A Humble Dissection of Two Similar Breastfeeding Graduation Pictures

I have spent the entire day trying to wrap my head around this issue. Some are calling it racism, and others are referring to it as social status, but the difference in the media coverage of these two breastfeeding graduates is astounding to say the very least. I don’t know about you, but all I see here is two women with babies who were wanting to breastfeed while their mothers happened to be wearing their cap and gown.

So really, what is so different about their stories?

Why has one woman been publicly SHAMED to the point that she has deleted her photo, yet the other is receiving PRAISE and positive media coverage?

Location, Location, Location

In June 2014, Karlesha Thurman – a young black mother from California – posted a breastfeeding photo of herself in her cap and gown while nursing her baby (seated) during the graduation ceremony a midst her colleagues, on the Black Women Do Breastfeed Facebook page. Many people don’t know this, but if you post ANYTHING on a public Facebook page’s timelime, your post becomes public even if you have your privacy settings to only post to friends. The other thing is that if you post to a public page it will ALSO appear in the news feed of your Facebook friends! So someone who is a “closet breastfeeding supporter” may report your photo or worse, start to rant in your comments about how they “support” breastfeeding, BUT if you post public images you are indecent. -_- I am positive Karlesha didn’t expect such backlash from the people who she knew and this may have encouraged “trolling” on the thread by people who don’t support public breastfeeding at all. This is usually the case considering that breastfeeding in public is STILL considered a taboo in the United States.

4 months later – this past week – Jacci Sharkey sent a PRIVATE message to her school’s Facebook page, University of the Sunshine Coast (in Australia, where breastfeeding in public is considered the norm) in her cap and gown nursing her baby in what seems to be a secluded area. We really don’t know if she is nursing in public or not. It looks like she is sitting up against a wall in a possibly public hallway, but because the wall is all that we see in the photograph, when viewed in the media she is breastfeeding in private. By sending this photo in a private message to the University of the Sunshine Coast she released property and fully authorized the University of the Sunshine Coast to share the photograph creating a whole different type of media buzz. A positive one – since the University of the Sunshine Coast was uplifting and praising her from the get go for “thanking” them for supporting her during her years of enrollment.

 

Stereotypical Headlines

Regarding Karlesha Thurman (young, single, black mother of 1)

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  • Controversial or Natural? Photo of Mom Breastfeeding at College Graduation Causes Stir – People.com
  • Breast-feeding mom’s college graduation photo stirs controversy – Today.com
  • Mom who posted image of her breastfeeding daughter at college graduation defends herself after backlash – Daily Mail Online

 

Regarding Jacci Sharkey (young, single, white mother of 2)

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  •  Australian woman breastfeeds six-week-old son at college graduation, becomes online sensation – New York Daily News
  • Beautiful Picture Of Mother Breastfeeding Her Baby At Her Graduation Goes Viral – Huff Post Lifestyle UK 
  • Breastfeeding Mom Graduation Photo Goes Viral – Yahoo.com

 

Timing is Everything

Karlesha also happened to post her image during the months leading up to World Breastfeeding Awareness Month – after which, many people know better than to write stories shaming breastfeeding mothers.

Luckily for Jacci, her photo came into the public eye after this year’s EXPLOSION of breastfeeding awareness groups, campaigns, initiatives, and so forth.

 

Stats are FACTS

“Black babies are dying at twice the rate (in some place, nearly triple) the rate of white babies. This is a fact. The high infant mortality rate among black infants is mostly to their being disproportionately born too small, too sick or too soon. These babies need the immunities and nutritional benefit of breast milk the most. According to the CDC, increased breastfeeding among black women could decrease infant mortality rates by as much as 50%.” –Top 5 Reasons we need Black Breastfeeding Week – BlackBreastfeedingWeek.com

 

Media Invitations for Discussion

Karlesha was interviewed on the Inside Edition about what led to to the photograph being posted and how she felt about the negative backlash.

 

Jacci was invited to Skype with Great Day SA to “chat” about what led to the photograph being taken and how she felt about far it had reached, in a very positive light, and was even quoted for calling it “normal.”

