We’ve heard it all before. Breast is best, they say. #NormalizeBreastfeeding, some will plaster across their pictures of public nursing. For a long time, the concept of breastfeeding had been lost in this nation. When infant formula came along promising to be as healthy as breastmilk, mothers everywhere rejoiced. Maybe they would escape having tube socks for breasts and round-the-clock feedings while not having to skimp on the nutrition they offered their children.
In the midst of that, rates of childhood illness began to increase nationwide. Women were slowly discovering that formula was not what the manufacturers promised it was. While it’s a solid option for moms who can’t breastfeed, the goal of our healthcare providers should be to encourage all women to try to breastfeed. The science supporting this producing the most optimal health outcome is overwhelming.
Unfortunately, some women can’t breastfeed; about two percent of them. So, in a perfect world, we should have 98 percent breastfeeding rates, but just 49 percent of mothers are breastfeeding by the time their child is six months old in the United States. Part of the reason is pretty sad. Many don’t want to give up their bodies — still viewing breasts as something sexual and for their partner, rather than maternal and a source of nourishment for their babies. In addition, a lot of moms find that their partners don’t support their choice to nurse, either.
Personally, I’ve been met with some pretty uncomfortable stares and questions about just when I will stop breastfeeding my one-year old. He’s one! Not twenty! When I tell them my plans to continue and they ask why, I simply reply, “Did you know America is the only developed nation that discourages breastfeeding beyond one-year old?” The funniest thing happens. They always shut up. Sort of the way these tweets shut people the eff down.
Boy was she right. By the time most young girls are starting to grow breasts, the media and males around them have already made them quite aware of their obsession with all things boobs. They all seem to be on a mission to see as many pairs of breasts as they can in their lifetime.
Is it all misconstrued hyped drummed up by men’s magazines and celebrities on the cover of Maxim? Are they overly interested in breasts merely because they don’t have them? Is it some kind of inborn desire to be at the breast again like they were as babies? The world may never know. What we do know is that it’s some straight-up bull that a woman can be gawked at her entire life while covering her breasts in public, but if she finally pulls them out to feed her child, all hell breaks loose.
14Room For Two
She went on to comment that the staff member seemed quite surprised that she wouldn’t want to pump in a public bathroom, and went on to say other mothers had been quite happy pumping there. Damn, did those other moms not know they have rights, or were they just too scared to stand up for themselves?
That’s a real problem we have in the breastfeeding movement. Too many women are hesitant to speak up. It’s easy to do so online in a group of other women who are all for the same cause you are; heck, it’s easy to do on our own Facebook and Twitter feeds, because we can censor or block whoever we don’t like. But in the real world, with a stranger, in a public place in front of other people, it can be scary.
They make it that way on purpose. They want you to feel small and insignificant. They don’t want confrontation. They want to silence you, not draw attention to you. The last thing these people want is more attention on a mom who is willing to drop her top in the hotel lobby. Remember this next time you’re booking a hotel.
13Breastfeeding Hate Runs Deep
There’s nothing better than a solid comeback that silences the masses and tells people to sit down and STFU, and that’s just what Andrea Santiano did this summer when she took to Twitter and spoke her peace on breastfeeding.
In a post directed at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, she stated, “You should be ashamed of yourselves. Pro creating life but not sustaining it.” Ummmm, insert mic drop here.
How in the hell is a business that is built upon helping people conceive — even in less than natural ways — taking an unsupportive stance on breastfeeding — the most natural thing in the world? Yeah, it doesn’t make sense to us either. Andrea went on to demand that ESHRE refund the woman’s money who was jilted for wanting to breastfeed. ESHRE didn’t reply.
You didn’t think we’d get through this list without tackling the biggest anti-breastfeeding shit storm that’s happened all year, did you? Over the summer, Dove came out with a new line of advertisements, and mothers everywhere have been in dismay over them. The body care line apparently polled the masses and used the data they retrieved to imply that there are two acceptable sides to breastfeeding.
Supposedly, 25 percent of people think breastfeeding should not occur in public. Dove presented data on both sides and then asks, “What’s your way?” as though either way is just peachy. Moms across the globe lashed out in an effort to boycott the company and urged them to stay in their lane. What business does the maker of your body wash have in implying that a quarter of their customer base is judging you for breastfeeding in public? Amanda Badgett was one of many mothers who was disgusted by Dove’s promotional campaign. She urged followers to stop buying Dove products.
