The discussion continues over on Valerie McClain's blog about whether HM4HB uses PR, and if that is a signal that it is an astroturf organization and not a true grassroots, global network of Facebook communities run by volunteer admins and serving families and babies who want to donate or receive human milk. One more time I've responded to Valerie's posts mischaracterizing my involvement and alluding to a funded PR machine and making the general assumption that all PR is inherently bad and therefore if PR was used by HM4HB then HM4HB must be bad.
My last post on the matter over there is repeated below.
I am asking that we take the debate to where I think it really belongs and I'd be happy to have that debate continue here.
This is my further response to Valerie McClain's latest comments on HM4HB and public relations:
This is getting a bit ridiculous.
The original claim by Valerie was that HM4HB may not be what it appears. She noted the move to change names from Eats on Feets Global to Human Milk 4 Human Babies Global and said it looked to her that at about that time PR people got ahold of the thing. She questioned whether HM4HB is what it appears to be. There was the inference of a secret PR machine and she wondered who was providing the money for that machine. It isn't an invalid question, it's just based on assumptions that turn out to be not correct.
When I stepped forward and identified myself as having done volunteer PR work in an attempt to replace assumptions with fact, Valerie then chose to misinterpret a number of posts from HM4HB admins who were also attempting to set the record straight. We now have Valerie taking what I have said all along - that I have, as a volunteer, done public relations work with HM4HB, and using my own words to defend herself further. The situation is further muddied by the fallacious argument that all PR is bad and therefore if PR was used by HM4HB that must be bad, so we have both me and now my profession dragged through the mud.
What if we set aside the discussion about public relations and instead talk about your main point in your original blog post - at least I think it's your main point. Does milksharing, (and milk banking) threaten the practice of breastfeeding? Are we putting too much focus on feeding the human baby human milk and not enough focus on how the human milk is fed? Are you saying, Valerie, there are corporate interests who would welcome more milksharing and more milk banking because they think it will ultimately result in less breastfeeding? Does that present them with an opportunity to profit from the sale of everything from infant formula, (necessary if both mom’s milk and the supply of donor milk dry up,) to breast pumps and plastic baggies and bigger freezers and Styrofoam coolers and at-breast supplementers? I'd like to see the discussion move back to that issue, as it is important and not something we should be ignoring while we bat around straw men.
So what do you think, folks? Does milksharing (and milk banking) harm or help breastfeeding?