Thursday, May 7, 2009
Day in and day out, I keep hearing and reading the term Breastfeeding Nazi used to describe lactation consultants, La Leche League leaders, breastfeeding advocates and other lactivists. I think it is completely inappropriate.
- First, lactivists have not killed millions of people like the Nazis did. People that advocate for breastfeeding are doing so to give babies the best possible start in life and to save lives. In fact, improved and increased breastfeeding could save millions of lives each year. According to UNICEF:
It has been estimated that improved breastfeeding practices could save some 1.5 million children a year. Yet few of the 129 million babies born each year receive optimal breatsfeeding and some are not breastfed at all. Early cessation of breastfeeding in favour of commercial breastmilk substitutes, needless supplementation, and poorly timed complementary practices are still too common. Professional and commercial influences combine to discourage breastfeeding, as do continued gaps in maternity legislation.
- Second, calling someone that is an enthusiastic advocate of something a Nazi trivializes and minimizes the suffering of the victims of the Holocaust. Even if you feel like you have been a "victim" of extreme lactivism, you cannot in good conscience compare that to the complete and utter horror that the Nazis carried out.
So stop. Please stop. It is not appropriate. Not funny.
Don't believe me? Want to know more? Then read the perspective of Kathy Kuhn, a Jewish lactation consultant. Or the perspective of the child of a Nazi prisoner of war camp.