Michelle vs. the Michelles: A Breast-Feeding Throwdown

Filed under: In The News, Breast-Feeding


To celebrate the anniversary of her "Let's Move!" anti-obesity campaign, Michelle Obama is talking up the health benefits of breast-feeding and new government incentives that she hopes will encourage more moms to nurse and hopefully, curb childhood obesity.

But two other Michelles, Michelle Bachman and Michelle Malkin, breast-feeding moms themselves, are challenging her "nanny state" approach to the issue.

Look, I'm the first to agree that Obama's obesity campaign is an ineffective use of taxpayer dollars. Do we really need another government program to tell us that Oreos, Hot Pockets, Dr Pepper and Big Macs will make kids fat -- especially if they're also sitting in front of the television or computer instead of playing outside?

We like our first ladies to champion a good cause, and breast-feeding awareness is a very worthy one, but too often, Obama's "good deeds" entail government task forces, federal agencies and more mandates and spending.

Malkin calls the studies Obama cites linking obesity to baby formula "junk science." Meanwhile, Bachman criticizes the first lady for offering a tax break on breast pumps. I'm a fan of the feisty and fearless conservative Michelles, but couldn't they at least give props to Obama for championing privacy for nursing moms in the workplace and encouraging a "family friendly" practice that has so many proven benefits for babies? After all, Obama isn't mandating nursing or pumping rooms at the office. She issued a press release from the Surgeon General encouraging employers to consider the benefits to moms, babies and workplace morale and retention. Can't women on both sides of the aisle put aside the politics for a second and at least call a truce on that?

During a recent visit to the U.S. Capitol, I was relieved when I discovered a small designated room where I could nurse my baby and I praised Rep, Nancy Pelosi for making the room possible for moms who would otherwise be hauling in breast pumps and extension cords and sitting on a toilet in a bathroom stall. It's fair to say that Pelosi was in a position to accommodate moms on the Hill, but plenty of employers are also doing it, and I'm certain many more would voluntarily follow with a little awareness.

Ignorance, not cold heartedness, is the obstacle here, and the vast majority of business owners are not the big, mean capitalists so many liberals paint them out to be.

I'll never forget when, as a first-time mom, I tried to nurse my fussy baby in a restaurant booth. Frustrated, I went to a chairless bathroom where I tried in vain to calm her down and nurse her while standing up. Thankfully, a kind, more experienced mom who had been watching followed me into the bathroom with a chair, washed her hands and offered to hold the baby while I got comfortable. She then handed me a calmer baby who was ready to eat. As I nursed, the woman told me what a wonderful mom I was for trying and gently encouraged me not to give up on nursing -- something I might have done on that day, left to my own frustration and humiliation. When I left the restaurant, I smiled as I drove past a billboard with a picture of a mom rocking her child and the simple message, "Support a nursing mom."

Now isn't that a bipartisan, pro-family message we can all agree on?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.