Breastfeeding is excellent.
If lactivists confined themselves to that message, they’d be on solid ground. Instead they insist that breastfeeding is perfect. Since nothing in nature is perfect, their aggressive efforts to promote breastfeeding are leading to injuries and deaths. And in attempting to justify those injuries and deaths, blithering idiots write pieces like This is Why I am Fed Up with “Fed is Best.”
Nature does not intend that every baby will survive.
According to Lauren Lewis:
As a childcare provider, mama, and breastfeeding advocate, I LOVE me some fact-based research. So if your argument is that the slogan “fed is best” is more supportive than “breast is best”- know that it just isn’t factually correct. Saying that “Fed is Best” takes away the message behind “Breast is best” the exact same way that “All lives matter” takes away from “Black lives matter”- it is completely missing the point of the campaign in the first place.
So much stupidity in so little space.
Let’s start with the “Black lives matter” reference. “Black lives matter” is an elliptical sentence. An elliptical sentence is one that is missing important information, but that information can be understood from context.
“Mary runs faster than John” is an elliptical sentence. The full sentence would be “Mary runs faster than John runs.” The full sentence uses the verb runs twice; the elliptical sentence uses it only once but the second use is understood from context.
“Black lives matter” is elliptical. The full sentence is “Black lives matter as much as white lives.” Those who invoke “all lives matter” as if that counters “black lives matter” are deliberately ignoring the fact that it is an elliptical sentence in order to score political points.
Similarly, “Fed is Best” is also elliptical. The full sentence is “Fed is best compared to inadequate amounts of any specific food.” Breast is best is also an elliptical sentence. It stands for “breastmilk is better than formula,” but the truth is that adequate amounts of formula beats inadequate breastfeeding every time.
The author of the piece betrays more than just a misunderstanding of grammar. Like many lactivists, she doesn’t understand either physiology or evolution, either.
Lactivists like the author engage in motivated reasoning. If breastfeeding isn’t the perfect way to feed each and every baby, then they can’t be sure that they are perfect mothers. But by insisting on the perfection of breastfeeding lactivists betray more than their insecurities. But what they fail to understand is that “Nature” does not intend that every baby will survive.
Infant mortality rates in nature are astronomical. Babies die from congenital anomalies, prematurity, dehydration, starvation, vaccine preventable diseases and accidents among other causes. Genetic and chromosomal abnormalities are astoundingly common. Fully 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, almost all because of genetic defects. “Nature” could care less. If only 80% of fertilized eggs are perfect, why would breastfeeding be perfect?
Approximately 12% of babies are born prematurely, and until very recently, most premature babies died. “Nature” didn’t care. If only 88% of babies know when to be born, why would breastfeeding be perfect?
Smallpox is an entirely natural virus. The human immune system can naturally make antibodies to smallpox but, in the absence of vaccination, 20%-30% of people will die before they can produce enough antibodies. There have been repeated smallpox epidemics through history and “Nature” didn’t do anything to stop them. If immunity isn’t perfect, why would breastfeeding be perfect?
It wouldn’t, obviously.
Yet, the author believes this nonsense:
The biological norm is what keeps babies alive.
Actually, the biological norm results in massive numbers of dead babies. It’s all the same to “Nature” if a mother gives birth to 10 babies and 7 die then if a mother gives birth to only 3 babies who live.
The author quotes the World Health Organization:
If every child was breastfed within an hour of birth, given only breast milk for their first six months of life, and continued breastfeeding up to the age of two years, about 800 000 child lives would be saved every year.
Sadly, even the WHO sometimes comes up with absolute bullshit. The WHO claims are based on statistical modeling, not actual population data. For most of human history all babies were breastfed and infant mortality was very high. Breastfeeding is not protective against most of what kills babies. Moreover, many of the countries in the world with highest infant mortality rates have breastfeeding rates approaching 100%.
The author ends with typical lactivist lie:
Lactation Consultants, Doulas, midwives, breastfeeding advocates — even lactivists — are NOT SHAMING parents who choose to promote the benefits of breastfeeding. We are just trying to help parents who WANT to breastfeed.
Who does she think it stupid enough to believe that?
Curiously, the author is right about one thing.
She insists that “Fed is minimum.” Well, yes, fully fed is the minimum that every mother ought to provide. If your baby is not fully fed, regardless of whether you are breastfeeding, you haven’t even reach the minimum that your baby needs. In that circumstance breast isn’t merely inferior; it can be deadly.
Breastfeeding — like pregnancy, childbirth and the immune system — has a naturally high failure rate. Nature doesn’t care whether an individual baby lives or dies just like it doesn’t care if an individual pregnancy ends in miscarriage. Nature makes it up in volume.
“Fed Is Best,” it’s shorthand for the truth:
Fully fed with formula is better than underfed with breastmilk — ALWAYS!