The Great Divide: Breastfeeding Moms VS. Everyone Else

There is a silent war happening right under your nose, yet you’d never know it…. unless you were a mom.  It’s a war over breastfeeding and I find myself right in the thick of the controversy feeling incredibly annoyed by the issues surrounding my boobs and they’re intended purpose on this planet.  To feed my child.

During my pregnancy the thought never once crossed my mind that I would do anything else but breastfeed Asher.  I’ve never really been around a breastfeeding woman before, so I didn’t have much to go on, but I felt pretty confident that that was the route God intended for me or any other woman so I would give it my all and hope for the best.  Thankfully, I’ve been incredibly blessed with a baby with a great latch, an over supply of breast milk and no sore nipples thus far.  I know many woman who have not had the same luck.

So, whats the problem? You see, the single biggest issue I’ve encountered is when and where I can feed my son.. Outside of the comforts of my home.  What’s appropriate?  Really.. I ask myself this over and over… what is appropriate? Appropriate?  Since when is the question of appropriate even a thought when it comes to nourishment for children?  That is the question.

I’ve honestly never encountered anyone tell to me directly about whether a woman should nurse in public with or without a cover a cover, but there are videos, blogs, forums, and articles all across the web on this very subject and the consensus to me is that the entire community of breastfeeding moms feels they are looked down on by most and have to defend their right to FEED THEIR CHILD whenever and wherever they want.  And now, because of all this I find myself having a complex too.

Don’t get me wrong, I am no boob barin’ hippy…. in fact that image is the very mother I felt so disconnected with during my pregnancy.  I was down right having an identity crisis, because I could never see myself as a mom breastfeeding… because I barely SAW a mom breastfeeding before.  What is wrong with this country?

I’m sure there are some of you who are thinking that the use of discretion and modesty while nursing in public should be used, but let me be the first to tell you that breastfeeding mothers are not exhibitionists.  We’re just moms.  And when you pair “modesty” with the breast…. it makes the correlation more sexual than life sustaining.  Truly “breastfeeding” and “modesty” shouldn’t even be used in the same sentence.  Are you modest when you eat?   That question doesn’t even make sense!

I simply don’t understand a world where society is okay to be bombarded with lingerie catalogs, nudity in movies and reading Fifty Shades of Grey in public (for goodness sake people… I saw a girl in the airport reading this book!), but it’s not okay for a woman to breastfeed her child in front of you.  #makesnosense

Breastfeeding is an extension of a woman’s pregnancy.  Just as that baby grew safely in its mother’s womb, breastfeeding continues to nourish and grow that baby outside of the womb.  It’s a beautiful thing.

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One of my favorite images floating around the web is that of Victoria Secret model, Gisele Bundchen breastfeeding her child while being prepped for work… or what looks like work since she is a super model after all.   This image brings together the very fact that so many people neglect to get:  Breasts are for sustenance and sex.  And that’s okay.  Here a woman who has become synonymous with the ultimate sex symbol uses those same knockers that sell millions of bras and panties each year… to feed her child.  Shock! Gasp!

So how does one remain cool when they encounter a boob buffet?  The trick is to alter your personal awareness and reaction of breasts for each specific encounter.  When the Victoria Secret catalog comes in the mail, breast feeding is likely the last thing on your mind.  So on the flip side, when you see a mother breastfeeding in public… banish that thought of Victoria’s Secret (or relative sexual image) and admire the very beautiful, completely natural sight.  Train yourself to differentiate between the two.  We’re a pretty sophisticated society… I’m certain it can be done.

I have to know, what is your opinion on breastfeeding in public?  Let’s get this discussion going and put this issue in the past for once and for all.

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2 Comments

  1. Jennifer Shields March 5, 2014 / 4:16 am

    I had three kids over 8 years and I hate to say that I did not get any more comfortable breastfeeding in public even with my 3rd. I have breasted in many public places, at the pool, at my son’s baseball games, even in restaurants but inside I was very uncomfortable, worried that others were uncomfortable. WTF is up with that? I would sit in my car more times than not rather than deal with the sideways glances and people averting their eyes. But the times when I was out in the open, in spite of my discomfort I always attempted to appear nonchalant, mainly because I have a 9 year old daughter and 7 year old son and I wanted to send the message that there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Because there isn’t. But as a society we have a LONG way to go.

    • Heather Vreeland
      Author
      March 5, 2014 / 11:20 am

      I so agree and good for you for showing your two older kids how completely normal and okay it is!