World Breastfeeding Week 2019
World Breastfeeding Week isn’t about pumping up other moms who breastfeed to continue doing so. It’s not about making mothers who bottle-feed feel guilty for doing so. I would argue that here in our American culture it’s about normalizing one of the most natural, God-given functions that has been deemed inappropriate or indecent. I feel it’s my duty to use WBW to educate the public, those who aren’t having their own children yet—the younger generations—that breastfeeding is healthy, normal, acceptable, applauded, and so many other positive things.
To be candid, I grew up in a very conservative state and culture that didn’t talk about or accept public breastfeeding. In my own home breastfeeding was normal and nurturing. In fact, I know that I breastfed as a toddler and can actually vaguely remember weaning (pretty crazy!). So it was confusing that outside the home and in church circles this was different, like we needed to separate God and the the breast. Wait what? He made them. He crafted them. WE sexualized them. Of course we would go and pervert something masterfully created to sustain life. OF COURSE WE WOULD.
Ok, I’m stepping off my soapbox.
Wait. No. One more thing. If you’re male and reading this, thank you. I feel like you have an even greater responsibility in this matter. When you see a new or experienced mom breastfeeding her baby, don’t feel awkward or like you need to leave or look away. She feels that. It affects her biologically. Her milk supply is impacted by your judgement. She carries that into the following weeks and months and whether or not she feels she can leave her home (or even continue breastfeeding). What to do? Smile and move on with your conversation or what you’re doing.
I’m here to share with you all, with permission, some of my favorite gorgeous moments of mothers breastfeeding their infants, including two of myself feeding one of my own babies. May this make you feel inspired to stop covering to feed if you don’t want to. May you choose to feed your baby when and where you want. May you begin to educate your children about the beauty and health of breastfeeding.
[Images of me breastfeeding my daughter, by Monet Nicole Births]