My Facebook feed exploded on Friday, as the circulation of an article by Fort Worth, TX Magazine calling breastfeeding “icky” began to circulate. The piece in question was an advice column written by Molly Forthright. A reader was asking for advice on a breastfeeding mom at church who sat in the row ahead of them at church and seemed to distract the reader by feeding her child. Ms. Forthright started her response with “Ick.” and then said the mother was “putting on a show in the house of the Lord”.
She writes about her pet peeves of things people do in church and includes disruptive children. You know, like the kind that scream and cry if they aren’t being fed when they get hungry. Oh, but don’t breastfeed them.
Ms. Fortright then compares breastfeeding in church to clipping fingernails in church, talking on a cellphone in church, or eating a tunafish sandwich in church. She encourages her reader to do all three next time he/she sees this woman breastfeeding in church while sitting next to her.
I’m not going to get into the religious aspect of this topic since I’m not a churchgoer, although I’ve never seen a depiction of Mary bottle feeding Jesus. I will say that breastfeeding is NOT an invitation for ridicule or harassment, regardless of where it happens.
The irony is that Fort Worth is home to several large breastfeeding organizations, including the Human Milk Banking Association of North America’s headquarters and Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas. There’s also a growing breastfeeding coalition and several breastfeeding support groups. Every hospital in the county is a part of a program looking to bridge the large drop in breastfeeding rates that occur after initiation. The magazine appears to be a big sponsor of an upcoming NICU support group’s large fundraiser of the year. In fact, the NICU group’s ad runs alongside the article in an online version of the magazine (see page 94-95).
For a writer to write a scathing response to such a question is sad. For a magazine to publish it online and in print is irresponsible and it makes me very angry.
As of this writing, the magazine has yet to issue a response to the deluge of emails, tweets, Facebook posts and messages, and phone calls it has received. I’ll be sure to update with a response if it is provided. A few moms have reported receiving a canned email stating,
The opinions of our columnists do not always reflect the views of the magazine staff at large. From an editorial perspective, we feel it is of the utmost importance to include real voices from local writers whose words often inspire, challenge or otherwise make us stop to think about an issue we normally wouldn’t give second thought to.
The email also suggests that we check out their April issue about Alzheimer’s disease and spring fashion. A nurse-in is being planned for this week. It will be called off if the magazine acknowledges their mistake before next Friday.
Hmm, this sure seems like a strong argument for HB 1706….