Babble Breastfeeding Controversy Divides Momosphere
Babble.com is a site where moms go to read well-written blogs by a selection of mom bloggers. The posts are often funny and/or informative. It is very popular and often the start of many conversations here at embracethechaos.ca and on the schoolyard.
Babble recently stirred up the breastfeeding in public debate with a blog by Meredith Carroll entitled Breastfeeding: Just Do It Discreetly and Shut Up About It. In it, she says that all women should cover up while breastfeeding because no one wants to see "your saggy milk-filled breasts," she then says "Besides, if they were so great, Hugh Hefner would have come knocking to see your knockers already." Nice talk.
Carroll says no one has ever given her and her one-month-old a second look because they were breastfeeding. No one ever gave me a second look while I was breastfeeding either, not because I was discreet and used a cover, but because people generally don't notice these things. (Except my mother, she wasn't too fond of me nursing at the dinner table but, hey, we all need to eat.)
I have made it pretty clear that I think breastfeeding in public is good - in fact it is the only way to normalize breastfeeding to the point that is the default. I think covers are ridiculous and annoying and act as a giant neon sign that says "breastfeeding going on over here!". I should mention that I hate the word discreet. I do kinda love the video she posted, and I think the photo she used as an example is lovely and she doesn't need a cover at all.
Reaction to Carroll's post was swift and Babble had to do some editing to make it less divisive (I'm not sure what they changed as I am late to the party). Many noted that right beside the post was a formula ad.
On it's own, this post would have blown over but Babble has found itself battling critics recently for not being breastfeeding-friendly enough. I say enough because there are lots of pro-breastfeeding articles on Babble, the typical hows, whys and support can be easily found in its pages. But so can many formula ads.
Some mom bloggers have argued that Babble should remove the formula ads because formula companies routinely break the WHO code regulating formula advertising. The very fact that formula companies advertise a 1-800 number for new moms to call when they run into feeding issues is repellant to many lactivists.
This argument blew up a couple weeks ago when Canadian blogger Catherine Connors (writer of the popular herbadmother.com) took an editorial job with Babble. She is a long-time breastfeeding advocate and she wrote a post about why she is comfortable working at Babble and the necessity of formula advertising. The post was hotly debated, dissected and flamed all over the momosphere. For those of you who are not part of the insular circle, trust me it was ugly; feelings were hurt and things were said and the debate goes on.
I waffle on this one, I agree with both arguments and then I disagree with both. What I do know is that formula has a lot of money behind it and breastfeeding has no money and I wouldn't ever take breastfeeding advice from a formula company.
These two issues were explosive on their own, but taken together they have turned some readers off of Babble, saying that they can not support a site that does not support breastfeeding.
Others say that Babble should be a place for all opinions and the sharing of different opinions makes us stronger as a community.
What do you think? Should a community of mom bloggers support breastfeeding at all costs? Did Meredith Carroll have a point?
Want more chaos? Last year, my son broke his clavicle for the second time. Good times.