Ban The Bottle
In Venezuela, law-makers will be discussing legislation which would deny parents access to formula, with exceptions including mothers with limited milk supply or in the case of the death of the mother.
What if a mothers aren’t able to breastfeed, how long will baby’s have to wait before they receive formula to keep them alive? Who is going to be teaching mothers how to breastfeed if, according to CNN, only 27.1% of mothers in Vanezuela who are able to breastfeed do so, what support will be there for mothers who’ve not seen breastfeeding in their own families and communities? According to Fox News medical professionals themselves may face fines for disregarding the bill’s provisions – is there a risk that doctors may be unwilling to sign off on allowing babies access to formula even if it is needed for a baby to survive? If a mother passes away, in a time of utter despair and crisis, will there be avenues in place that will allow that family access to formula before the baby’s next feed?
Also, what if a mother does not want to breast feed? It should not be up to politicians to tell women what to do with their own breast; that, in itself, is disgusting.
According to Huffington Post “Legislator Odalis Monzon said the proposal would “prohibit all types of baby bottles” as a way to improve children’s health.” Wouldn’t that then also prevent mothers from feeding their baby’s expressed breast milk, if they need to return to work, which would also financially disadvantage women?
While I do believe the benefits of breastfeeding are multifaceted and long reaching, denying access to bottles and formula in my opinion is in no way appropriate or helpful. Governments and individuals can be PRO-breastfeeding without being ANTI-formula. You can celebrate breastfeeding, you can promote, encourage, and provide opportunities to breastfeed without shaming or denying access to formula and bottles and while think of myself as a breastfeeding advocate, what I truly advocate is babies being fed. Babies have a right to be fed. It must come from such an incredibly privileged place for anyone to take issue with parents feeding their babies.
There are no easy answers to improving breastfeeding rates; however I do think that education and choice are key factors to ensuring the quality of health and wellbeing for both mother and baby.