Addressing Reasons Behind Backlash

You are probably here because you think I am going to address the racial formality that our society has used to categorize and stereotype these two breastfeeding mothers. Well you’re right! Although that is NOT all that I have to say – so stick around 😉 Black, single mom, Karlesha, was referred to as “controversial”  time after time. White, single mom, Jacci, was referred to as “adorable.” If you don’t believe that “white privilege” exists in the breastfeeding community, you have a lot to learn. Mind you I am African-American myself, yet was raised as the ONLY black girl in my elementary school classes. So NO I am not racist – I always see both sides of the story because of my past. It is frustrating for a successful single black mother to make it through college and sit down to breastfeed her crying baby in a crowd only to be called indecent! Seriously? If you watched her video above you would notice how educated, well spoken, and DECENT she is! But don’t let her pull out her BREAST in public to feed her child – now she is an “INDECENT HOE????”  I honestly can’t even begin to quote some of the horrific statements made about her. On the other hand, Jacci – who has even more breast exposed is referred to as “beautiful, adorable, and inspiring!!!” On the other hand some of the comments on her photos were just as outrageous as Karlesha’s – saying that she was an “exhibisionist, an attention seeker, and was disrespecting herself!”

Now that I have gotten that out of my system, let me just be real with you about what IS so different about these photos.

ONE IS, CLEARLY, IN PUBLIC AND THE OTHER IS NOT! 

To all of you women who “talk” about wanting to normalize breastfeeding, start walking the “walk” and NURSE IN PUBLIC. You don’t have to share your photos online publicly. I share anonymous posts via the private message on our Facebook page all day everyday – and I honestly post every picture that is submitted when possible. If you don’t like Facebook share it on our Twitter @NormalizeBfing and use the hashtag #NIPUSA.

Breastfeeding in public is the ONLY way to bring about change, not for media, not for press, but to nourish and nurture your baby whenever and where ever they need it.

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Please comment – I want your feedback!

74
Comments
  1. JR says:

    For anyone who thinks this is WIC’s way of bashing formula feeders, 1) NWA is not part of WIC, 2) WIC is a free supplemental program. Are you so entitled that you should complain the support they give? Because they promote Breastfeeding over formula feeding? That they give to you for free. If your parents or someone loans you money do you complain how it was given to you? I work for WIC and we support our formula feedings moms just as much as our breastfeeding moms. Not once have we shamed them for their choice or argue with them. I know other agencies in other counties are not the same as mine. The point is for people to be grateful and not entitled. This article specifically states (I know edited) that it is in no way formula bashing, nor is it not supplying formula. It is only stating no formula company will advertise through them. What is wrong with that? You still get support. you still get your free formula. Why are there so many out there that are not thankful for the help they receive? Breastfeed if its right for you, formula is its right for you. Do what you wish. But if you come to us for help we will educate you. plain and simple.

    1. shannon freed says:

      this is a step in the right direction…I hope the promotion of breast feeding is extended to babies past 12 mo. I was literally told I had to stop breastfeeding my 18 mo old to get benefits when I became pregnant and even though I was breastfeeding AND pregnant my benefits were decreased to match with being pregnant and not breastfeeding (breastfeeding mothers get salmon or tuna and more for veggies than pregnant moms) so in the end, when I needed more benefits or at least the same, my benefits were decreased just because my baby was more than 12 mo. Given that its scientifically proven that babies benefit from
      extended breastfeeding as do mothers with lower rates of breast cancer the longer you breastfeed, this pimicy makes no sense and is contrary to the information in this article. I hope with the detachment from formula companies comes a detachment from the milk/dairy industry too.

      1. Lisa says:

        That’s strange. I bfed through my last two pregnancies and received nothing but congratulations and encouragement. I’m sorry you didn’t get the support you should have.