11Ta Tas For Target
Yaaaaas! Thank you, Target for hearing our concerns about normalizing breastfeeding and actually doing something about it when it counts. Certainly, not all corporations are created equally. While Dove seems to have an interest in trying to appeal to moms who are worried their husbands might check out a nursing mom’s tits, Target couldn’t care less that you need to feed your baby while shopping for diapers.
It’s quite possible that there will always be that person who complains that a woman is feeding her child nearby. Sometimes, they’re simply concerned that their children will see a woman breastfeeding and wonder why their own mother didn’t give them that nutritional benefit in life. In other cases, they may be jealous that they aren’t a D-cup. In even rarer cases, they just think breastfeeding is a private act that should be performed at home, alone, with the shades drawn. Why am I telling you this? It doesn’t matter why they feel the way they feel, because they’re completely irrational. Breastfeeding is the norm, duh.
There’s an argument that’s been around for some time now that just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s meant to be seen in public. That was what Devrim Hanson-Aras set out to make clear when he tweeted, “Defecation is natural, too; don’t see anyone… well, you get the point.”
This comment came in response to a glorious post by CNN regarding Senator Larissa Waters of Australia breastfeeding her child while presenting a motion to the Parliament. @Special_241 came to the rescue and put Devrim in his place.
There are all kinds of people out there trying to twist and contort the truth about breastfeeding nowadays. It’s unfortunate that major corporations and even medical organizations will often stand behind them. Breastfeeding mommies, we stand with you. Feed your baby.
9Moving Mountains Down Under
Speaking of Senator Larissa Waters, she took to Twitter to discuss her decision to breastfeed on the senate floor, too. We love seeing praise for breastfeeding from folks in the spotlight, but Senator Waters took things one step further by allowing herself to go public about not just public breastfeeding, but breastfeeding at work. Sure, not every woman has the luxury of bringing their child to work, but if they do, then breastfeeding should not be off limits or relegated to a private room or lavatory.
Larissa’s tweet — which some naysayers balked at claiming she just wanted attention — drew high acclaim. She was proud of her choice to breastfeed and wanted to share with the world that it wouldn’t hold her back and should be celebrated. We agree with her!
8All Aboard Momma's Chest
One of the biggest struggles many nursing mothers face is traveling. If their baby is in tow, they just may have to breastfeed on that four-hour flight. If not, pumping takes a front seat, and they need a dedicated space to do it.
This brings a whole new debate into light. Is pumping any different from breastfeeding? Does it warrant privacy, or are we still to remain respectful of the mothers who go to all of this work to feed their babies? Being a mother who has been pumping three to ten times a day for the last twenty months, I’m inclined to go with the latter. It’s hard work, and not something that I deserve to be ridiculed for — like that time someone told me, “Why don’t you just start mooing?” Yeah, that really happened.
It seems Dani Gonzales was tired of the bullshit, too. When she was traveling through Denver International Airport, she had to pump in the bathroom, and it was far from tidy. Posting a filthy picture of the restroom, she tweeted about her experience. The airport responded stating mother’s nursing and pumping rooms were currently under construction.
If breastfeeding on the senate floor isn’t enough to impress you, maybe you’re more inclined to respect the opinions of American rock stars. Believe it or not, they’re not all hiring wet nurses in an effort to save themselves from sagging. P!nk is one such star who believes it’s important to go public about breastfeeding in support of it.
In a tweet where she boasted about how healthy her daughter was, she noted the importance of not judging women who are breastfeeding. Sure, it’s a simple statement that women everywhere make nearly every day, but it holds a lot of clout when it comes from a celebrity’s mouth. That’s the unfortunate way that American works. If someone can sing well, act well, or gets into knock down drag out fights on reality TV well, we savor every word they ever have to say like it’s the gospel. Preach on, P!nk!
