Breastapo? You Need A History Lesson

Breastapo? You Need A History Lesson

You know what’s really insulting? The term BREASTAPO. Equally insulting is the term Breastfeeding Nazi. I’m a lactivist now, but once upon a time I was a formula feeding mother.

I’ve never killed anyone. Not a single person. Formula companies can’t make that same claim.

I understand the difficulties of breastfeeding, and the reasons why women sometimes quit in favour of bottles. I know that in the early days of feeding my babies I’ve cried in pain, and reaching for a bottle seemed the quickest way out. With my first baby that’s just what I did. With my other three babies, I’ve had the support of lactivists everywhere while I cried and gritted my teeth through and fought to establish exclusive breastfeeding relationships.

It’s because of lactivists that I got through the pain of feeding in the early days, and have fed two babies until they self weaned, and another is still feeding – he’s 29m. They tried to help me with my first baby, they were NEVER rude or aggressive, they never made me feel guilty, it just wasn’t where I was at at that point in my young life.

People who throw about the term Breastapo are almost always on social media discussing a blog or a news story about breastfeeding. They disagree with the scientific evidence that repeatedly shows how breastfeeding should be the default, with bottle feeding only necessary for a select number of families.

People who say Breastfeeding Nazi would have us believe that there are women trolling the internet, or local shopping centres, hunting down bottle feeding mothers to glower at them, and tell them that they are going to kill their babies. I’m not really sure where they get this idea from, in fact I’m inclined to think that it’s almost entirely imaginary!

The truth is that the world is a big place, and the internet makes it even bigger. There are some people out there who are a little bit …. well they’re on the nose to be quite frank about it! But those people aren’t just the women who breastfeed. There’s a woman who blogs about how breastfeeding is child abuse for example.

Criticising the marketing of formula – which is constantly in violation of WHO guidelines – and stating that breastmilk is scientifically proven to be safer than formula, doesn’t really align with the goals of the Nazi party. It just doesn’t.

Formula kills millions of babies all over the world. Maybe not in a neighbourhood near you, because the odds are good, that if you’re reading this, you have access to clean, running water, and good medical treatment. Heck, you even have the internet, and time to read this! That’s privilege for you. And thinking that formula is equal to breastmilk, and that it doesn’t harm babies is the foulest form of privilege.

Formula kills babies where families live on $2 a day. Where they save money by using less formula than recommended, where the water used to mix the formula has cryptosporidium or giardia in it. Where formula companies show even LESS regard for the advertising guidelines WHO recommend.

Formula companies have values that align quite nicely with those of the Gestapo! And incase you don’t know who the Gestapo were, they were the Nazi party’s secret police. They tortured and killed thousands of people, and they did it largely without the knowledge of the privileged, white, middle class. Just as the deaths from formula are happening well away from the vision of the privileged citizens of industrialised countries, and where formula can be defended as “just a choice” or “as good as breastmilk”.

Likening a woman who supports a new mother with breastfeeding, to a member of the Nazi party is pretty darn insulting! It’s insulting to the actual victims of the Nazi party. Way to trivialise actual, real, devastating violence huh?

Likening a woman who argues the superiority of breastmilk over artificial baby food sold by billion dollar companies, to the political party that not only began World War two but had millions of people, gay, disabled, jewish and more gassed to death is vile. It beggars belief. Formula companies kill babies every day. In fact Peter Brabeck, the CEO of nestle (one of the biggest manufacturers of formula) recently stated

”Access to water should not be a human right”

Yep, he actually said that. So who is really aligning themselves with the Nazi party? If you don’t like the scientific evidence that shows – repeatedly – that breast is not only best, it blows it’s artificial counterpart right out of the ballpark, that’s ok. Take it up with a scientist, tell them they got it wrong.

Train track going into Auschwitz on a snowy day
Nazis did this, not “lactivists”
License: Creative Commons CC0.

If you feel sad that you didn’t manage to breastfeed when you dearly wanted to, seek support, don’t get about likening other mothers to the Gestapo. If you CHOSE to formula feed because you believe it to be a superior option, or a better lifestyle choice, why feel guilty about that? Some people push their views aggressively, but very few of those are lactivists. Just because you disagree with someone doesn’t mean it’s ok to liken them to the people who committed the atrocities in World War 2.

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