    2. Ashle moore says:

      Just one step at a time

    3. Elle says:

      I know for a fact that my local wic office will shame you until youre CRYING for not breastfeeding…My son was in nicu and expected to have a severe milk allergy before nearly dying at a month old and then having emergency surgery…When we went to the wic office to get help,The lady tried to say none of it would’ve happened had i breast fed and how it was formulas fault and told me how he’d never grow up to be like other babies and a whole lot of other bullshit. Frankly,It may be different there,But here;If you cant breast feed (Which is what wound up happening,due to everythinh happening) its YOUR Fault and it makes you a HORRIBLE AWFUL mother.

  2. Lesley Suarez says:

    Nonetheless even if WIC isn’t getting rid of formula coupons they are headed in a great direction to promote breastfeeding in public and more education and resources for breastfeeding moms. Awareness and inspiration can go a long way. I wasn’t open to breastfeeding in pubic at first. I use Bebe Covers and Bun Maternity tank tops to feel comfortable so I can nurse in different public spaces. Now they said the new movement they are going in will decrease interaction with formula manufacturers. This will certainly make some changes and maybe then, normalize breastfeeding will even increase it’s presence even more.

  3. Brandi says:

    People keep forgetting about the milk banks! That’s sad! There are breastmilk banks! There are donars out there that pump this wonderful liquid gold for other babies while caring for their own babies. Please stop bashing and check out milk banks. Just because you can not produce does NOT mean you HAVE to go to formula. You can still offer breastmilk. 🙂 Human milk for human babies. Please look into a milk bank for your donation needs. 🙂 You can even donate if you want 🙂

    1. AJ says:

      That is an excellent reminder. Do keep in mind that milk banks are not in every town. Maybe it is something that should happen.

    2. Brooke says:

      How does it work? Are the milk and the donors screened for communicable diseases, medication use, and nutritional quality? I’m curious because I’m unable to breastfeed after a medically necessary surgery on my breasts and want all the information for when I have kids.

      1. How it works: yes, the donors are screened. However, the big hippie town where I live I think restricts the purchase of the milk at our one bank to infants who really need it: i.e., compromised immune systems, etc. You can’t just go in and buy it all up for your own kid. Also, it’s very expensive, and I think they are nonprofit.

  4. Kathy says:

    If this subject were about men and their penises, there woupd be no discussion. They’d have whatever option they wanted and no stigma. As usual women looked at as second class citizens whose purpose is to breastfeed once they have children and nothing else, as if this country gives a damn about people’s health or what’s best for them, whether infant, child, adult or older adult. Formula companies can target me all they want. I appreciate the awesome options they provide and am a grown adult who is capable of making my own informed decisions. Every organization, INCLUDING WIC, has their own agenda. For them to claim it’s in mother and baby’s best interest is an insult to our intelligence.

    1. Adie says:

      Ugh yes! This whole thing is such a load of BS. Why do we need to be told what’s best for us? Is there something in the X chromosome that makes women incapable of making informed decisions?

      Shame on the women who call themselves feminists but in the same breath agree with this nonsense.

  5. ECmama says:

    Omg defensive people. Read the article. It isn’t restricting formula AT ALL. The only thing they are doing is refusing to allow formula marketing booths at their events. THAT’S IT. Also.. For all out there saying formula is very expensive and the only option for some. Again NOT TRUE. Donor milk is free. And its better for your baby. I’ve donated and I’ve been a recipient. There is no reason any baby ever needs to be given a drop of formula

    1. Kyntasha Pearson says:

      “There is no reason any baby ever needs to be given a drop of formula”

      What about the ones with dietary restrictions? You don’t exactly get to choose what a milk donor eats.

      Or people who are in an area without a good supply of donor milk?

      Or the babies who need extra calories that only formula can provide?

      Or the people who just plain old don’t want to feed their baby some stranger’s milk?

      There are plenty of reasons for people to give their baby formula, and that’s awesome. As long as a mother is feeding her baby she’s doing great, and I wish we could all stop looking down on people because they don’t do things the same. Not being able to breastfeed is hard enough without heaping shame on top of it.

      1. Jessica Martin says:

        This is the best response I’ve ever read. I’m genuinely humbled as a mother right now.

