You know when you hear a statement such as "I really like you BUT...." or "Thank you for interviewing BUT..."? You know that people are just being polite and really, the part they mean is the second part. The "I just don't think this is working" or "we are looking for someone with more experience" part.
So when I read this statement today on The Leaky Boob's facebook status "I support breastfeeding BUT it shouldn't be done in church" I knew the part that was really meant was the "It shouldn't be done in church".
People often hide behind the first part of the statement. Sometimes to add credibility- such as "I really am not one of those people who thinks breastfeeding is gross" so that they don't get bombarded when they say the part that proves they really are that person.
Not just that, but statements like "Women should breastfeed BUT only in private, or when using a cover" or "Breastfeeding is normal BUT children should be weaned at 12 months or when they get teeth" undermine a mothers success. Basically you are telling her that there are restrictions on her parenting choices. You send the message that breastfeeding is wrong, perverted, or something to be ashamed of.
I find it interesting, so many people are against removing formula samples from hospitals (which in the long run would save formula feeding moms money, but that is a post for another time) because it removes a mom's choice, yet they don't want to give the mom the choice to breastfeed when and where her baby needs it? SERIOUSLY?
I have heard way too many of these comments. Some from family (thankfully, not close family) and some from acquaintances, and others I have read on facebook. I have thought in my head a lot of comebacks. SO, I decided to come and be able to use some of those come backs.
Statement: I am a huge supporter of breastfeeding, BUT going past 12 months is wrong.
What I normally respond: The WHO states breastfeeding should continue to age 2 and BEYOND. The natural weaning age of a human baby is between 3-7 years old, etc.
What I want to say: Oh, yes, because being a huge supporter stops on an exact date, and you can tell how old a baby is by looking at them. Or is it because you prefer my child get hormone filled cow's milk to milk that is tailor made for him?
Statement: I am a breastfeeding advocate, BUT you shouldn't do it at church, schools, anywhere you might be seen, etc
What I normally respond: Breastfeeding is protected by law in 48 states. You see less from a breastfeeding mother than you do a girl in a low cut shirt.
What I want to say: And I am an advocate for free speech, but honestly, you should have your tongue removed for spouting such nonsense.
Statement: I 100% support breastfeeding in public BUT a mother should cover up
What I normally respond: While I personally choose to cover while nursing, I don't think it should be required. Also, see above response.
What I want to say: Thanks for your input. Oh, you are going out to eat tonight, would you like a blanket to put over your head (while I hand them a receiving blanket)
Statement: I am all for breastfeeding, BUT we shouldn't talk about it.
What I normally respond: Talking about it helps mothers know what they are going through while breastfeeding is normal, it helps teach women how amazing their bodies are, how to care for their children, and helps normalize breastfeeding.
What I want to say: And I am all for you having children, but can you stop posting about them on facebook and giving me updates every time I see them.
All snarky comments aside, I don't think a true supporter can put restrictions on their support.
It may be something you don't choose to do, but you don't have to restrict others. I chose to use a cover while breastfeeding, but did I mind if another mother didn't- NO. I was happy they were breastfeeding, and a little envious that their child was not distracted from eating like mine would have been.
The problem with the BUT statement, is you are basically trying to cover your own BUTT from looking like a cruel person, while telling someone else some bad news or how what they are doing is wrong. Do you think that the boss at that job was really thankful/happy the completely unqualified applicant got an interview and showed up? Most likely not, they were just trying to "be polite". How many times does someone "really like someone" and then break up with them. Not very often (I know, sometimes, but not often).
So how often are these statements really from someone who truly supports breastfeeding? My guess: Not very often.
I am okay with the fact that you put restrictions on breastfeeding BUT I really don't believe you're a supporter. ;P