I’m not a fan of the catchphrase “breast is best!” being shouted from the rooftops by people who think babies should only be fed breastmilk. It perpetuates the polarization of mothers: breastmilk vs formula, instead of just supporting one another in parenthood, which is a tough enough job to begin with. That being said, I worked very hard to breastfeed Big Brother and let him decide when he was done. We nursed just past two years. [Yes, allowing the child to decide when they are done with breastfeeding is the biologically healthy thing to do.] It was a difficult road for us in the beginning, but I was determined that I wanted him to be breastfed, and the conviction that I was doing what I felt was best for my child is what fueled me on in the early weeks. That, and the endless support of my loving husband.
I think it’s very important to support families who choose breastfeeding, because there is still a lot of stigma out there surrounding the actual act of it being done. It’s unfortunately common to hear “I’m all for breastfeeding, but I don’t want to see it”. Why is it so horrible for a mother to breastfeed her baby wherever and whenever the baby needs nourishment? I am not an extroverted person, but this is something that is very important to me (proper nutrition and natural wellness), so I choose to breastfeed my babies as needed, wherever we are, without worrying much about what people think. I will turn aside a bit if the situation warrants (recently, I discovered that my bathing suit isn’t very breastfeeding-friendly, so I had to basically use our wrap to create a little screen…but I didn’t cover his head because it was rather hot outside).
But I do think that if someone doesn’t want to see a mother feeding her baby, they should just look at something else. Rarely do you see the whole breast, and in my experience that kind of exposure only happens for a brief moment, if something isn’t going well. In that case, having sympathy for a woman trying hard to do something good for her child would certainly be a kinder thing than chiding her and shaming her. It says a lot about our culture that you see skimpy bathing suits, tiny dresses, etc on women – and girls – and it’s considered acceptable, but a mother breastfeeding her child is considered obscene. How did we get so turned around?
So the point I’m trying to make here is kindness, compassion, and support. Please, for the love of the mother’s sanity, don’t be the person who totally ruins her day by turning what should be an ordinary moment into a horrifying memory filled with at best, anger and at worst, shame. Let’s all unite in supporting breastfeeding families! Speaking of that, check out what Mama Bean Parenting has to say about the United Nations’ stance on breastfeeding support!