Is there such a thing as a breastfeeding bully? A recent article in Australia’s paper The Morning Bulletin had my head spinning to realize that not only do they exist–some of them should know better.
In the article the mother of a child in the ICU at the Wakiato Hospital in Australia was not given meals because she did not breastfeed. She was directly told that the reason that she only received toast for breakfast and nothing else was because the hospital only provided extra meals to mothers of children in the ICU that breastfeed. The mother indicated that for her own medical reasons she decided not to breastfeed. She also indicated that she didn’t want to leave her child alone in the ward while she went to the cafeteria to get food. The Southern District’s Health Board said that the long standing policy was put into place to encourage mothers to breastfeed.
Ouch. Can you said “overkill”?
Of course I out-and-out think this hospital’s policy is wrong. There is a time and place for agendas. Let’s be realistic, all sort of entities push their agenda onto the unsuspecting public everyday. However, when a mother’s child is in intensive care in the hospital it is neither the time nor the place. It becomes less about positive motivation and more about social bullying at that point.
While I do breastfeed, at time the “pro breastfeeding” fervor some events I attend even scares me. I guess I am a believer in ‘you catch more flies with honey’. It just reminded me that while I want to advocate for every mama to be open minded to the wonderful benefits of breastfeeding, there is a time, place, and way in which to positively encourage should be given. Making a formula-feeding mother feel ‘less than’ a breastfeeding one isn’t winning any supporters to the cause.
And to the hospital in Waikato all I have to say is this: Shame on you!