Empathy not personal choice wins

I was having an awesome time reading Gabrielle Palmers’ book the politics of breastfeeding until I came across the quote from Dr William Cadogan essay which in my opinion degraded a mother’s ability to nurture her child. To ensure I wasn’t just repeating the authors’ interpretation of the doctors words I searched the internet and found a quote which painted a fuller but more disconcerting picture.

“It is with great pleasure I see at last the perseveration of children become the care of men of sense….this business has been too long fatally left to the management of women, who cannot be supposed to have proper knowledge to fit them for such a task.”  An essay upon nursing and the management of children from their birth to three years of age published in 1748 by Dr William Cadogan.

Granted he made this statement in an era were gender equality was a myth, unfortunately so many people in today’s society still share similar sentiments though sometimes expressed differently or perhaps not so bluntly. This is especially true with regards to the breastfeeding – bottle feeding debate. I am a strong advocate of breastfeeding for however long a woman chooses to but I can understand a woman’s decision to bottle-feed her child. Each mother has a reason for choosing which route to take and until you can empathizer with her you stand a very slim chance of winning her over to your camp. There are situations where facts and harsh truths must be used but in most cases empathy wins people over.


  • Breast milk is more nutritious than baby formula.
  • Breast milk provides antibody protection for babies than formula.
  • Breastfeeding has advantages for mum as well.
  • Cost wise breastfeeding is cheaper over the long run: health wise and budget wise.
  • Breastfeeding can be done by a mother anywhere in the world: developed or third world country without any fear of contamination.
  • Every woman is endowed by nature with the ability to breastfeed except in a few rare cases. (I have read stories of women who experienced various obstacles during the initiation of breastfeeding and problems of different natures during their breastfeeding journey but tried different solutions e.g. diet change till they re-established breastfeeding).
  • Breastfeeding in public is not sacrilegious. Nudist walk around bearing all, people make out in public constantly with kids looking on why people don’t scream in outrage at that is beyond me.

For detailed information on some of the above please visit kellymom.com


Image courtesy: http://imgbuddy.com/
Image courtesy: http://imgbuddy.com/
  • Listen to their reasons for choosing differently.
  • Systematically give reasons in response to issues raised.
  • Don’t become too personally attached.
  • Address the issue not the personality.
  • In all cases applaud the mother for nurturing a healthy growing child: that in itself is no mean fit.

This does not apply solely to breastfeeding – bottle feeding issues: it relates to everyday situations. We must find a way to step down from our royal throne of “people” judgement to walk in their shoes maybe not for a mile but for a while at least.

3 thoughts on “Empathy not personal choice wins

  1. Empathy with others is a key word in so many issues. The breastfeeding – bottlefeeding debate has always been hotly discussed and not always empathetically. When I had my children I opted for breast-feeding for all the reasons you list. My mother-in-law, however, viewed it as something quite distasteful, and made that abundantly clear to me. Naturally, I took no notice. Good post.

    Liked by 1 person

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