Thursday, June 17, 2010

Baby And The Breast


Okay let's talk about breast feeding. I recently made a post of a trailer of a new Pro Breastfeeding film. The reaction was a mixed bag but one comment totally blew me away. Now, I'm not judging. That is not my thing. So with that said...

One commenter, in fact a mom I know and totally respect, said that she didn't breast feed because she thought it was "totally disgusting".

Bahhhh! What!?

I will admit that pre-baby I was so weirded out by the whole thing. I was nervous it would feel awkward, uncomfortable, dirty even. But not nervous enough to totally bypass even trying it.

Sad isn't it?

That I was anxious about the most natural thing in the world.

and now? Well, nothing has ever felt more right than nourishing my babe with my own body.

Holy hell! Our society has really screwed us up if we think this is okay!

Interesting that people are okay with watching grown men eat bull testicles on game shows and passionate people humiliated on talent competitions but a women feed her child in public...she's the bad guy.

I mean really? I feel brain washed and cheated. We can let our boobs hang out for male attention and fling them outta our shirts to catch a few beads at mardi gras...but supply our children with the most important physical and emotional experience available to them and its nasty?

Whats disgusting is how we have allowed ourselves as women to be clouded by others opinions.

When Hendrix was lying in that bed in the Intensive Care Unit hooked up to about a hundred wirse and barely breathing on his own I was stressed by every doctor  and nurse in that place that his best chances for doing well in the future partly hinged on our nursing relationship. Children that breast feed progress in leaps and bounds compared to the children that do not. And that is a fact people. A scientific fact. Not something to be debated or discussed.

and while I will respect your right to choose this is something not one of us can deny.

Here I was, this tiny little thing, battered and bruised from laboring for days, and a team of the most well respected doctors, nurses, neurologists, are standing in front of me, telling me how I could help my baby. How I could be hugely responsible in my sons' healing process.
I would walk through hell. Cut off my own arm. Give my life for my son to ensure his health and safety.
Breastfeed you say? That is all I have to do?
Sign me up.

The power that we have as women to heal with our own bodies is a gift. How could we let society diminish and degrade that?  How?
I will not let this be taken away from me. I will not give it up.

My first time nursing was an eye opener.When the nurse came in to help me I was freaking out inside. Waiting for some sort of educational video or instruction manual. I remember starring at my son as if he were some sort of heavy machinery I was unable to operate. She laid him across me and he latched on. Instantly. Like he was born to do it. Because he was born to do it.
and me? I fell hard. Harder than I already was in love with that little bundle. The world was spinning around us and it was a place that we could go to, just the two of us. A secret garden. A burrow of sorts.  Away from the bleep bleep of monitors and the pin prick of needles. Away from the googling of words like "cerebral palsy" and "brain damage". Away from the static. The sad. The scared.
Breast feeding became an umbrella for the shit storm that surrounded us.

and I am so thankful for it. For the two of us to have had an escape. After his birth I was unable to hold my baby for over 24 hours. It felt like a lifetime. I felt every second of it. I wonder if he did too. If he was looking for me. Waiting. For my smell and the sound of my voice and the taste of my skin. My milk. For the comfort of my arms and the stroke of my hand on his cheek.

and here we are nearly 8 months into breast feeding and its my favorite past time. There is no end in sight.I have started talking numbers like 12 16 18 24 months for weaning. The mere thought of a day where we no longer nurse is heart breaking. I hate the thought of it.
Nothing and  I mean nothing about breast feeding my child is sexual. or disgusting. or unnatural.
Nothing has ever felt so right.

I can not help but wonder how many women do not even try based on these feelings of it being "disgusting". I wonder how many would have had that switch flipped from "gross" to "magical" if they had given it a shot.
I compare giving birth and breastfeeding to other life experiences like bungie jumping and traveling th globe a lot. People look at me weird. But on a life list that includes things like "See the Eiffel Tower" and "Fly a Plane"  shouldn't we see "Breastfeed" and "Birth a human".  Shouldn't we all get to feel that love? That acceptance? That purity? Even just once

and yes I breast feed in public. Most of the time without anything covering me.
*Shock! Horror!*
But that is a whole other post...


  1. I couldn't agree more. American society has such an effed up perception of breastfeeding and it's horribly sad. I'm constantly amazed that people are offended by breastfeeding images, but racy Victoria's Secret commercials and the like are no big deal. Seriously effed up perceptions. I find myself a little but judgy when I see a baby being formula fed ... I actually feel sad for the baby.

  2. Amen girlfriend!!!!!!!!!!!! You keep on posting these amazing words. That comment also in fact blew me away. I am so glad you also stated the plain FACT that breastfeeding is BETTER in every sense of the word for babies. It is not an opinion but a FACT. Good for you for breastfeeding in public without a cover. I would love to read your next blog about breastfeeding without a cover in public. I always use a cover but I like hearing and knowing how other woman get the courage to do otherwise. Thank you again for posting this.

