‘I Just Said Boob In Front Of The Capitol:’ Mommyish At The First Annual Great Nurse-In

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The Great Nurse In 2012

Rachel Papantonakis and her son

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s recent “Latch On” initiative has been controversial, with many women objecting to the idea that formula will be less readily available to women who can’t or don’t want to breastfeed their babies. Dr. Duane continued, “The idea of locking things up, then it becomes more difficult. The problem is formula feeding is driven by pharmaceutical companies. They make money off of giving women formula. And because there’s such a demand on nurses’ time, it’s easier for them to give a bottle of formula.”

When I mentioned to Rachel Papantonakis that lots of non-breastfeeding moms feel attacked by the rhetoric behind lactivism, she said: “I had a lactation consultant in the hospital bully me into breastfeeding. Because there’s this concern about formula, the lactation consultants have to be that much more forceful…and I’m hoping that normalizing breastfeeding will make it so that lactation consultants will become more toned down….just because breastfeeding is natural, it doesn’t mean it comes naturally. And when we have limits to information and to support, that’s when we fail. These mommywars are ridiculous to me. It’s not about what you decide. It’s making sure that you make that decision.”

The Great Nurse-In was sponsored by The Breastfeeding Center of Greater Washington, which serves about 100 people a day at their location, as well as Bringing Home Baby and Community of Hope, an organization that supports homeless and low-income families in the D.C. area.

Whatever your attitudes towards or experiences with breastfeeding, there’s no question that the right to public breastfeeding should be supported. The Great Nurse-In was the first annual event, and I hope that the important work of raising awareness will serve to make breastfeeding normal: for parents, for babies, and more importantly, for generations of parents and babies to come.

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