Friday, August 10, 2012

Breastfeeding is {NORMAL}

I may have mentioned in passing that I'm a breastfeeding mama (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here & here); so I'll be frank and say, I definitely get my panties in a knot when people get all prudish over nursing.

Allow me a moment here, nursing ones child is the biological norm for nurturing and nourishing human babies/children (see how I added 'children'; that means that you don't have to stop at 3mos, 6mos, a year, etc).  Human milk is meant for human children, it really is that simple.

So, since biologically we are hardwired to nourish our children from our breast (and biologically they are hardwired to receive nourishment from our breast) why on earth does the sharing of breastfeeding photos cause so much damn controversy (and heaven help you if you need to nurse in public... someone might see a nipple!)

A friend-of-a-friend (of-a-friend-of-a-friend, well you know how it goes) posted an photograph of her baby nursing.  It (in my oh so humble opinion) is a lovely photo.  It is no different than any other photograph that you might see of an infant receiving nourishment, except there is a breast in the picture *gasp*

This is what Facebook said to her:  "We removed the following content you posted or were the admin of because it violates Facebook's statement of Rights and Responsibilities"

A friend on her Facebook page deemed this image inappropriate and reported it to Facebook (allow a moment for that to sink in... a.friend.on.her.Facebook.reported.her.photograph).  Rather than a) avert their eyes and not look at the image, b)  remove the poster from her Facebook newsfeed or c)  remove the poster from their friend's list...

Nope, this person decided that since they felt uncomfortable (by whatever hang-ups or preconceived notions they have regarding the function of breasts) that they needed to censor the poster and report them to Facebook because heaven forbid they have boobies cluttering up their Facebook newsfeed.

 My first issue with this is their cowardly behaviour - I would hope that if I posted something that offended someone to the point of them needing.it.gone, that they would (like an adult) discuss it with me.  We may end up agreeing to disagreeing but at least we had the opportunity to discuss the situation.

My second issue is, rather than taking the measures (I mentioned above) to avoid the picture, they felt that their lack of comfort came above the comfort, nurturing and nourishment of an infant.  How incredibly grown up!

I did not start my breastfeeding journey as a lactivist, in fact, I did not start my breastfeeding journey 100% willingly (what the funk, you're thinking).

When we were expecting TT, the hubs made the point that he wanted me to try to breastfeed our unborn child.  After some serious discussions, I relented (yes, relented) but I always had the intention of formula feeding "if it didn't work out", which I was sure would happen.

Slowly, I changed my mind and I started increasing my goals (from feeding babe the first bits of colostrum, to a week, a month, 6 months) and somewhere around the 9-10 month mark, I looked at the hubs and said "I'm going to let TT self-wean".  He (the hubs) just nodded and said "I knew you would".

TT nursed until he was 14-15mos and I knew when I had my next that they would nurse as long as they desired (little did I know that babe #2 would arrive in less than a year).

With C-McC I knew that I was going to nurse, my goal was the reach 2 years... so I contacted our local LLL leader and decided that I wanted to surround myself with like-minded mama's to help me reach our goal.  We are currently on a hiatus, but if once WC arrives C-McC wishes to nurse again - he will.  That's right, I will allow (please imagine that word dripping in sarcasm) my 2 year old child to nurse while I nurse my newborn.

As I have matured as a mother, I have become much more vocal about the importance of breastfeeding - about the fact that we are setting mother's up for failure by telling them 'Breast is Best' (it isn't best it is normal) but offering them very little support to reach their nursing goals (I'm sure most mother's will attest to the fact that their doctor knows diddly-squat about breastfeeding... because unless they choose to self-educate, they're relying on their personal experience which is anecdotal 'evidence' at best) and by shaming mother's who are able to successfully breastfeed because it makes some people uncomfortable. 

The ones that should be shamed are the ones putting up all these roadblocks.
The doctor that says (without any thought, consideration) that a mother cannot breastfeed because baby is too big, baby is too small, mom does not have enough supply (insufficient supply is a serious issue... but it is not something that can be diagnosed by putting babe up against a formula feeding growth chart and certainly not without actually spending some time watching babe & mom nurse... there are other reasons for less than optimal growth and there could be an issue with babe).
Women who tell nursing mother's that it's wonderful that they can nurse but they should do so discretely, covered, segregated from everyone.
Men who tell nursing mother's that breastfeeding in public is akin to public masturbation (because they're both natural *insert eye roll*).
People who put restrictions on nursing, such as age, weight and development.

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