Monday, January 2, 2012

Baring breast.


There have been murmurings in the media, as there are, every so often, about a woman baring breast to feed a hungry infant, in public!  I thought that being a woman, having breasts, having children, having nursed, I should toss my two cents into the pot.

It seems interesting to me that in a society obsessed with sex we should frown on such an act.  I daresay, some would be more comfortable catching a glimpse of a couple engaging in the act of making a child, before they're able to tolerate a woman nourishing one.  This said, because often, while watching a romantic comedy, even as innocent as PG13, you'll be hard pressed to miss a bedroom scene.  There's no need for X ratings if you want to check out bare breasts, they are happily shown to your teens.

And yet a woman uncovering herself to nuzzle in a hungry infant, this is outrageous!  Someone please call the police, there is a child being fed here!  Oh goodness, we are a mess.

We hang posters of naked women barely covered by strips of lace in our malls, allow teenagers to pose provocatively for the camera, then sell the rags by the checkout, and allow our actresses to accept awards while revealing all behind mesh.

Please, stop the nursing mothers, they are taking our country straight to hell!

I wonder how many who carry on about the women caring for their infants, go home to google search daddy loves boobies (porn).  

It is a hypocritical debate and carries very little weight, if you want to know my personal opinion.

Yet, here again, our country finds itself flinging comments across, those who are pro vs. those who find it awkward, embarrassing, shameful.

There is a need to understand the weight that is carried, when a child cries for it's mother.  When you hold a tiny being close, that your body created.  It does not cease to be flesh of your flesh, simply because it was birthed.  Your entire being responds when your child cries.  Your milk flows down in a torrent, protective pads are sold for a reason.  There's an avalanche of milk to combat at the slightest whimper.  Much less, the horrible moment you realize there is no where to go, no quiet place to feed a quickly hysterical child.

Let me just say this now, the bathroom.  Not a viable option.  Next time you want to suggest this to a mother, please go eat your dinner in there, sitting on the open toilet, with half your clothes on the floor.


I realize that in the latest incident the mother was asked to remove herself to a Target dressing room.  And, I get that.  I understand that there are places you can go to nurse that are private, less upsetting to the general public, than a woman sitting on a bench covered with a blanket.

More often than no, there really isn't a better place, than to carefully cover yourself and nurse, where you are.  With my second I would nurse while grocery shopping.  It was only awkward when someone would come and try to pull the blanket aside to see my baby.  I would happily inform them that I was breastfeeding, but they could see if they really wanted.  Okay, I didn't, I just said no.

When you have pushed a life out of your naked body, writhing on a  bed with a handful of men and women watching, you lose a little of your self consciousness.  Then you have men come and watch you nurse and tell you that you're doing it wrong or right and you lose a little more.  It's nice when it's a women, but many of us aren't that lucky.

For the women who have made the choice to breastfeed, many have gone through countless hours and excruciating pain to learn to attach their infant properly.  Unfortunately it's not as easy as lifting them to your nipple and they drink deep.  You have to find the right hold, use shields, put yourself in ridiculous positions, just to encourage your new baby to suck.  Often you can feel like a failure when this doesn't happen right away.

Many babies are able to alter between nursing and bottles and many are not.  My son went on a nursing strike for a while, wanting only to drink from a thick plastic nipple.  So, we took them all away, got him back to only wanting me.  This wasn't an easy process, but nursing your child isn't simple.  It is filled with highs and lows, pain and joy, shame and delight.  If you see a woman nursing her child, leave her alone.  She is doing the very best that she can.  Your issues are very simply your own.

A woman breastfeeding is following the American Academy of Pediatrics and giving her child the best possible nutrition.



Because of the foolishness of many, this issue probably won't just disappear.  As we heighten our awareness and educate ourselves, may this fade where it should, into the rubble of ignorance.

4 comments:

charis said...

i love it. you made me laugh with your colorful language, but so much is all too true. yay for moms willing to sacrifice in order to feed their children.

Cherylyn Petersen said...

haha, yes I was definitely colorful. :) Such a frustrating issue, with so much to say about it.

Nichole said...

I read parts of this to Daniel. That's how hysterical you are. Love.

Cherylyn Petersen said...

Did Daniel roll on the floor laughing?