Judith Warner’s new article in the NY Times could be read as following up on Jender post here. Warner’s claims, though, are a bit stronger, I think. It isn’t just that there needs to be some understanding when things don’t go optimally, but also that the optimal may be being misconceived (so to speak).
Is it at long last possible – on this side of the Atlantic [as opposed to France as she experienced it]– to suggest that we’ve maybe taken “breast is best” a bit too far? That a mother’s need for some semblance of physical dignity is perhaps a right worth respecting? That supplementing with formula – if it makes for greater happiness (and emotional availability) in the baby’s most important caretaker – isn’t necessarily an act of gross irresponsibility?
Maybe. Maybe we’re even at a point where it’s permissible to insist that the needs of a mother and the needs of her baby, rather than being opposed are, in fact, linked, and that the best way to meet both is to scale down the demands now put on mothers and beef up support for them.
Given she says that the breast pump makes one feel like a cow, it’s interestng that she uses “beef up.”
Let me recommend that commentators take a little care not to just repeat the discussion of Jender’s post linked to above. Some care had to be taken to clarify the issues, and it might be best not to repeat all that here.