    2. Lisa says:

      No, donor milk is not free to everyone. It is usually reserved for preemies or those with health issues. Perhaps if you live in a large city is different.

  6. Since most of you commenting negatively clearly did not actually read the article here is the pertinent information : ” The more we know, our perspectives change too. This decision will prevent these companies from advertising to their participants. They are not withholding formula from families who need or it. The NWA and WIC are two separate entities. This decision does not affect the support that will continue to be provided for formula feeding families. The NWA provides education and advocacy for the WIC program.”
    Perhaps before choosing to comment based off of commentary read something for yyourselves.It will help the world become a better,less ignorant,less group mentality run enviornment. Just a thought.

  7. truth teller says:

    Since most of you commenting negatively clearly didn’t bother to actually read the article here is the pertinent info.
    ” The more we know, our perspectives change too. This decision will prevent these companies from advertising to their participants. They are not withholding formula from families who need or it. The NWA and WIC are two separate entities. This decision does not affect the support that will continue to be provided for formula feeding families. The NWA provides education and advocacy for the WIC program.”

    Perhaps next time read something before reacting.Just a thought.

    1. The article has since been edited after speaking to NWA.

  8. JJ says:

    What is WIC?

    1. Kim says:

      Hello from CT!
      The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children, (WIC) provides healthcare referrals, nutrition education,
      breastfeeding promotion and support, and supplemental foods. It’s for pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants and children up to age 5. Check out our website for more information.
      http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?a=3137&q=395460&dphNav_GID=1862&dphPNavCtr=%7C#48077

  9. Midwife says:

    People need to READ this article and not just REACT to the headline! WIC is not stating they will withhold formula coupons or support from mom’s who can’t or don’t want to breastfeed!! Read & think before reacting & commenting. Clear communication is key to understanding & education.

  10. Jennifer says:

    I have a 5 month old daughter that is exclusively breast fed. I chose this over formula for many reasons, #1 being it’s best for baby. However, I do not support this action because sometimes a baby on formula isn’t a choice, it’s the only option. My sister had four kids, they were all on formula because she couldn’t breast feed no matter how much she tried. My cousin began breast feeding her baby by pumping because her baby was born with many complications and remained in the hospital for over a month after birth. Due to stress among other things, she dried up. She had no choice but to put the baby on formula. Yes, I believe all mothers should choose to breast feed, but it isn’t always an option. Sometimes formula is the only way. It isn’t always a choice.

    1. Sms says:

      Did you read the article?

      1. Sms says:

        Jennifer, sorry that was so confusing. You and I read different versions if this article. Vanessa, please note at the beginning or end of your article that you corrected it after initial publication…otherwise people’s comments make no sense. Also you should probably respond to this comment from Jennifer –not just comments further down in the comments section–with your explanation of the change, because new readers like me could miss it entirely!

    2. Amanda says:

      WIC is still offering formula to mothers who choose this option. WIC is no longer inviting formula companies to advertise with WIC or join WIC conferences.

  11. S campos says:

    I have not read all of the comments. I am breast feeding my second child successfully (12) weeks going strong. My first (2yrs) was formula fed. My concerns for this are. Women who qualify for WIC, wether single or married fall into a certain income guideline. This guideline means they do not make enough money to provide food for their child(ren). They reach out to the government for help. The government is taking advantage of their circumstances and pushing their ideals onto a certain class. This is unjust to me. This campaign needs to be presented to all mothers. I understand WIC will still offer formula. Some mothers just do not WANT to breastfeed. This is their right. I also understand educating mothers. ALL mothers should be educated on the benefits of BF. However some mothers just do not WANT to breast feed. Can we remember this and stop shoving our beliefs downs others throats!

  12. Pam Busciglio says:

    I’m glad to hear WIC will be promoting breastfeeding over supplement formula since we know breastfeeding is the very best nourishment for babies. Now if we can educate everyone about the terrible formulas WIC hands out!! Read the ingredients and research what they do and the effect they have on your babies! Our formulas are by far the worst in the world. We as parents need to stop using American formulas until the formula companies change their ingredients to organic, organic organic and omit cancer causing ingredients as well as all the other terrible junk that hurts our babies.

