Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Breastfeeding Crazy Lady strikes (BCL) again.

Was in NTUC last night grocery shopping when a woman approached me in the baby section. Going by accent alone, she seemed like a Chinese national.

"Excuse me miss, can you tell me which brand is better for newborns?" she asked, brandishing a can of formula and nodding towards the shelves.

"None," says the BCL promptly. "Breast is best."

"But there isn't enough breastmilk," she replied and then waves towards the shelves again. "Which brand is better?"

"None. They are all the same." I was going to add my usual rant and spiel about how these money-grubbing companies use inferior products, slap fancy marketing and artificial hormones and additives in their ever pathetic bids to mimic nature's food for babies, but sadly, I was hampered by the woefully teensy Chinese vocab I have.

"Really," I gave a last-ditch attempt. "You should try again at feeding breastmilk. It really is what babies need."

Whereupon she gave me the look others usually give the BCL and other assortment of crazies, blinked and turned away. How rude. Not even a thank you. Too bad. There goes 10 IQ points down the drain. I actually wanted to dig out my handphone and give her the nearest LC's number but the cold shoulder and frigid temperatures now emanating from her told me that it would not be wise.

Standing far enough to distance himself from any hint of relationship with the BCL, KH sniggered. This morning in the car, he asked me what last night's encounter was all about. So he got my pent-up earful of a BCL rant instead!

I thought about it. Was I really not helpful? In such a situation, would it not be more polite to just point in one direction instead of pushing the breastfeeding issue? Could the BCL not have opened her mouth? Or could she have said it differently? But in all good conscience, I really could not recommend any brand. I WAS telling the truth - none were good. I did not know of any brand of formula that was 'superior'.

Oh well, I guess to the general public, I really come across as a BCL. Difference is, I am a trained BCL! Haha. I know I didn't do it deliberately to press her buttons or to belittle her choices. I told the truth to the best of my knowledge. After reading so much about breastfeeding and formula over the years and in the course of my studies as a birth educator, I guess my knowledge of breastfeeding, breastmilk and formula runs deeper than the average Jane out there. Ironic then, that all this knowledge is just sharply distilled into one line and a two-minute encounter between the shelves of a supermarket.

Sigh. I really should brush up on my Chinese. Who knows when the BCL will get another opportunity to come forth?


mummyof3 said...

hi BCL!

i relate but you're right, a better grasp of chinese might have helped you explain a bit more. but if the lady wasn't willing to listen there's nothing you cld have done, in any language.

it's a sensitive situation (i have difficulty talking to friends abt it, what more with strangers). if you're willing to extend help (and be willing to spend time and effort) perhaps it might have convinced her a bit but it's still a long shot.

anyways, i just blogged abt cow's milk recently too. and did you see the latest ad on follow on milk for 7yo and above?? amazing.

mummyof3 said...

another thot: do you want to be more than a BCL and be a BFE (evangelist)?

tt tks a LOT of time and effort and patience (and a lot of disappointment too).

i thot i was an aspiring BFE at one point but am too tired and jaded now. so i only give out info (carefully) when i'm asked.

in this situation, perhaps a straight answer such as "i don't know, i breastfeed my newborns, i don't think any of them is as good as breastmilk" might have been a little more well-received. it might have created a little conversation, may not have changed her mind but may have made her think? of course, all this is with benefit of hindsight.

jm2c. : )

Momto5 said...

You're probably right. And far more tactful and sensitive than me! I think I can be too blunt for my own good sometimes. The lines between a BFE and a BCL get blurry for me.

mummyof3 said...

good tt you speak your mind. i'm too timid and deferential to do so most times. in your situation, i probably wld have shrugged and walked off, not able or willing to help and not brave enough (and not enough chinese vocab!) to speak up.

as for the lines blurring, i try to remember tt as much as i have truth n fact n knowledge on my side, if i care even a little abt spreading the bf msg i shd clothe the msg nicely so it's more likely to be taken and rebuffed. easier said than done, i know, hence my tendency to keep mum most times.:-(