Have you seen the recent ad campaign for Bittylab bottles? Last week they tweeted to new dads:
The idea is that the bottle is so much like a breast that your baby won’t know the difference and you can get your wife “back.”
As this blog post at Ms. so aptly notes,
When wives aren’t feeding their child, they shouldn’t be expected to be “reclaimed” by their husbands. Women aren’t property waiting around to be used by babies, husbands or anyone else.
Obviously, when you have a baby, your relationship with your partner has to readjust — as you find a new balance, there is less time for everyone. And it’s totally normal for non-nursing partners to feel, among their feelings, some jealousy of the new baby, even some resentment at the lessened attention from his mate. There are a lot of ways to cope with the big relationship changes that happen when you add a baby to your life.
It’s just … ‘reclaim’? Was she his chattel before the baby annexed her?
Bittylab touts the bottle as “mom-invented” as though this undoes the annoying misogyny of the “Your Body And Attention Actually Belong To Your Dude And Your Baby Is An Interloper” message. But the idea of a bottle as “liberating you” from your baby is all wrong — it sets up the mom as a slave to her baby, instead of what she is: an adult caring for him and calling the shots.
I am not saying it’s wrong to use a bottle. I’m saying the idea of the bottle as something that “sets you free” implies that breastfeeding is a kind of slavery. You may indeed, sometimes, feel like a slave. We all have our hyperbolic moments. I suggest you keep these thoughts to a minimum and try to reframe it, and think of motherhood as demanding, but not demeaning.
And when we suggest that the bottle sets you free so that you can take care of your man?
WTF year is it?!
It reminds me of that essay last year by Erica Jong protesting the way that new moms get involved with their babies (rather than going to parties, as she apparently did after her daughter was born) and saying, reproachfully, that when a woman “breastfeed[s] at all hours” her mate feels that her “breasts don’t belong to him,” and this is bad.
Your breasts don’t belong to your mate. Your body is yours. If you’ve chosen to have a baby, there are difficult moments and wonderful moments. You’re entitled to find it hard or complicated; you’re entitled to want a break; you’re entitled to think creatively about what might give you a break; you’re entitled to try to design a life where you get what you need in order to meet all your responsibilities. None of that is wrong or inappropriately selfish.
But don’t support a company that tries to get your money by telling you you’re a slave and that your real job is to service your man.