Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Thoughts on breast feeding

The Internet, or at least the places I hang out at on the Internet, is a buzz with people arguing over a mother's right to breast feed her child in public.

Some people say it is "gross". Some people think it is "indecent". Some think that they "shouldn't have to see that".

I read things like this and my blood pressure just shoots through the roof. How can a mother feeding her baby the way nature intended be offensive? In case anyone forgot, that's what boobs are actually for; you know, feeding babies. Our society has sexualized boobs (along with essentially all parts of the female body) and breast feeding had previously fallen out of common practice in the later 20th century, so I can see how people would forget that boobs are for feeding babies. People tend to forget things they aren't constantly exposed to. They also tend to be uncomfortable with things they aren't exposed to. That's ok. That's part of being human.

What is NOT ok is for someone to make a mother feel guilt, shame, embarrassment or discomfort for feeding her baby because YOU are "uncomfortable". Lots of things in this world make me uncomfortable, like watching someone spank their children or men who wear socks with sandals, but I would never comment on how others chose to go about their lives. Children have to be disciplined and I suppose some men get cold feet when they wear sandals. I may not like it, but they aren't hurting me or anyone else, so whatevs. Do what you do, people. Breast feeding is just like that. Babies have to eat. It's not hurting anyone (quite the opposite really) so people need to say "whatevs".

The argument that infuriates me the most, and the one I hear most often here in good ole South, is the argument that boobs are "private parts" and women should be "modest". Ummmm, no. Just, no. My boobs were designed to feed a baby. They are not sexual organs. I'm sorry that society or religion has misled you to believe that they are "dirty" and should be covered, but that's just not the truth. Women should be proud of their bodies and NEVER be ashamed of them, but especially when their bodies are carrying out freaking LIFE-SUSTAINING processes. It's a pretty cool thing that my body can create, carry, deliver, and nourish a whole other separate person. My body, including my boobs, uterus, cervix, and vagina, are doing some pretty amazing things. I am not ashamed of that. I will not attempt "modesty" to cover up the badass-ness that is my female body doing exactly what nature intended it to do. Sorry that men are uncomfortable with me being so awesome. My awesome boobs are going to feed my awesome baby. There is nothing to be ashamed of and certainly no reason to be "modest" about the amazing things my body can do.

I'm not saying YOU have to go out in public and breast feed. If you want to do it privately at home, cool. If you want to nurse with a cover in public, cool. If you want to go to a private area or bathroom, cool. But if my baby is hungry and I'm busy grocery shopping, I'm not going home, getting a hot, clunky cover, or going to the unsanitary bathroom. I'm going to hold my baby and feed him, right there in the cereal aisle. I'm not trying to make you uncomfortable, I'm not trying to make a political statement, and I'm certainly not trying to show off my tiny, yet still stretch marked boobs. I'm just trying to feed my kid. If your kid was hungry, i would expect you to stick a bottle/snack in his/her mouth. Why can't I do the same?

I'm writing this 38 weeks pregnant. I've never actually nursed a baby. Come to think of it, I've never seen anyone nurse a baby in person. But I am a woman who intends (to the best of my ability) to breast feed my son.

What I'm trying to say is, women, do what you are comfortable with. Just feed your baby however you see fit. Society, stop judging and shaming women, especially mothers trying to feed their babies.

Nicole

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