Monday, August 26, 2013

Let's talk about breasts, baby!

I have never been super zealous in any of the mommy wars. I'm pretty much the live and let live type of mom. I vaccinate, left my son intact, formula fed my son (reasons being unimportant) and currently breastfeed my daughter, let my little boy play with girl toys if he wants and grow his hair long and wear nail polish, we don't spank, we eat well, but leave a little room for moderation when it comes to junk food. I don't attack people that feel differently, or give my opinion without being asked as a general rule, even when I feel strongly one way or the other. I'm basically very easy to please, and very easy to get along with. Which is probably why I wouldn't have called myself a breastfeeding advocate in the past.

Oh how that has changed. I am still very pro-choice about parenting decisions. You wanna formula feed? Go for it. I'm not going to harass anyone. I formula fed my son. It's not the end of the world. However breastfeeding my daughter I've come to a major realization: People suck ass, and I HAVE to advocate for myself and other women who choose to nurse their children.

I had heard stories of breastfeeding moms dealing with assholes in public, being asked to leave places for feeding their children, having to deal with covering or being shamed. I've heard about the breastfeeding moms holding nurse-ins and trying to advocate for themselves and their right to feed their babies as they see fit. I've seen a lot of hate from both sides in the online community. I've heard of Facebook and Instagram accounts being banned for posting breastfeeding pictures that show less than the swimsuit photos posted by tweens twerking their way to early parenthood that never get removed, which seems like nursing mothers are getting it from the "slut shamers". Being a formula feeder, I never understood the war on breastfeeding. Who cares, right? I mean, it's just a little bit of flesh, and a child eating. It's not sexual, and the kid has to eat, so really, why waste time flipping out when there are so many more important things? I also never got why these breastfeeding moms had such a problem with using a cover or going into another room. That was then. This is now. I get it now. Being sequestered and anti-social because you have to feed your baby sucks. Stopping in the middle of a shopping trip to take your children into a bathroom so you can feed your baby is not fun or healthy. Cutting off air circulation in hot weather and covering an infant's head so as not to offend is awful, not to mention how hard it makes getting a latch when you're still figuring it all out in the beginning. Being shut in your house because you can't go anywhere in case baby gets hungry isn't fair to anyone.

I am exclusively breastfeeding my seven week old daughter and I have a two and a half year old son. We are a pretty active family. We go to the park, the store, the library, meet up with friends and family throughout the week. It's in the 90s during the day right now, and we do a lot outdoors. We recently went to the fair, and most weekends we have fun plans for family activities, like the local pool. My daughter needs to eat every few hours during the day, sometimes more often. I can't get a letdown with alternate expression, hand or pump at this point, so I exclusively nurse. It works for us. The really great thing has been that usually when I need to feed my daughter, I'm able to do so, quietly and respectfully, while continuing on with our usual activities. It's been really great. I don't cover her or go to a gross bathroom or sequester myself to feed her, and rarely does anyone say anything, and only occasionally do I get a sour look. I honestly was having a hard time believing that people could take serious offense to me feeding my daughter, because it just hadn't happened yet. I had actually gotten a couple POSITIVE comments about it. Maybe the haters just didn't exist in my community.

My dad has issues. Of all the people to flip out about me breastfeeding my daughter, it was my dad. The man who changed my diapers, saw my mother breastfeeding me, washed my hair in the bath when I was small, has seen me in a bikini, and who should be one of my supporters and pillars of strength when I need him. HE was the person to tell me I was being inappropriate in his house, when I had always tried to be respectful. He was the one to rant about my boob hanging out and being disgusting and how he didn't want to see that. My own dad was sexualizing my feeding Penny. He was the one disrespecting me and putting me down. Not some angry stranger on a high horse. My daddy.

I don't announce when I'm feeding her. Most people don't even notice unless they come close. My breasts are just hanging out. There is a small bit of exposed flesh. My nipple, which is SO OFFENSIVE, isn't even visible unless you're looking for it, and then it's for the half a minute it takes to latch my baby or to cover back up when she's done.

I honestly don't get it. Breasts are bad. Breasts are evil. Let's plaster scantily clad women all over every form of media, and then take offense to a woman feeding her child? No. That is not ok. It does not make logical sense. I will not allow myself to be objectified like that. Even my husband supports me fully and doesn't see me feeding her as a sexual act. Time to educate America. This is wrong. Formula feed if you want, but understand that I made a different choice and expect the same tolerance. Thankfully the law is on my side. I get to feed my daughter wherever I see fit in public. And I will. Don't look if you don't like it. This is kind of a big deal.

These were stolen from my mother-in-law's blog (with her permission):
Someone explain how this offends? I am feeding my happy baby.
It's a beautiful thing.

1 comment: