Are formula feeders on the internet “Defensive Formula Feeders”? The Alpha Parent has a blog entry basically eviscerating those calling for a truce in the formula vs. breast debate. For those of you who have NOT had a kid in the past…oh 3 or 4 years, the Mommy Wars are no longer about working vs. staying at home. They are about breast vs. formula, cosleep vs. cry it out, attached vs. mainstream parenting. Of course, as a real person who just figures it out as it goes along, I, like most parents, don’t see this as a dichotomy…do what works for you, and what works is usually a mix.
But as we know, the internet is home to strong opinions on one side or another. The data show overwhelmingly that when it comes to politics, balkanization/self-segregation is paramount. When you have Democratic Underground vs. Free Republic, you are going to get some extreme opinions and create new converts. One of the things I’m exploring is if that’s the case with the online parenting world. I actually generally suspect “no”, possibly because as new parents start searching for resources online, they don’t have a set parenting “philosophy” – or most likely, didn’t even know there was some sort of philosophy they were supposed to follow. Like me, they usually just end up doing a mix of things – what works. I suspect it is a bit different with attachment parenting – perhaps education level, perhaps more experienced parents who have been APers long before the parenting internet community sprung up, perhaps because being an AP parent is far enough out the mainstream that many people convert to that position through research, not just by stumbling into it.
So in the AP world, you have people like the Alpha Parent. I seriously respect her – there is no BS in her positions. To be honest, most of what she says rings true to me. Of course, what rubs me the wrong way is the judgment and the elitism that permeates everything that she writes – but again, I have respect because she’s not shy about the fact that she judges formula feeders, and at least verbally says she respects those who just say they chose to formula feed, without thinking of an ‘excuse’.
Full disclosure – I haven’t breastfed a baby past 7 months. I haven’t exclusively breastfed (because that’s another extra important thing moms HAVE to do..bleh) past 10 weeks. Alpha Parent would scoff if I said I HAD to quit breastfeeding, and in some ways, it’s true. I have no doubt that if breastfeeding were the main goal in my life, to the exclusion of my own health and stability, that I could have done it. What she doesn’t really understand, and what is hard to put into words, is how the nursing relationship can sometimes be detrimental to a mother-child bond – as opposed to beneficial – and at great cost. The one thing that makes steam come out of my ears is that in her snarky “DFF” bingo, she adds postpartum depression as a flimsy excuse.
That’s about all the personal I’m putting out there, but I wanted to acknowledge my bias. I do recommend you read the two articles I will link to below. The Defensive Formula Feeders article is great food for thought, even if it makes me want to throw something at the author and vow I could never have a civil conversation with her. (And, I suspect, it is a comeback to Fearless Formula Feeder, who has been making waves over the past few years – in fact, she has a Triumphant Tuesday series which seems to be a response to the Fearless Fridays). The second one is “Timeline of a Breastfed Baby”, which is a great resource.