    1. Melissa says:

      Have you ever seen a breakdown of what’s actually in your breast milk? Chemicals. Sugars. Fats. (Oh my!) Furthermore, the idea that American formulas are full of scary chemicals & blended down Mc Donald’s ingredients are typically coming from non reputable fear mongerimg articles. Or worse, regurgitated Facebook group information. Anecdote time: I have two kids who were formula fed and miraculously avoided all the scary sicknesses, ear infections, asthma, allergies, etc. In 9 years of parenting I’ve still yet to see an ear infection or awful/frequent sickness, while several – and I mean several – of our EBF friends have kids who were in the first few years always getting sick. Some of these kids have severe allergies. Mine are also doing well in school & pretty darn smart. Is it all because of the formula? No, probably not. Just like breast milk also isn’t the magic cure either. But here’s a fact – formula helps babies thrive. So does breast milk, plus some awesome antibodies to boot. But don’t spread hyperbole fear mongerimg nonsense about formula.

      1. Lisa says:

        If someone wants to ff, whatever no skin off my nose, your choice. But I’ll never instance owls that say or even try to imply that breast milk is not the absolutw best option for babies. It’s factual that it is. Please learn about breast milk and it its production if you haven’t already. It’s really amazing. Did you know that the mother’said body takes in saliva/enzymes from the baby as it suckles, and her body changes the milk to meet the baby’s nutritional needs? Also, bm gives antibodies that formula does not. This among many other benefits not associated with Formula.

        You’re absolutely right that it most likely won’t affect your child in the long run in any noticeable way. I had to use formula for my dd because I was diagnosed with cancer shortly after her birth. She’s almost 12 and great in almost every way, emotionally, intellectually, etc. But that doesn’t mean bf isn’t the best option for the baby at the time, reason why many choose it.

  13. Julie says:

    What about a woman’s right to detailed information on both options in order to make a truly informed decision?

  14. Sada says:

    “The National WIC Association announced it’s decision”: wrong “its”. I-T-apostrophe-S is a contraction that means “it is”. I-T-S with no apostrophe indicates possession.

    Love the announement, though. It’s great news. I’m delighted that WIC has chosen to stop framing breastfeeding as an alternative to formula rather than the other way around.

  15. Eric says:

    So this is why my wife was lectured and essentially shamed by wic when she said that we’re choosing formula for our baby. Nevermind the long list of complications during labor, sleepless nights for mom and baby while trying to nurse. She wanted to nurse, it just wasn’t worth it in our situation. I get that nursing was getting a bad rep in the past, but after the birth of my son, between the hospital nursing consultant and the wic person, it looks like it has reversed to shame formula feeders.

    1. No this is NOT about shaming formula feeding moms at all. NWA provides education and advocacy for WIC. They are separate entities. I have been there and chose to supplement with my second baby. I understand where you’re coming from. With my third baby we had more knowledge and support to enable me to exclusively breastfeed for 14 months. Every baby is different!

      1. Pancakes says:

        Its not about shaming i agree but thats how they approach mothers that choose to formula feed thats what they did to me. They did it at the hospital n they did it at wic. They play the shaming game when they dont truely see bor understand the why mommas choose to formula feed their lil ones

        1. Melissa says:

          I’ve heard countless accounts and testimonies about how frustrating it is to need formula from WIC. They absolutely do shame moms and make them feel guilty for needing it. I’m all for encouragement, but when that ship has sailed, it crosses a line. I do believe it’s a result of overall lactivism tactics and it’s a widespread problem.

    2. Ella Fritz says:

      No, your wife was lectured because one employee at one agency overstepped their bounds. This is not indicative of the program as a whole.

      1. Adie says:

        Actually, from what I’ve heard from friends using WIC, this is more the norm than the exception, so I would say that it is absolutely indicative of the program as a whole.

  16. Hannah Aubut says:

    “By implementing more support and limiting the breast milk substitute options, more moms can find the help they need and deserve to breastfeed exclusively and for a longer period of time.”

