Guest Author - Nicki Heskin
I am not a Breastfeeding Nazi. I happen to be a Jew, so perhaps I am hyper-aware of the use of this term, but even if I were not, I find its use, thrown around so casually in our society, to be repugnant. Those who call someone a Nazi for being passionate about something, whether breastfeeding or any other topic, are not cute and do not create a compelling metaphor. Rather they look completely ignorant of and insensitive to the scope of evil that took place during this dark period in world history.
Just to review, Nazis were a political party during World War II that followed an insane and depraved man into exterminating upwards of 6 million innocent people. Hitler and the Nazis took advantage of depressed economic conditions to falsely scapegoat groups of people they disliked and target them for murder. Under the Nazis, Germany attacked and invaded the better part of a continent in a campaign for power and with a goal of genocide.
Coming into a hospital room to suggest you breastfeed your child and offering assistance to do it (even if that assistance is unwanted, doesn’t work or is in some way flawed), doesn’t make someone a Nazi. Spreading the word that breast milk is (accurately) healthier for babies than formula, even if that has the side effect of making a mother who fed formula feel badly about that, doesn’t make someone a Nazi. Contradicting misinformation and myths spread by others, however well-meaning, about breastfeeding, even if done with less than perfect tact, does not make someone a Nazi.
Name-calling someone a Nazi for doing their job, spreading knowledge or expressing a passion is incredibly insulting and inappropriate. Those like myself who are insulted by these terms are not oversensitive, or needlessly “PC.” We simply refuse to allow ourselves and the memories of the millions and millions of victims of the Nazi regime to be degraded in this manner.
If you have ever used this term casually or jokingly to refer to someone, please take note of the real implications of this use. Rather than chafe against the reality of what you said and choose to diminish its importance as a defense, accept that you didn’t fully process the full impact of this term. Take the opportunity to choose to not use this insult any longer. There are true “Nazis” left in this world, who want to harm or oppress others simply for being who they are. Lactation professionals and well-meaning mothers are not among them.