  3. I think our society is going in the wrong direction in so many ways, and the societal views on breastfeeding in public or extended breastfeeding need a major tune-up. Whenever someone says breastfeeding is SEXUAL or something that should be covered, I cannot help but pity their ignorance. NOTHING is more natural than a mother breastfeeding her child, that is what our breasts are made for. We naturally create the most AMAZING nutrition for our children, and that is something to hide???? If anything, a breastfeeding mother should be accommodated and made to feel comfortable, because she is giving the FUTURE the best possible start on life.
    You keep doing what you're doing, and I hope those naysayers pick up a book and get educated.

  4. Just like you I was a little freaked out about it, but ended up nirsing my daughter until about 22 monhts. 3 months of that was "dry nursing" since I didn't know that hormonal birth control woudl totally dry up my milk, not just "lower my supply."

    My son is a year old now and I can't imagine stopping. There are times I want to be done, of course, and it isn't always easy. But hearing those little sighs of contentment, watching his eyelids flutter...I can't even explain it. You understand. It's wonderful.

  5. thanks for posting this. i feel the exact same way. i get deeply saddened thinking that this one day will end...

    but as for the breastfeeding in public, i do too... but i cover up. i don't use a shaw or anything, but my shirt usually covers up pretty well.

  6. what a GREAT post this is! you made so so many great points!
    "I mean really? I feel brain washed and cheated. We can let our boobs hang out for male attention and fling them outta our shirts to catch a few beads at mardi gras...but supply our children with the most important physical and emotional experience available to them and its nasty?"
    that's powerful!

  7. i agree. it totally confuses me when women choose not to breastfeed for purely superficial reasons. i breastfeed, well now only part time because i didnt feel i was producing enough. anyway, what i really wanted to say is, as much as like breastfeeding and know the wonderful benefits of it, i've never felt it was this magical thing. i havent fallen head over heels in love with it. i dont NOT like it, i just...dont have the experience you have. i think it might have something to do with the fact that i was totally raised around babies my whole life, babies who were breastfeed. not breastfeeding was never an option. it just has always been a totally normal thing to me. like taking a bath or brushing your teeth or something. so when i nurse, it just is..normal. it is nice to look down and see her there, especially when she was so tiny. but thats about it. sometimes i wish i had those magical feelings you and other mothers feel. but i'm ok with it. great post :]

  8. WELL SAID... I 100% completely agree with every single thing you said. I even had an encounter when I was still bf'ing my 4 mo old - I was at a wedding & it'd had been a solid 7 hrs or so since I last released any milk (fed her/pumped), so my tits were literally gigantic rocks & I was starting to get very uncomfortable, I announced to my bro/sis-in-law that we needed to go so I could go feed my daughter. A girl across the table had overheard & under her breath said "omg, that is so f'ing disgusting" - I couldn't believe better believe she got MORE than an earful from me!

    I just don't understand stupid people. So pathetic.

    Thank you so much for this post...I think I'll post your link on my blog, if you don't mind! ;-)

  9. I was totally nervous about breastfeeding my son. I didn't think I would be comfortable with a male child attached to my boob. Not to mention that I am completely shy. It took me a while to get a hang of it but now I'm that woman who doesn't cover up her kid. I am still nervous that someone may say something to me but heck my kid needs to eat.
    This week on the news the water park in my town had asked a woman to leave the wading pool to breastfeed her son. I find it ridiculous that women can walk around a water park in skimpy bathing suits but if you feed your child it causes a scandal because people don't want their children to see it.
    Well put!

  10. breastfeeding is such a sensitive issue. I think the key is to support whatever a women decides either way. I know society isnt about to change anytime soon. Its aggrivating.

  11. that was so well put! brava!!!! i have also been breastfeeding my little Lily for a little after 7 months now and just about start crying when i think of stopping.
    i truly believe that mothers who choose not to breast feed, rob not only themselves but their little one of one of the most wonderful things that life has to offer.
    that and choosing to not give birth naturally.

  12. Thanks for sharing so well! I totally agree. I didn't breast feed my son (1st child). I was young, it was painful... stressful... and no one really showed me how to overcome the little obstacles. Praise the Lord when my daughter was born 6 years later I had a wonderful nurse that was there to help me and within 3 nursings I was a pro.

    I am beyond grateful that I took the time to make it work this time. Once I realized how wonderful this bonding was I went through a bit of time feeling guilty for not trying harder with my first born.

    I feel so sorry for women that don't give it a try and wait at least a few weeks to get past rough starts. It is a blessing from God.

  13. This came up as a suggestion under a recent post of yours that I just read. Beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing-I completely agree with everything you said. I am proud to have nursed my son until he was ready for a completely solid diet.
    I think this post was so well-written and just utterly beautiful.