Chances are you’ve seen the memes of an innocent mom feeding her baby (with not much exposed) and next to her a woman wearing a bikini (with definitely more skin exposed) shaming you if the one of the mother feeding her baby offends you but the other does not.
Quite frankly, I don’t think either should offend you, but it does seem like women in bikinis are more widely accepted than a mom simply trying to feed her child.
Breasts can be sexual, yes. But breasts are also for breastfeeding babies if a mother chooses to do so. And a mother should be able to feed her baby, however, wherever, she needs too. It’s not something to debate.
I have read so many comments on posts about this that make my head spin. Most of them are from older women stating that they breastfed their children, but they did so ‘modestly’. Often times this means they used a cover, went somewhere private, or my favorite – waited until they were home to feed their baby.
To refute these comments I say what does modesty mean to you? Not all moms want to use a cover. Not all babies want to eat with a cover over their head (especially when it is hot). Do you like to eat with a cover over your head? A mom should not have to go somewhere private to nurse her baby unless it makes her more comfortable. Breastfeeding is not about YOUR comfort, it’s about baby and mom. I would love to know how did waiting until you were home work out? Babies (especially newborn babies) cannot wait to eat. They have tiny tummies. They are hungry. They will cry. It is so much easier to just feed a hungry baby and calm them down.
More comments that make me livid – what if my husband or my kids see your breasts? They don’t need to see that!
My response: God forbid your children see a mother feeding her baby! God forbid your husband see a boob! Has he never seen one? Why have we made breasts and breastfeeding such a taboo thing? If you see a mother breastfeeding her child you (and your husband) have the maturity to look away if it bothers you. Use this as a teaching moment for your children if they seem curious or have questions.
I have breastfed all three of my children. My son for a year, my daughter until she was almost three, and my baby until just recently. Breastfeeding is a personal choice and overall I am glad I chose that for me and my babies. With my first two I was extremely self conscious and wanted privacy so I used a cover to nurse. It wasn’t always easy or comfortable.
With my third I said screw it and I nurse her without a cover, wherever I am, whenever she needs to nurse. I have NEVER been shamed for nursing my child. Most people do not give me a second glance. This is my personal way to normalize breastfeeding.
I also teach my children that this is how babies eat. To them a mother nursing a baby is normal. They are not traumatized by seeing it. As they grow up I hope it continues to be just a normal, every day thing to them. I believe if we make breastfeeding normal while our kids are little, they will grow up to be adults that also normalize breastfeeding.
To summarize, breastfeeding is normal. Breastfeeding is about the comfort of mother and baby. Breastfeeding does NOT require, a cover, privacy, or your permission. Teach your children that it is normal, and be sure to support the moms in your life you know that choose to breastfeed.
What is your experience with breastfeeding? Did you choose to feed your baby this way? Have you ever been shamed for doing so? Comment below.