.
Never forget, misrepresentation is key.
Lesson 6: Don’t let the main purpose get away from you. Remember, its always about making women feel bad and showing them how YOU would do it.
Mothers, if you find yourself catching up while you are feeding your baby, take intentional, slow, deep belly breaths while you do it. Keep yourself out of “fight or flight” and in the state so appropriately dubbed “feed and breed” or “rest and digest”. Your body can actually only be in one or the other state at any given time.
More hilarious bullshit.
Lesson 7: Be sure to promote an arbitrary standard that is utterly incompatible with reality.
If you are a professional—take a moment to teach the mothers you work with, in prenatal visits, private sessions, groups, or classes, this simple lesson: that humans breathe too fast and shallow, and that our temperatures, pulses, and breathing rates rise when we are texting or using technology while trying to do something else that shifts frequently and requires a lot of attention. Teach them to intentionally take slow cleansing breaths while nursing. Talk about taking some of the time while nursing to tend to their emotional health and connection with each other.
Maybe they can do that on Planet Boob where most of the lactivists hide out, but here in the real world, most nursing women have OTHER CHILDREN. Those other children must be supervised even though the baby has to eat.
Perhaps lactivists cage their older children while nursing the baby, but most women don’t feel that is appropriate. Most women in the REAL WORLD, are trying to ensure that the older children do not kill each other, do not give each other haircuts with kindergarten scissors and do not take the opportunity to wreak havoc in other parts of the house, while they are simultaneously nursing the baby. Some of us poor benighted souls even have to think about such menial tasks such as — dare I say it — what to make for dinner.
Maybe on Planet Boob all the older children respect nothing more than the need for a pristine breastfeeding relationship between the mother and the new baby, but in the real world, older children couldn’t care less. I can recall spending many nursing sessions reading to the older children or talking to them about the day at pre-school, simultaneously keeping them in view, engaging them and soothing feelings of jealousy toward the baby. I wonder if that produced fight or flight hormones and destroyed my relationship with my babies? I doubt it.
Raising children is not about gazing adoringly into their eyes 24/7. It’s about meeting everybody’s needs (not just the baby’s) every single day.
DNT TXT N BREASTFEED? You have got to be kidding.
Here’s my response:
KP YR SNCTMNY 2 YRSLF.