6No Shame In This Game
@_Viviana58_ kept things short and sweet for her followers when she spoke out in support of breastfeeding this past July. I mean, what else is there to say? We could elaborate on all the reasons why this makes one a piece of doggie doo-doo, like you have no respect for women and their bodies, or you are so insecure with yourself that you think others’ rights should be restricted, or you think babies deserve to eat in public restrooms even though you never would. The list goes on.
Thanks for keeping it real, Viviana. Her tweet didn’t get much traction. Surprise, surprise. People don’t like to stand up to confident, strong women with valid opinions. All the more reason to speak out in support of your right to feed your child when he or she is hungry, no matter where you are.
And there you have it. Shayla Clisby seems like she’s getting really annoyed by onlookers, friends and family who are all up in her business. Who could blame her? Everyone and their brother seems to think they have a say in how a mother feeds her baby these days. Is it not odd to anyone that there was once only one way to feed a baby, and that way was breastfeeding? It’s not a new trend. It’s the biological norm, and yet we have been so far removed from that that we question whether or not it’s acceptable behavior.
Almost every breastfeeding mother that makes it beyond the first few months encounters this question from someone at some point in time. Just wait until you cross the one-year mark and every American you know starts flipping out because they’ve been trained to believe that’s when you’re supposed to stop and give them cow’s milk instead.
Just so we’re clear, it’s not okay to give a baby milk made specifically for their body by their mother, but is it okay to give them processed, synthetically fortified milk from a cow — aka not a human — that has been pumped full of steroids, hormones and antibiotics? Just wanted to make sure.
4Husband Of The Year
Ah, so true. This tweet sheds light on two sides of an important topic: men and breastfeeding. While her husband seems to be on board with a year-long hiatus from his wife’s fun bags, not all husbands as so supportive. At some point, the partner in your life may want your breasts back to himself. They belong to him, didn’t you know? He’s just letting the baby borrow them for a while, but you’ll have to stop all that nonsense as soon as he grows tired of it.
Men require just as much education on breasts and breastfeeding as women do, if not more. If your guy just doesn’t get it, feel free to shove as much information about the anatomy of a breast and its biological purpose down his throat as possible. The more they learn about what breasts were meant to do, the less they tend to see them as theirs or just for pleasure.
Alright, to anyone without a sense of humor, that sounds insane, but us breastfeeding mommies totally get it. Is there a standard length of time that women should be breastfeeding? A large percentage of mothers in America start out that way, but very few make it through the first year, and even fewer are breastfeeding by the second year. So, what can we do to change that? Educate and empower, ladies.
Extended breastfeeding is normal. It’s not new. It’s not something only crunchy mommies do. It’s not sexual. It’s the extra mile that mothers go to make sure their children are receiving only the best nutrition they have to offer.
Babies around the world are breastfed well into their toddler years, and there are scientifically backed reasons to do so. From their ears and eyes to their brain and immune system, breastmilk continues to nourish children throughout these critical periods of development. Nurse on!
2FFS - That’s What They’re For!
Come on, he’s right. Aside from the rather obvious typo, the point he was trying to make is resoundingly clear. Breastfeeding is not sexual. The person that makes it out to be is the sexual component here. Can we not discuss anatomy without sexuality? Do breasts not have a function all their own that is reserved specifically for nourishing our babies?
Some people actually argue that if breasts were not meant to be sexual, why are they erogenous? Clearly, they’re not aware of the connection between breast stimulation, oxytocin, and the induction of contractions during childbirth. Furthermore, just because something feels good doesn’t mean it’s sexual. We made breasts sexual by covering them up. For some people, feet are sexual. I don’t want to see anyone rocking their foot fetish in a public place, but there’s no law against going barefoot in public.
1Cellmates: Bosom Buddies
@Amedsupply’s comment was coupled with a link to an article published in the Oconee Enterprise community newspaper. The county jail purchased all the supplies a nursing mother needs to continue breastfeeding her child even when she’s on the other side of a jail cell. Transportation of the milk is also included in the jail’s motherhood package.
These inmates can now pump milk for their little ones at home while they are incarcerated pending trial. In an effort to make sure babies are still getting all of the benefits from breastfeeding while their mothers are awaiting the news of their fate, Georgia scored major points for taking this step. They are the second jail in Georgia to put this policy into place. There’s no data on how many mothers are making use of it, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Sources: Parenting, CDC, Twitter
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