On est bien chez sa maman
photo credit: Raphael Goetter

Hanna Rosin’s article “The Case Against Breast-Feeding” in the April 2009 issue of The Atlantic, has really brought out some strong feelings from both mothers and breastfeeding organizations. Here’s the lead-in to the article:

“In certain overachieving circles, breast-feeding is no longer a choice—it’s a no-exceptions requirement, the ultimate badge of responsible parenting. Yet the actual health benefits of breast-feeding are surprisingly thin, far thinner than most popular literature indicates. Is breast-feeding right for every family? Or is it this generation’s vacuum cleaner—an instrument of misery that mostly just keeps women down?”

An instrument of misery? Are you kidding me?

The author was also featured on the Today show with NBC News Chief Medical Editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman on March 16th, and their discussion horribly misrepresented medical research on the benefits of breastfeeding. The conversation brought attention to a much bigger issue surrounding the choice to breastfeed: Optimal breastfeeding recommendations in the United States are hard to come by. And by focusing on “The Case Against Breast-Feeding”, we may be moving backward in that area.

The United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) sent a letter to the editor of the Atlantic (PDF), but they are asking for your help in publicizing this ridiculous and irresponsible “debate” about the proven health risks of not breastfeeding. The USBC also wants to reframe the discussion in order to focus on the issue that is really at stake: support for mothers and families.

If you want to add your voice to the debate, the USBC has a template ready for you to use to send to the Atlantic editor, complete with additional talking points to include. Here’s a sample:

“Ms. Rosin’s argument that the benefits of breastfeeding are not scientifically validated misrepresents the medical evidence, detracting from an otherwise valid and important critique of the way American society neglects the needs of women and families.

Unfortunately, the inflammatory nature of Ms. Rosin’s article will only perpetuate a fabricated “debate” that’s pitting women against one another—the very phenomenon that she condemns. Our lack of societal support for women and families does not cancel out the fact that breastfeeding is a vital factor in the health—emotional and physical—of mothers and babies. Rather than attempting to make a case “against” breastfeeding that only intensifies the divisions among women, I urge The Atlantic to instead make the case FOR the support that so many American families lack, from birthplace to workplace.”

If this strikes a chord in you, please head over to the USBC letter page and send the Atlantic this message: Don’t Sell Women Short: Support Mothers AND Breastfeeding

You can also share the letter with others from that same page.

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adding a dad perspective to the site, and will write about parenting, cooking (fabulous recipes), news, tips and more. His personal blog is at Natural Papa For more information on Derek and what he is all about visit his Green Options page. He’s also a social media junkie and can be found on Twitter @DerekMarkham, digg (naturalpapa), and StumbleUpon (d-man413).