Let’s Talk Boobs.
Disclaimer: I support formula, breastmilk, donor milk, covered nursing, wet nurses, all of it. Fed is best, health is best, Moms rule.
Happy World Breastfeeding Week! A week to celebrate mamas of all kinds. The nursers, the pumpers, the donators. The milk-freezers, the ones who change diets, the ones who supplement, the ones who nurse for a day, a week, a month. The mamas who cover up, the ones who let it all hang out, the ones who can’t, or do or don’t or won’t – we praise you. We praise you all.
My son is a fresh 14 months out of the womb. He is walking, blabbing, eating table food, drinking whole milk, and yes, still nursing from his mother. My husband, the right(er)-wing thinker, and I don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye when it comes to Milo’s visits to his mother’s chest. Sure, Brandon was more than supportive of my breastfeeding for the first twelve months. It saved us a ton of money, it was nutritionally beneficial for our son, and it gave him an easy way out when Milo cried: “Here, take him — I think he’s hungry.”
Still, if it was up to Brandon, 12 months and 1 day would have been the minute that Milo said goodbye to the boob and hello to straight cow’s milk. But this Mama had a whole different journey in mind.
As it pertains to breastfeeding and my liberal style of thinking, there were aspects of this game that I just did not few obligated to get on board with. For example, I did not feel obligated to drape a blanket over my child’s head when he was nursing. I did not feel obligated to find a closet, bathroom, or hidden corner to tuck away in while nursing. I did not feel obligated to pump in my home and bring bottles to feed my child while in public. I understand that some women feel most comfortable doing these things and I support them unconditionally. However, I do not support the people who make mothers feel like they HAVE to do these things while in public.
Hear me loudly: there is nothing sexual, inappropriate, or impolite about breastfeeding.
Free the nipple! (I’ll save that writing for another day, or when Jaime lets me post it.) Stop making women feel like what they’re doing is dirty or uncomfortable. Do you know what else is NOT dirty? Looking. Does your child see a mother nursing? Is he confused? Let him ask questions! Let him be educated! If a mother is sitting in the middle of the mall with her infant’s head up her shirt, conservation is not her priority. I promise she isn’t trying to seduce you by pulling her sweatshirt up to her neck.
It’s OKAY to see a woman nursing. You don’t need to avert your eyes instantly as if they’re going to explode from your head. In the same way your child points when he sees someone in a wheelchair, or using a walking cane, they might point when they see a nursing mother. Take the opportunity to introduce them to something diverse and educate them. My three-year-old has watched Milo breastfeed since the day we came home from the hospital. He thinks nothing abnormal of it. Whether he sees his Mom or another with a nursing child, he says, “Mom, I think he’s hungry.” You’re right, Oliver. That baby is hungry. Breastfeeding boobs won’t scar my child.
I don’t know when Milo and I will be done with breastfeeding. We don’t have a plan. But what I do know is that it’s nobody’s choice but ours. And also, if I was trying to seduce you, I would have stopped breastfeeding months ago. Hashtag pancake boobs.