Friday, April 01, 2011

somebody has to say it - v.03

Image Hosting

Somebody has to say it... American's have sexualized breastfeeding to the point where some women have to join internet communities like La Leche in order to feel validated in their decision to 'go against the grain' and not bottle feed their children. La Leche is such an amazing resource, and there are so many others out there, but has our society really gotten to the point where breastfeeding is so TABOO? I realize that some new mama's [like my own] aren't quite comfortable with the process, while others [like my husband's mama] simply aren't able... but if you can, shouldn't you?

Admittedly, I don't have children yet so I don't know first hand what it feels like to breastfeed. But I will say this -- given the benefits of breast milk over formula, I can't really imagine giving my newborn [or toddler, for that matter] second-rate nutrients, especially after nine long months of what I'm sure is to be unexplainable discomfort [as I allow another person to totally take over my body, thus giving up three things I love dearly: cigarettes, alcohol and lunch meat... to name a few]. I believe that once you have a child, it is no longer about 'you' anymore... and it's important to do everything in your power to keep this little person as healthy as humanly possible. And healthy as humanly possible includes breastfeeding.

[The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at LEAST the first year. See a list of benefits here.]

Lately I've found out that this topic makes people extremely uncomfortable, which is a shame. I like to discuss articles that I've read, blogs, books, etc. [especially about this topic] and it's really strange how instantly guarded people become. For example, when I tell people that I'm interested in breastfeeding my little one [I don't even go into the benefits of baby-led weaning... learned that the hard way]... people generally start immediately listing the negatives, such as 'you know it's painful, riiight?' or 'I hope you don't plan on breastfeeding in public, that's gross' or my personal favorite, 'formula is JUST as healthy as breast milk'.  Is it fair that I'm getting judged for this decision, when I'm not [admittedly, openly] judging them for theirs?

I usually respond by telling them that breastfeeding is not a sexual act, and I will not be hiding in a bathroom stall or my car when feeding my child. Sorry. Do your research.

This doll has recently sparked some debate, and I think it's complete ludicrous. There are dolls out there who poop, pee, cry, why not a doll that breast feeds? To be fair, 99.9% of dolls come with bottles to be fed with... why is the bottle normalized and the breast isn't? I'll tell you why -- because America sees breasts as sexual, and that is our society's loss. Because there is so much that is lost when a mother decides to bottle feed their newborns, and a lot of the time their decision is based on others pressuring them to avoid it. It's hard to breastfeed when even your husband or family doesn't have your back... and those with a lack of support are the group of women [and children] that I feel the sorriest for.

[By the way, this blog is amazingly packed with information on not only breastfeeding, but a ton of other good stuff like home birth, water birth, and placentophagy... I bow down in honor of her natural mama goddess ways!]


  1. Hey,
    I love this topic, as it is my chosen area of nursing and have come across it so often training with health visitors (uk nurse’s specially trained in breast feeding, weaning, post natal depression etc)

    I personally would breast feed as I feel strongly for it, but I also think people have got to stop making women feeling like bad mothers if they bottle feed, for what ever reason. Although passive immunity is passed to the child during feeding, recent research has actually shown no differences in the immunity and health of the children in the long run!

    At the end of the day you have to give people the best available information and allow them to make an informed decision for themselves. Although I agree that mothers should be thinking of the Childs best interest, babies can pick up on stress which is also bad for them at such a young age, so as long as the mother and baby are doing well and the mother weans the kids onto the correct foods then all is good.

  2. Kara, I adore how endlessly passionate you are! I enjoyed reading this post so much. I am in the same boat with you. I would choose to breastfeed. Not only is it a slightly better option for your baby, it's the connection that you gain from it. I could not imagine being ashamed to breast feed my child, if I had one. Do you read A Cup Of Jo? She actually has pictures of her breastfeeding in public. I loved that so much. Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

    PS. I will get back to your email soon! Sorry for the delayed response. My sleep deprivation has been crazy.


speak your mind! always!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...