Monday, April 11, 2011

You know what they say about making assumptions, Parents Connect?

When I found out I was pregnant, I signed up for the Parents Connect Weekly Pregnancy Newsletter. I liked reading about how my baby was developing and what was new for him that week. These emails (used to) continue to this day. They sent me news and tips regarding my son's extrauterine development. I usually enjoyed these emails. I found them quirky.

This all changed this past week when I receieved the "Your 13-Month-Old" newsletter. The subject? "Baby Bottle to Cup."

Here is the main portion:

"the baby bottle: It's your kids' best friend. His ultimate comfort object. His ticket to a blissed-out milk coma anytime, anywhere. Yep, it's his beloved bottle and the thought of tearing it away from your kid is tearing you apart. We feel you, but try not to stress. He'll survive–and even thrive–once your toddler says bye-bye to the bottle."

Look at that: an extended breastfeeding booby-trap. How novel of you, Parents Connect.

Here's my response:

The baby bottle is not my kid's best friend. It is not his ultimate comfort object: I am. It is not his ticket to a blissed-out milk coma, anytime, anywhere: I am. The thought of tearing my breast away from my kid doesn't just tear me apart; it scares me (he has teeth! I can't imagine tearing my breast out of his mouth)! My kid may survive without my breast, but I really doubt he would thrive. He is happy and healthy, all without the aid of the formula or cow's milk that you assume he is drinking out of the bottle to which you assume he is attached. Even if you play the "there could be breast milk in that bottle" card, I will call your bluff.

Am I being overly sensitive? I don't think so. Messages like those sent by Parents Connect, whether the meaning is implicit or explicit, serve to further alienate breastfeeding moms. They make breastfeeding seem like an "alternative" lifestyle and, in turn, make bottle-feeding (and, implicitly, formula-feeding) an increasingly mainstream choice.

Here's a suggestion, Parents Connect. Why don't you rethink your mission and re-analyze the way you choose to disseminate your information to consider whether or not these particular assumptions, and any others you might be making, are disrespectful or harmful to your intended audience. And while you're at it, you might want to consider the old adage: "When you assume ..." I'll let you fill in the blank that applies to you. One thing's for sure, though: you won't make an a** out of me.

A former subscriber (and recent unsubscriber)

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