Am I really this naive?
Or am I just too engrossed in my "breastfeeding is natural, best, and normal" community?
The past week I've heard TWO things regarding nursing in public that kinda made my blood boil.
The first one came from a young mom of a newborn. She shared with me that she was in her baby's pediatrician's office and her baby was hungry. She is breastfeeding, so simply started nursing her sweet little one, not thinking much of it.
Then it happened. An older lady (I don't know how old - she just said "older") came up to her and said something to the effect of "You are way too young to be doing that [breastfeeding]. Actually, you are way to young to have a baby."
This poor young mom was devastated. Here she thought she was doing what was best for her sweet little one and some inconsiderate older (supposedly "wiser") woman (I'm sure I could come up with several less-nice ways to refer to her) comes and crushes her spirit and resolve to do what she knows is best for her baby. In the *pediatricians office*, nonetheless. Infuriating!!
Then, a few days later I was scrolling through my newsfeed and came across this written by one of my acquaintances: "Fair warning: if you show naked women, half naked women, women wearing revealing clothes or women breast feeding I am unfriending you. I will no longer tolerate men sharing women who or women who directly contribute to the rape, violation and degradation of women. I don't care if they are swimming, working out or feeding their kid. I don't want to see it."
Wait. What? *blink* *blink*
Since when does nourishing a baby contribute to violence against women? Since when is it degrading to *feed a baby*? Am I missing something? Is there actually a sect of men out there who see a breastfeeding mom and think "oh, I want her and will do anything to have her whether or not she consents"? Or maybe they think "Oh, seeing that mom breastfeeding her baby makes me want to beat up my own wife/girlfriend".
I don't know. Maybe there is a group of people out there that truly does think this way or some other way that contributes to violence or objectification. Maybe I actually am that oblivious.
But no matter what, I will continue to breastfeed in public. I will continue to encourage others to do the same. When my baby is hungry, I'm going to feed her. I'll do my best not to flash my nipple at old ladies and acquaintances who think it will contribute to violence against women, but if I inadvertently do, they will just need to look the other way or "unfriend" me, I guess.
It is my baby's right to be fed whenever and wherever she gets hungry. And if I don't feed her when and where she needs or if I bow down to the whims of rude old ladies and delusional acquaintances, then I'm doing absolutely nothing to normalize nursing to other young moms or future moms. I want my daughters to SEE with their own eyes moms who feed - with their breasts - their babies wherever their babies are hungry.
Because if I don't normalize it for my daughters, who will?
It's my responsibility, and one I take very seriously. I want them to be strong in their decisions to nourish their babies the way God intended. If anyone gives them pressure to do something else (or HIDE it), I want them to be confident enough to not give in to that pressure.
I'm making this pledge to you all now. I will support ALL moms to breastfeed wherever and whenever they need to. Now and always.
If you are a nursing mom and want to talk with other nursing moms, or moms who have "been there", make sure to come to our Evening Milk Monologues group tomorrow evening! It's at 6:30 pm at Educated Mommy on the 2nd Thursday of every month. We'll give you the SUPPORT YOU NEED for breastfeeding - in private and public!