The narcissism of lactivism


One of the themes of this blog is that natural childbirth advocacy, homebirth, lactivism and attachment parenting have little to do with birth, babies or children. They are about mothers and how they would like to see themselves, specifically how they would like to boost their fragile self-esteem by denigrating other mothers.

In my efforts to put this point across, I have no better allies than NCB advocates, lactivists and AP advocates who fall over one another in their narcissistic efforts at self-aggrandizement.

Consider this photo, which I call Narcissist with Exposed Breast at Baby Fair.

Narcissism of lactivism

According to Elicia,the mother in the photo, who has posted it on Facebook and shared it more than 2000 times:

At the baby fair today and was sad to see tons of formula stands but none for breastfeeding so Winnie and I did some advertising ourselves:)

Classic Sanctimommy!

Instead of worrying about her own baby and herself, she is ostentatiously sad about everyone else’s babies. Therefore, she felt the need to use her child in a planned publicity stunt to demonstrate her own superiority as a mother.

She packed up her baby, flowered wreaths, and photographer, and headed off to the baby fair to “advertise.” No fooling. (The flowered wreaths are a nice touch, graphically conveying the immaturity and magical thinking of Elicia and many of her fellow lactivists.)

And, as is typical for NCB advocates and lactivists, she used her baby as a prop. I suppose it is possibly that Winnie became hungry after seeing the Enfamil logo, but I suspect Elicia shoving her breast into Winnie’s mouth in front of the Enfamil logo had nothing to do with Winnie’s need for nourishment and everything to do with Elicia’s need for attention.

In classic Sanctimommy fashion, Elicia makes sure to declare that she is so not judging any other mothers.

Please remember that this is NO attempt to knock any non breastfeeding Mammas, it is to support breastfeeding as unfortunately it is breastfeeding – and nursing in public that needs our support and societies views changed. SHARE and support breast feeding!


This photo is a deliberate, elaborately staged effort to denigrate formula feeding women. That’s how Elicia feels better about herself; she denigrates other mothers. Indeed, she is so desperate for self-affirmation that she conceived, planned, carried out, photographed and distributed this tableau. This is not about breastfeeding, this is not about babies, this is not about formula. This is about attempting to fill the pathetic lack of self-esteem of Elicia and lactivists like her.

The one I really feel sorry for, though, is Winnie. Imagine being reduced to nothing more than a prop in her mother’s desperate search for affirmation and attention.

There is one good thing to come out of this photograph, though. Years from now Winnie will have no need to explain to her therapist the narcissism of her mother. She can simply show the photograph, which says it all.