For the past seven years, my entire life has been about breastfeeding. I’ve breastfed two children. I’ve pumped on airplanes, in hotels, locker rooms, bathrooms, meetings and even on YouTube (yes, that’s one of my claims to fame. All in a day’s work for a startup co-founder!). I’ve changed my diet, my clothes, my schedule to accommodate the feeding of these two little guys.
And there’s my day job – I’m a breast pump manufacturer and a Certified Lactation Counselor. I spend all my working hours (and many, many evenings and weekends) better understanding the mechanics of breastfeeding, the hardware and software involved in pumping, the shape of breasts and the weight of milk. We’ve gone deep down the rabbit hole of answering every possible question from the right temperature of milk storage to the length of battery life of a pump to the sound the suction makes.
So when the formula crisis hit America, and parents trying to feed their babies were left scrambling with few options, you’d think this would be the type of “market opportunity” or “economic advantage” (to use that business school-speak) that a breast pump manufacturer would love, right? Aren’t we all looking for that leg up?
Wrong. Dead wrong. Absolutely wrong.
And so, during World Breastfeeding Week, Babyation would like to yet again reaffirm its unwavering stance that parents should feed their babies whatever is right for their families. Fed is best. Full stop. For anyone with a baby, we share the same goal: feed that child and allow them to thrive. Generations have squabbled over formula vs. breastfeeding and it’s been to everyone’s detriment. At Babyation, we’re doing what we can to support families who feed babies in whatever way they choose, because fed is best means fed is best. Even, and especially, during World Breastfeeding Week.
This doesn’t mean that our quest for making the perfect breast pump doesn’t matter. It also doesn’t mean that we don’t want to celebrate our wonderful customers and all breastfeeding mamas across the country. On the contrary, part of “fed is best” is making sure that breastfeeding moms have a pump that is discreet, comfortable, and efficient. The calculus about choosing what to feed one’s baby is impacted by new and improved breast pump technologies.
But despite being proud of the innovation in a product like ours, I remain outraged that more hasn’t been done to help parents find formula for their kids. I am also livid that parents still face draconian policies – high hospital birthing costs, no federally-mandated paid time off to do so, and exorbitant childcare fees in a system that relies on individuals to subsidize what should be a public good.
So let’s band together and get our priorities straight – fed is best, no matter if a baby is consuming breast milk or formula. And parents deserve better. These aren’t mutually exclusive – these goals are one and the same.
Samantha Rudolph is a certified lactation consultant and our founder and CEO.