Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Are you DAD ENOUGH to have opinions about breastfeeding?

On my facebook page last week, there was a blow up argument about the Time Magazine Breastfeeding cover.    You know, the one that everyone is talking about (PS-- the one on the left is a parody, but the photo is the same)

Here's what I said that caused such a stir:

While obviously, this is an individual decision, it's not one that I think is right. My feeling is if you are old enough to ask for it, you are too old for breastfeeding. (No offense, super-attachment parents. Make your own decisions. But don't be surprised when a vast majority of people disagree with you.)

I had close to 50 comments on this, most of them from about 6 people, telling me that they disagreed, and that breastfeeding was up to the mom.  My wife even chimed in to tell me that I was wrong, (mostly because the article is mostly about attachment parenting, and extreme breastfeeding is a tiny part of it, although not so much a tiny part of the photo).

People took offense, I think, primarily because they felt like I was attacking them by saying that I didn't think their choices were right.  And that I was weighing in on something that didn't really concern me, as I can't breastfeed.

The divide in the discussion was clearly men/women, with most women saying "I'll breastfeed as long as I want to, dammit!  And you can't tell me what to do!"  Most men didn't respond, but those that did said  something along the lines of what I said.  One guy said, "I think we can all agree that when breastfeeding gets to be second base, it should probably stop."

I think I was pretty clear that I think people should do what they want.  That doesn't preclude me disagreeing with them, though,  or stating an obvious fact-- that when you hold a minority opinion, people will disagree with you.  

For the people who said, "None of your business, shut up" I'd say, while it's true it's none of my business how an individual decides to feed or raise their particular child, I think it's very much my business in the larger picture to talk about it, to think about it, and to spark discussion about the topic. (Mission accomplished)

I feel like i'm a quasi-attachment parent. I haven't drunk the kool-aid, but I've smelled it a few times, and it mostly smells prety good. I wore AA quite a bit, and continue to carry, hold, pet, wrestle, kiss, smell, and otherwise attach to him.

 I don't want to equate extended breastfeeding with spanking, because they are not the same at all--except in terms of social acceptance. If the magazine had a picture of a kid getting a spanking from his dad (or mom) and the caption read Are You Dad Enough... well, people would be up in arms, and I'm pretty sure I would have posted the same exact comment. " It's an individual decision, but to me it's not one that I think is right. "

I believe I can have an opinion about just about everything to do with my child, even though I may not actually have to experience it.  Did my wife not get a vote on circumcision? (actually, we are Jewish, so it was a done deal already)

My child self-weaned after 10 months or so, so it didn't become an issue.  But if my wife had wanted to breastfeed up until now (he's almost 4)  I think we would have a lot of arguments about it. (Benefits of breast milk not withstanding)  I don't think it's appropriate for us, and that's my opinion.

What's your opinion?

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