Have you noticed that apathy is cool? I began noticing in college and although it's less pronounced with my peers now, that attitude is still common. It's cool to have a "cause" with which you're involved, perhaps a t-shirt or catchy slogan. But once you get emotionally involved or start trying to influence other people? Calm down. It's not that important.
So if an issue is important to you, it's necessary to have an answer to, "What's the big deal?" For me, breastfeeding is a big deal. Here's why.
1. Women deserve accurate information. Baby formula is a for-profit business with a substantial presence in marketing. That's fine. I have no problem with companies being able to market their products. But health professionals (midwives, OBGYNs, pediatricians, nurses, etc.) need to work diligently to provide the other side of the story. An expectant mother needs to be fully educated about the pros and cons of both formula and breastfeeding to make an informed decision. (Hint: There are significant health benefits to moms, too!)
2. Babies deserve to be healthy. Breast milk is the best nutrition a baby can receive. Although formula can literally be a life-saver in certain circumstances, it will never equal the nutritional value of breast milk. If a mother cannot nurse her own child or cannot provide enough milk, the next step can be seeking donated breast milk. Supplemental formula can be considered if donated breast milk is unavailable.
3. Families deserve independence. While breastfeeding costs the mother's time and increased caloric needs, the financial cost of formula is steep. If a child has an allergic reaction to certain types of formula, the financial cost can be astronomical. (It is exceedingly rare for a child to be allergic to breast milk.) Breastfeeding frees families from dependence on prepared formula, with the requirements to carry around formula and bottles. Also, no more late-night grocery runs or stumbling to the kitchen to heat a bottle.
4. Finally, mothers and children deserve respect. What frustrates me most about our current lack of support for breastfeeding is the disturbing prejudice against breastfeeding, particularly in public. I know multiple women who consider breastfeeding to be disgusting and would never consider nursing their children. As a society, I think it is extremely important to stop viewing breasts as purely sexual and to recognize the value of feeding our children. Women are not sex objects. Children are not manipulative parasites. Breastfeeding is good.
Disclaimer: I don't think parents who use formula are bad parents. I don't think their children are doomed to be less intelligent or unloved. I do think it is unfortunate that so many children end up on formula, but I think this is a societal problem. If society encouraged breastfeeding, provided adequate information to expectant parents, and supported breastfeeding women by allowing the time and space they needed, fewer parents would have to choose. They could give their kids the best nutrition AND stay healthy and sane themselves.