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The internet rewards website Swagbucks rewards members for using their search engine and performing other easy tasks. Users collect the "Swagbucks" and use them to "buy" rewards such as gift cards. One task that users can complete is voting in a daily poll, and the poll for June 19 is, "How old is too old to breastfeed?" Really, Swagbucks?
Photo credit: Swagbucks
A personal, judgmental question
I know that the company probably has a heck of a time coming up with topics. You can only ask the same mindless question once, and there are hundreds of poll topics they must come up with each year. They do ask for user input, which is smart, because I don't think I would be able to come up with interesting questions every day either.
And I do realize that not all of the topics are lighthearted — a question asked in February read, "If your pet and a total stranger were drowning, who would you attempt to save first?" — but most questions are a little more simple than that, such as, "What do you use when washing your face?"
But (you knew that was coming, right?), this particular question was asked by Swagbucks staffers and is just a little too personal, a little too judgmental and while I'm sure it's good for their own website traffic, it was just done in poor taste.
We should be furthering breastfeeding dialogue
The options users have to select are as follows: "6 months," "12 months," "18 months," "24 months," "It's really up to the mother" and "Other - let us know in the comments." While I realize that Swagbucks is certainly not a parenting website, it's still a huge bummer to see a mainstream media portal continuing to further the notion that breastfeeding is icky, especially breastfeeding past infancy.
New moms who wish to breastfeed have enough battles to wage without some silly site alluding that breastfeeding past 6 months would be considered too old by someone. And the invitation to "let us know in the comments" of course drew my eyes downward, and I did begrudgingly read a few. Some were surprisingly supportive of full-term breastfeeding, but others trickled down into the drivel that unfortunately makes up the bulk of much online chatter about breastfeeding.
You might wonder how the question is judgmental. Well, another way to look at it is the site is asking people to decide how long a mother can breastfeed before it's no longer acceptable. While not everyone cares what other people think, encouraging others to decide how long is "too" long doesn't help normalize breastfeeding itself, and also breastfeeding past infancy.
I know we have a long way to go, but putting stupid polls up that deal with breastfeeding just brings the dialogue backwards and does nothing for moms who breastfeed — and their babies.