    True or not, fuck this author for thinking limiting my choices supports me in any way. What about informed consent? Or, ya know, the fact that breast isn’t ALWAYS best?

    It should read: “By implementing more support and limiting the breast milk substitute options, more moms can be forced to suffer through serious mental health complications in order for their infant to survive, and be ripped of their right to choose what feeding option works best for their family regardless of socioeconomic status”

    1. Pancakes says:

      About 6 yrs ago i gave birth to twin girls n i remeber being told at wic that they wanted me to breastfees both them till they were at least 6 months old. They didnt want to give me formula, i was 17 n i had to go to school n deal with homework n breastfeed 2 baby girls who would eat at the same time. It was hard but my point is its not the first time they tried making mommas breastfeed

    2. Julie says:

      I totally agree. Personally, breastfeeding was not for me I had been given tons of information on breastfeeding, but I still opted for formula. How much information was given to me to make an informed decision on formula? Zilch. I had to do that research on my own. I wish women were given the same amount of information on both options.

    3. Hannah Aubut says:

      I see now the article has been edited, but I am still disappointed that someone who seems to have such a bias against Formula has such a voice.

      1. First, there was no insinuation on my part AT ALL regarding your previous comment. This was a COMMON mistake that was made due to my personal misunderstanding of the announcement. I had no previous information about this announcement prior to reading it on Saturday morning. This was post Sat afternoon and corrected after personally speaking to NWA by phone this morning. I find it saddening that you would make such a comment about me not knowing a thing about my story or why I was given the gift of this voice. I know the formula feeding life all to well. I have also recently experienced life recently with the optimal amount of support and resources and exclusively breastfed my youngest for 14 months. I have also exclusively pumped for another one of my children. I have no bias, just organic experience. It’s so interesting to have gone from pumping and formula feeding to breastfeeding exclusively. Many others try breastfeeding then decide to formula feed afterwards. I have love, appreciation, and compassion for both styles of feeding due to my bout with postpartum depression in 2008.

    4. Melissa says:

      Completely agree. Limiting our choices is never good. You mean backing us into a corner taking away our rights, making it a “you better breast feed or else” situation? This is absolutely wrong and completely un American.

  17. Carol Leonard says:

    Please thoroughly read the post before commenting. This has nothing to do with the support WIC offers mothers who need or choose to use formula. It is about refusing sponsorship from formula companies at a national conference. Just because WIC promotes breastfeeding (the ultimate baby milk), does not mean they do not support formula feeding mothers.
    Carol Leonard, RNC, IBCLC

    1. wifemamablog says:

      Seriously 🙂 it would be smart to read an article before commenting. SMH

      1. Teresa A says:

        Several of us have read the article thoroughly and are still concerned about the author’s comment regarding limiting alternatives to breastmilk for low income women. No one has yet to address this glaring problem with the article. No one is claiming that cutting marketing ties with the predatory formula companies is bad.

        1. Mindy says:

          I totally agree that all women should have the choice. Period. However, just because WIC (or whatever program) doesn’t offer it as readily doesn’t mean women aren’t getting a choice. They can still feed formula if they choose. Maybe they changed the wording after your comments but it currently reads “By implementing more support and limiting the breast milk substitute promotion…”. Promotion being the key word.

      2. Teresa A says:

        Also, the article was changed this morning. I read it several times last night and skimmed it this morning without noticing the replacement of the word “options” with the word “promotion” to the problematic sentence about limiting breastmilk alternatives.

    2. Amy says:

      Agreed

    3. Hannah Aubut says:

      There are a lot of insinuation made by the author unrelated to WICs actions.

  18. Jasmine says:

    And if you need help buying formula but can’t breastfeed? Then what?

    1. wifemamablog says:

      Read the article….

    2. Channa says:

      The percentage of women who truly have a medical inability to nurse is very low. Like less than 5%. With support and proper education, mothers whom once thought they were unable to produce, will quickly learn; THEY CAN with accurate info and support. <3
      If a mother chooses to formula feed or truly can not breastfeed, WIC will still provide formula.

