Boobs are for Babies (Some Thoughts on Breastfeeding in Public)
I think we can all agree breastfeeding, and especially breastfeeding in public, is a pretty hot topic these days. It makes sense, right? I mean, how you feed your baby should most definitely be part of everyone else’s business. (EYE ROLL). And I do not care whether you’re a formula feeding mama or a booby mama, I respect your decision and support you. And you should support yourself and respect that you made the choice you felt best for your baby. It’s your business. No one else’s. I chose to breastfeed my twins, and as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, before babies I saw my boobs as far more sacred parts of my anatomy. These days, I see them as they’re simply what the good Lord gave me to nourish my children with. When they were first born, I was so focused on keeping covered at all times and nursing them discreetly. That idealized image shattered fast, and now I don’t even bat an eye when one of my babies needs to eat. Why in the world does society try to sexualize our babies eating?! It’s not sexy. It’s not erotic. It’s a lot of work!
And I personally agree with a statement I saw Kristen Bell made in this article, “When it comes to breastfeeding your baby, if you are too nervous to do it in public I think you are part of the problem…Women should own the fact that we are superheroes for the first however many months of your child’s life. It is your opportunity and your duty to feed your baby should you choose to breastfeed and be proud of it.” Now, I do not think you should feel guilty if you’re nervous about feeding your baby while out and about. It’s hard to not feel nervous when every time we turn around someone is saying something negative about it. But as moms, I do think we should fight back against the shaming and guilt and realize that WE are not the problem. If our society has forced some weird perverted concept into peoples minds regarding the action of nourishing our children in a manner in which our physical bodies were literally designed to do, I think we should actively resist it.
Chrissy Teigen has been an active voice for normalizing breastfeeding since she had her baby, posting pics such as her feeding Luna on set and openly talking about how truly challenging breastfeeding can be. If you’re a breastfeeding mama, I think you can agree that no one chooses to breastfeed because it’s easy. Yes, there are things that are easier about it, no heating up a bottle in the middle of the night, never forgetting the formula at home. But the facts are it’s hard. Your body pretty much belongs to your baby for however long you breastfeed. And no it’s not always comfortable, (among other things). Basically, breastfeeding your kid is beautiful, but it’s also hard, and it’s a gift you give them that will literally effect them all their lives. Breastfeeding should not be shamed, or treated as something to do in dark corners away from prying eyes. I’m not advocating flapping your boobs around and squirting your nipples in people’s faces, (did anyone else see that article though? HILARIOUS). And I have to agree with Mila Kunis’ response to being shamed for breastfeeding in public, “If it’s not for you, don’t look.” Everyone can have their opinion on it, but if it bothers you, don’t stare.
I recently attended an awards banquet for one of my sisters who is a firefighter, and I admit to having a moment of hesitation when my daughter first went boob digging (because of course this was not an isolated event through the evening). I was surrounded by people in uniform and frankly I didn’t want to make my sister uncomfortable. But, she’s wonderful and hugely supportive, and simply gave me the ‘you know better than to think I care’ look when I glanced at her in hesitation as I latched my child. I breathed a sigh of relief, and fed my babies. And you know, not one single person batted an eye or gave me grief. I’m not even sure many of them noticed. I once read a comment someone made of likening breastfeeding to the act of procreating. WHAT IN THE WORLD. It is nothing like that. AT ALL. I firmly believe that breastfeeding mamas need to take a stand against that way of thinking.
And again, I am not pushing for us to all go out and wave our boobs around in the air and flash our nipples at unsuspecting shoppers. And if using a cover while out makes you more comfortable, you shouldn’t feel ashamed of that either. BUT, I do think we need to focus on changing our mindset and start viewing breastfeeding as a NORMAL life event. I am thankful for other amazing breastfeeding advocates, who are actively working to change the situation. And, while we cannot control others, (not promoting rape culture here ladies!!) I do believe that how we view ourselves effects how others perceive us, so I say, feed those babies in confidence mamas! Feed them whenever they’re hungry, and wherever we are. Let’s be brave, let’s be proud, let’s show the world, BOOBS ARE FOR BABIES. And there ain’t no shame in that.