A while back, the Fearless Formula Feeder wrote a blog post in which she expressed disappointment in the way a certain breastfeeding website had behaved--all the more so because this was a website which the FFF had previously considered to be one of the better breastfeeding resources. The site in question had previously been seen making efforts to bridge the divide between breastfeeders and formula feeders and to express respect and support for all mothers, so it had come as something of a surprise when the site (a) ran an interview with a breastfeeding celebrity which had come across to many readers as rather smug and provocative, and (b) deleted comments by some posters (including the FFF) which had expressed criticism of the interview.
When the FFF blogged about this, she drew the following comment from a follower of her blog:
"I cannot conclude anything other than that BFB has gone over to the dark side. It's unfortunate, but it seems that a lot of lactivists, in order to maintain their core readership, find themselves being pushed more and more to the extreme, leaving those in the middle (who are probably a very large majority) marginalized. Breastfeeding bullies–which BFB seems to be increasingly leaning toward–do not just harm bottle-feeding parents. They harm breastfeeding ones, and potential breastfeeding ones too."while another commented,
"I have always liked Best for Babes as an organization that was “supportive” to all mothers... I just think that at the most basic level, moderate attitudes and being supportive of everyone just doesn't get readers and ad impressions. Showing your ass and leaning toward militancy does."There's an important lesson here for us all. Sites like Best for Babes, Kellymom and all the others are the way they are because that's their core readership--that's who hangs around these sites and posts the most. As a result, more moderate voices tend to be drowned out, and will continue to be drowned out unless these more moderate people get more proactive about speaking up and expressing some alternative viewpoints... in a sensitive, respectful and non-trolling way, needless to say. Meanwhile, the small number of breastfeeding-related Facebook pages and sites which are committed to discussing breastfeeding in a sensitive and non-extremist way have tiny followings compared with the big lactivist resources. There's an Evidence Based Breastfeeding Facebook page, sure--but maybe people need to start being more proactive about posting on it and inviting people to it (and by "people" I'm including myself, by the way). We need to keep an eye out for good resources, comment on them, share them with others, link to them and bring them into discussions at our mother's groups and due-date-clubs. It's a case of "Use them or lose them."
If anyone reading this page feels, like me, that we need better breastfeeding resources... less antagonistic, more moderate, more representative of the full range of mothering styles, and well, just.... saner... then it's all very well complaining about this amongst ourselves, but the current situation is not going to change unless we all step up and "become the framework of support that we want to see." And that's something which we all need to get behind.