      1. Lauren says:

        I am in that 5%. I had accurate info and tons of support- diagnosed with low milk supply due to not having enough mammary tissue, by a breastfeeding physician who is one of the best in bf medicine. The herbs and medications did not work for me and the specialist stated- “Formula was made for people like you. I like formula for the babies who truly need it.” She encouraged me to comfort nurse along with formula feeding my preterm baby. My lactation consultant showed me how to bf and how to bottle feed properly. Both of these women were in agreement with the neonatologist’s decision to use formula over donor milk as my child needed the extra calories. They also concluded that my body was not going to produce milk. I’m grateful for their support and my story needs to be told, uncommon as it is, mothers in my situation need proper education and guidance on formula and bottle feeding.

    3. Did you even read the whole article?

    4. Ella Fritz says:

      They still will provide the vouchers for formula, they will just not have booths for vendors at their conferences.

  19. Aj says:

    I agree with the previous posts regarding the needs of formula and I would like to add that some Mothers are very sick following the birth of their child/children and the medications they need in order to live are passed through breast milk, this means that any breastfeeding is just NOT an option.
    I hope this doesn’t turn into a bashing of mothers that cannot or simply chose not to breastfeed. And to not even mention that this has anything to do with money is very misleading. Formula is very expensive and the government is cutting budgets left and right. If they can convince mothers to not use formula, then it will cost the program less money. Which is my fear, that they will hide the fact that you can still get formula or it will turn into a regulation that the Mother must have a valid Dr “excuse” as to hey they need the formula. Just a few thoughts.

    1. The press release is clear that their efforts are specifically toward formula companies and not toward families needing/choosing formula.

    2. mariah Ackley says:

      I agree with you here. I gave birth 6 months ago with full intention of breastfeeding my child – unfortunately because of a long stressful labor my milk supply never came in. For 3 weeks I took supplement, had meetings with breastfeeding consultants and was pumping and placing child to breast every 2 hours. When they told me I would have to go to every hour and get a prescription drug to bring my milk in I drew the line. I was not getting sleep, my child was not getting sleep and how healthy can taking a prescription drug to bring in your breast milk be. I opted for formula. We are not a family that receives WIC however if we were I feel that this would be a situation where the mother put forth a reasonable effort to breast feed and was not physically able to and should qualify for the assistance as needed. It should not be a choice to formula feed in my opinion if you are receiving assistance. It is an added expense that is not necessary in most cases.

    3. Miranda says:

      It’s clear you didn’t read the article in it’s entirety. ” They are not withholding formula from families who need it. The NWA and WIC are two separate entities. This decision does not affect the support that will continue to be provided for formula feeding families. The NWA provides education and advocacy for the WIC program.” It’s a movement to educate, not to limit

      1. This was a recent update after the post went viral and got out of control. The general public is unaware that NWA and WIC are separate. I needed to clarify.

    4. tiffany says:

      It said in the statement above that they are NOT going to stop supplying formula to those families who need it but rather that they are going to stop advertising for such companies and be more educational to the mother’s who come in but ultimately it is the mother’s choice as to how they feed their children. Basically there going to stop giving out pamphlets about different formula companies…

    5. Brandi says:

      There is a program out there that helps you find a donar. You can still get breastmilk even if it isn’t from you. 🙂 Human milk for human babies. 🙂 It’s a milk bank check it out 🙂 it’s AWESOME!!!!!

  20. Teresa A says:

    I applaud WIC for severing marketing ties and promoting even more breastfeeding support for their families. By far the best breastfeeding advice I received was in the mandatory WIC class I took while still pregnant with my little one. I can confidently credit WIC and that class with setting the nursing relationship we had (exclusive breastmilk for 6 months, breastmilk on demand for 18 months, and finally weaning at age 2 and 6 months). It’s obvious that the predatory marketing of formula companies is at direct odds with the mission of WIC.

    What I find concerning, however, is this sentence in the post: “By implementing more support and limiting the breast milk substitute options, more moms can find the help they need and deserve to breastfeed exclusively and for a longer period of time.” Limiting options feels like a step in the opposite direction. Increase support, education, access, and normalization and you’ll increase breastfeeding rates. There is no reason to limit anything. There are a multitude of valid reasons why a parent on WIC might need an alternative to breastmilk – they shouldn’t be turned away or stigmatized any more than those of us who primarily or exclusively breastfeed the children in our care.

    1. Theresa I have since updated the post. I hope it provides you with more insight. Many people had similar questions on the social media post. I also noticed a typo as well that said limited options, it should have said promotions. The decision has to do with how the product is be marketed.

    2. Steph says:

      I dont agree with this. I have met women who had cancer or have medical issues and cannot produce breastmilk. They saw wic as a godsend….while everyones happy and promoting this, what about the women who CANT produce milk? Who because of so many treatments or are survivors have been told they cant produce milk? Despite that, again, some women cannot produce milk and i think this organization has forgotten that.

      1. Read the article. WIC has not made any claim to withhold formula from parents who need it. The National WIC Association is simply refusing to use their brand to market formula products to the families. It is a stand against formula companies, not against families who choose formula. This post is pretty clear about that.

  21. This has nothing to do with the WIC food packages. This is a statement that the formula companies cannot sponsor events and promote their products at the conferences. They need to avoid this huge conflict of interest. WIC provides education and offers formula to foster families, adoptive families, fathers with custody and moms who choose formula, but FIRST it must provide evidence-based information and education as a public health agency–it is the only thing to do.

  22. Jamie says:

    I am completely for wic wanting to help mothers breastfeed. I have been exclusively breastfeeding my daughter for just over 4 months now. My goal in a full year. I do however understand more mothers need help. I was in the hospital for 4 days after I had my daughter and from day one I was having issues getting my daughter to latch on my right side, I started asking for a lactation counselor to help me. I didn’t get the help until my 4th day.

    Will wic still help those mothers who do have medical issues that prevent them from breastfeeding?

  23. Cathy says:

    I really hope this isn’t true due to there may be mothers who can’t produce enough milk or the baby wants nothing to do with nursing or if the newborn gets adopted they have no choice but to do formula. Wic should not get rid of formula!! Wic is there to help families who can’t afford formula, I am one of those families and thank God my daughter is almost a year so I don’t have to go threw that but for the families that do I pray they keep formula on. I am not against nursing I tried with both kids and I didn’t produce enough

    1. Jo says:

      The article never stated that WIC was getting rid of the formula coupons…but that “NWA will no longer invite infant formula manufacturers to be members, exhibitors at conferences, advertisers or sponsors of events and activities.”

    2. Jess says:

      I’m a low supply Mom due to Insufficient Granular Tissue (IGT). I choose to Breatferd and supplement because I feel that any Breastmilk is better than none. I have used a Supplementing Nursing System (SNS) and bottles to supplement.

      I didn’t know that my daughter had an Upper Lip Tie and Posterior Tongue Tie which also worked against me. When my son was born he had Ties too and I had them revised immediately and while I’m still not capable of producing enough I am.now able to nurse my son and then offer a bottle since he wouldn’t nurse with the SNS.

      Tongue and Lip Tie are often overlooked and dismissed but they can and do cause trouble with breastfeeding and cause issues later on too.

      Dr. Ghaheri is a Doctor that specializes in Ties. He has a lot of great info on his site and there’s a Facebook group called Tongue Tied Babies Support Group that can help.
      http://www.drghaheri.com

    3. I had breast hypoplasia, a medical condition that is linked to low milk supply and underdeveloped breast tissue. I successfully breastfed 4 babies with the help of a lactation aid (Medela SNS), donor milk and formula. While I am grateful that formula was available, I wish I had been informed of donor milk as an option with my first. There is more that WIC can do in this area to support breastfeeding mothers and it is great they are taking this major step forward. It also helps to have a knowledgeable lactation consultant who is willing to accept that low milk supply does exist, and that it can be overcome with patent, caring support of the mother and baby, using a lactation aid if necessary.

Any thoughts?

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