Saturday, November 15, 2008

Baby Eats Boobie?

Yes Kaylee, babies do eat boobies. Well in a sense I guess, I suppose it is just a vessel. That being said it is the most perfect vessel, designed by your greater being of choice to transport the most perfect food, milk that is, to babies. Who in turn are designed to efficiently obtain that milk and utilize it for maximum nutritional benefit. Breastfeeding is a basic human function, it is as natural and essential as all the other bodily processes. In most places outside the "developed" world it is the only form of sustenance for babies. So why do I feel the need to write about breastfeeding. Well, because I am thinking about it, and the only reason I am thinking about it is because of some sort of misplaced puritanical values that linger in this country.

Now mind you, one can see more flesh in a music video, on a billboard or newstand, or just walking down the street than I show whilst breastfeeding. But some how my breasts are indecent. I suppose we have become so desensitized to sexualized images of women (and men to some extent as well) that we barely notice, or simply except them as normal. On the other hand a mother nursing her child is for many people shocking and for others even offensive.

When I think about going out with Amara I worry about her getting hungry...where will we be, will there be a place to feed her? I feel uncomfortable, even embarrassed, which is ridiculous because I am pretty well practiced in looking and acting different than the general public. So I search for some dark corner or I run to hide in the car, this making me feel ashamed that I am not stronger, showing conviction in my right to breastfeed my baby whenever she is hungry.

I have thought a lot about what social pressures are making me feel this way and have discovered that it doesn't matter much. I simply have to choose not to allow others hang ups to bother me. Mothers have the right to participate in any activity they wish, even an act as simple as remaining at the table in a restaurant allows us to remain connected and keeps us from feeling alienated. People should rejoice when they see children being cared for instead of staring or giving dissaproving looks.

So I am making a promise to myself to fight the urge to hide and to proudly feed Amara wherever (within reason) and whenever she needs. It may take me a while to ignore others perceptions of me and to feel comfortable, but hopefully I and other nursing moms will create a more friendly atmosphere for future moms.

Resources for Breastfeeding Moms:
La Leche League International
Breastfeeding.com
Ask Dr. Sears (Good info on just about everything for raising healthy, happy babies)
Mothering Magazine
US Maps of Breastfeeding Laws

2 comments:

Lily Girl said...

Go you! This issue fascinates me. I suppose it is not all that surprising, if saddening, that in many developing countries it is considered a mark of wealth to feed infants formula instead of breastfeeding. It makes me laugh when scientists and society are actually surprised that this substance specifically designed to nourish the little person that comes out of us is so superior to anything they could concoct in a lab. I hope when the time comes I will have to courage to flout unreasonable societal norms and feed my babies when and where they need it.
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Erin said...
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