As soon as Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, announced her pregnancy those of us in the early years parenting trenches knew this moment was coming: “We NEED the Duchess of Cambridge to breastfeed.”
Do we — or British women — really need Kate Middleton to breastfeed?
I have breastfed both of my kids in line with the WHO recommended guidelines. With my first I had almost the full range of issues: supply problems, then oversupply, cracks, bleeding and two rounds of mastitis. Oh, and candida. And I kept going. So I promise that when I say this, I completely get why breastfeeding is valuable and I highly recommend considering it. That said:
You can be a fantastic mother, and choose formula feeding. Not only that, but it is a woman’s right to decide. And yes, I’ll extend that to Kate Middleton. There are some choices that I think we can ask our public figures to make as a part of their civic duties. Be decent human beings. Show up for the job for which you are paid. Do not neglect your children physically or emotionally.
And then there are choices to do with a woman’s body that are hers to make.
There are reasons “breast is best,” and I am all for breastfeeding-friendly hospitals, policies and direct help like the City of Toronto provides, our world-class Canadian maternity leave available to many working moms and other societal supports. That, plus information, is what women truly need. How you feed your baby is not a celebrity fad.
In the end, breastfeeding is just one parenting decision out of hundreds, if not thousands.
This decision is all Kate’s. Her baby and her breasts.