I did not nurse Kenai or Ziva for very long. I had reasons for giving up, pretty good reasons I think, but I still feel guilty. I wear the shame and regret that has become the mother's uniform. I'm not proud of it, I'm actually more ashamed of the way I feel than I am about the original "sin". But I always come back to this feeling that I cheated my children. Usually, it's after talking to breast feeding advocates.
I'm not against breast feeding (Elliet was nursed exclusively for a year). I'm not against advocating breast feeding. What I am against is people making claims that formula kills. I'm against comparing the marketing of formula to women in the US to serious human rights violations. I refuse to believe the assertion that women are so easily swayed by a pretty can of formula that we shouldn't even offer it to them or they will turn away from the almighty breast. Formula doesn't kill. Lack of clean water kills. Lack of education kills. Starvation and dehydration kill.
They say instead of guilt, I should feel anger. That I should blame the industry for making me think it was okay to give formula, for being tricksy enough to fool me into thinking formula would nourish my baby. That still tells me that formula is bad and my children will be inferior because of it. It assumes I wouldn't haven't chosen to formula feed if it weren't so readily available. It assumes I don't want to take responsibility for my own choices. But I do take responsibility. I had all the information then that I do now but I still chose to stop breast feeding when it became too difficult.
The #nestlefamily ordeal on Twitter was I *think* supposed to be about Nestle's unethical corporate practices. This includes using cacao harvested by slaves and children and heavy-handed marketing of baby formula to women in developing countries who have then mixed it wrong or mixed it with dirty water, both of which can lead to serious illness and death. I'm not sure what else it includes. There were people who were also upset about things like free cans of formula being given to new moms (in the US). That's when I got into the conversation. I was surprised that in the midst of a discussion on serious human rights violations, people still wanted to make it about how formula is bad and shouldn't be marketed to anyone. It makes me very uncomfortable when people make an argument that sounds very much like, "If women had fewer options, they'd make the 'right' choice." I don't like it.
I'm not going to boycott Nestle. I don't really think boycotting is all that effective and you have to be REALLY dedicated to boycott a company that big (seriously, they make EVERYTHING). Instead of boycotting I usually try and support companies I like. I buy fair trade coffee, preferably from companies that only sell fair trade products, but I'm not boycotting Folgers. I buy Seventh Generation cleaners but I'm not boycotting Clorox. I can get behind fair trade chocolate but I don't really buy much chocolate. I have tweeted to @NestleFamily to ask them what they can do to eliminate slave labor in cacao farming.
What do you think of Nestle? Will you boycott? Do you think boycotts are effective?
Edited: I just saw that I had written "free trade coffee" instead of "fair trade coffee" Not really the same thing! Fixed.
6 years ago