the nest

the nest

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

now it's time for a rant...

I am by nature an optimistic, forgiving person.  I am inclined to ALWAYS give the benefit of the doubt and I never assume someone has done something hurtful intentionally.  Over the years, this way of being has led to a lovely life filled with many lovely girlfriends (see previous post!).  I'm lucky.  I've surrounded myself by and large with women who, whether they agree with me or not, support my choices in life, particularly as they have related to raising my children.  As kids get older, I think this can sometimes be easier; the choices are wider and more ambiguous and many of them aren't really our choices but our children's.
I'm working on a project related to my work and young mothers.  This has brought be back to a world of reading and researching on mothering infants and babies - even back to pregnancy.  Being immersed back in this world is reminding me how absolutely ridiculous and MEAN women can be to each other when they have made different choices.  It's also reminded me that not all choices ARE equal and maybe that's why some of us devolve into vicious, judgemental, "mean girls" in grown up bodies.
Here comes rant number 1, so if you're not up for it here's your chance to leave...

I keep seeing and hearing obnoxious media stories about women being harrassed about breastfeeding in public.  ENOUGH ALREADY!  Breasts are designed to feed babies. Breastmilk is uniquely designed for not only babies, but for YOUR baby.  Yes there are situations where breastfeeding is not possible, but not as many as you would think.  A great number of women who don't breastfeed may have if they had a number of things:  Accurate information, support to take the time necessary to "learn" how to do it, PATIENCE, healthy diets, a nation that supports families in caring for their very youngest children with paid maternity leave and health professionals who are well trained.
If you weren't able to breastfeed your baby for whatever reason, I'm sorry.  If you chose not to do so and made that choice based on accurate information and made the decision that was best for you and your family, more power to you.  If you didn't breastfeed because you didn't have the support, information and nurturance you need to be successful, shame on the rest of us for not being there.
There is no disputing that Breastmilk is superior to formula.  Study after study after study has established this fact.  Yes, there are times when an alternative has been essential, but breastfeeding is why we have survived as a species as long as we have.  It is a convenient, perfect food for the young of our species.  It nourishes not only the physical, but emotional development of the baby AND the mother.  It bonds women to their children in a unique way and teaches mother's how to read and respond to THEIR child.  There is also a reason that the longer you breastfeed (cumulatively), the lower your risk of breast cancer.  IT'S WHAT THEY ARE FOR.  We cause problems biologically when we mess with nature.
Ultimately, what makes me crazy is not the choices that women and families make about how to feed their babies (really not my business!) but when I hear over and over how it's disgusting or inconvenient or gross to breastfeed.  What if I walked up to someone bottle feeding and said "How can you put that disgusting chemical formula into your baby? How gross ~ it makes me uncomfortable, you should hide that away so I don't have to look at it!"  "Here, cover that thing up," or "The restroom is around the corner, maybe you can do it in private."
These are the things that breastfeeding women hear.  We show breasts (real and artificial) on billboards, in videos and movies, on beaches, EVERYWHERE.  We glorify breasts as sexual objects, but god forbid a woman uses them the way they are designed and we see her breast.
ENOUGH already!  If you see a woman breastfeed and you don't want to see her breast, DON'T LOOK.
If you are a breastfeeding woman and have felt compelled to "hide" either in a private room or under one of those ridiculous "bibs" (I apologize if you use and like them, but they reinforce the idea that there is something wrong going on that should be hidden!), be proud and strong and call me if you need someone to come and fight for you, because I'll be there.  The more we "see" women nursing their babies, the more normal it becomes.  When children see mother's breastfeeding, they don't see "yuck" they see "huh, wonder what's going on?" This can lead to a conversation about how this all works.  That's what women should be doing for each other ~ not gossiping or judging our different choices, but standing up for and defending each other and all of the decisions and choices we make because we are in it together.  Let's make it better for our daughters so they can embrace their amazing bodies and make choices based on facts, not biases.

This is just the beginning.... I have a list of rants in my brain that have been percolating behind my "don't say anything that might hurt someone's feelings or make someone feel bad" filter.  I've decided I won't apologize.  If you don't like it, don't read it.


  1. Read it and loved it! Keep 'em coming! :-)

  2. Loved the rant...I have to share something that happened to me...I breastfed both of my kids, and I remember an occasion when a neighbor stopped by while I was nursing my daughter and my now, ex-husband, whispered to me and asked that I go into the bedroom because it was making our neighbor uncomfortable. I was totally blown away...I suggested that the neighbor come back later!!

  3. I couldn't agree with you more! I don't know if you remember, but our son Julius was born with a cleft-palate. This made it impossible for him to get enough suction on the breast to stimulate milk production--so I used the industrial strength pump for 11 months! Quite a commitment and hassle, but I believed so strongly in the power of breast milk that I would have it no other way. It was very difficult to deal with the odd looks and comments from friends and relatives when I'd arrive carrying that pump!

  4. BRAVA dear one! I wouldn't call that a rant're much too gentle. Accurate, informative, loving. thank you