As a breastfeeding mama for almost a year now, I’m finding myself increasingly annoyed by all the hatred Americans are showing nursing mothers.
Stories like THIS and THIS make me INCREDIBLY ANGRY. Hearing about new mothers being blocked from social media sites like Facebook because they posted a picture of their nursing newborn makes my blood boil. Why would a picture of a sweet child be blocked but bikini-clad, ducklipped sixteen year olds aren’t? I’ve even seen a pervy self-proclaimed “photographer” upload albums of mostly naked, questionably young women onto Facebook. Why are those images allowed in my newsfeed but a nursing child is not?
It escapes me how people want to deny BABIES the best form of nourishment available to them. Some ignoramuses will argue that they aren’t denying children food, but simply want the nursing baby hidden from view. But have they ever been forced to eat under a hot, dark blanket? Is it fair to force babies into uncomfortable environments and expect them to eat? NO.
My little one was a week old when we had to stop at a Wendy’s to grab a bite to eat and feed Bug. Being a first time mama and new to breastfeeding, I chose to use my “hooters hider” while trying to feed the baby. He refused. Instead, at just one week old, he kicked and screamed, flailing to get the cover off. After receiving annoyed looks from other customers, I went to the car while my food got cold. Without the cover on, Bug latched perfectly and spent a content 20 minutes eating. I have since started nursing uncovered because I refuse to subject my baby to such uncomfortable conditions. And let me tell you, most of the time people can’t even tell that I’m nursing! I was at a cookout a few months ago and walked around the yard while Bug nursed. I had several people ask me if, “ohhhh, did he fall asleep?” Nope, he was just nursing. Thankfully, these friends were supportive and jokingly suggested that I should get the discrete nurser award.
My point is, a baby nursing is not the same as exposing your breasts in public. First, you rarely even get a glimpse of nipple (if you do, who cares?! It’s a body part!). Second, bikinis, as well as many shirts and dresses show more breast than a baby nursing and they’re tolerated–even appreciated! Third, a nursing baby is not sexual. Just because a breast is involved, it doesn’t mean something sexual is occurring and shame on those who suggest that it is. Breast feeding is NATURAL. All mammals do it. It is one of the best things you can do for your baby. It’s the healthiest option for both the short and long term. Check out formula labels–it is required by law to state that breast milk is better for babies.
In addition to the hate that people are pushing onto tiny newborns, I’m finding that I’m frustrated with the government for not doing more to protect a mother’s right to care for her young. In my state, Virginia, nursing mothers are protected from being arrested for public indecency. However, the only place that our right to nurse uncovered is protected is on state owned property. Anywhere else mothers are in danger of being ejected. In the majority of other countries, breast feeding is normal, appreciated, encouraged, and beautiful. People rush to a nursing mother to gaze on the sweet face of her new little one. Here, they say, “cover that face up!” For a country that that claims to be the best and most developed, I believe the US falls far behind many other countries, countries that it regularly deems “under-developed” and “primitive,” along with a slew of other rude adjectives. The US needs to catch up in so many ways, particularly in being supportive of nursing mothers.
From the bottom of my heart, whether you’re a parent or not, regardless of whether you chose to breastfeed or formula feed, I ask that you support a mother’s right to nurse her baby. Help normalize breast feeding. It’s beautiful and needs to be perceived that way.