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Yay Boobies!

August 3, 2008

August 1st – 7th is World Breastfeeding Week! In honor of that, here’s a nursing pic:


We made it 8 months nursing. Sadly, she was one of those early weaners and to this day, I still miss it very much. I loved breastfeeding my sweet girl.

Breastfeeding is quite the heated subject, especially posting pics like the one above, or nursing in public. It evokes strong emotions in people, ranging from joy to disgust. People say it’s “disgusting” like feeding your child could ever be disgusting.

I try to encourage people to try to breastfeed, but fully respect it’s a highly personal decision. I can’t judge, because I didn’t breastfeed Nana – I didn’t have ANY desire. With Pia, I was in a better place emotionally and I’m so, so glad I tried and was successful.

What I don’t like is people who get “offended” by a mother nursing her child in public. It’s a boob. It’s way too sexualized and therefore, it’s “dirty”. No one stops to think that that is what they were made for. It shouldn’t have “dirty” connotations. Then there are the people that are “ok” with it, when done respectfully. Whose definition of respectful are we using here? So it’s OK, as long as you use a blanket? Or, try to cover yourself? For me, I tried to be as “respectful” as possible, but when you have a screaming kid, and huge boobs, it’s hard. And honestly? I was so focused on getting a good latch so it wouldn’t hurt like hell that I didn’t really care who saw what. Added to that, Pia hated being covered up, so I rarely did it. I was more concerned with showing the jelly-white-fish-belly than I was the boob.

It honestly makes me sad that some people have almost violent reactions to it. It’s such a beautiful thing to see, and experience. I wish everyone could see it that way. I’ll save the debate over extended breastfeeding for later this week.

So, how do you feel about it?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2008 4:40 am

    I was only able to breast feed each of my 3 for about 3 or 4 weeks before I ran out of milk. I can’t say I was sad when it happened, though, because my skin wasn’t able to stand up to it. By the end, I was sore and bleeding. I am glad I was able to give that to them, though.

  2. August 3, 2008 12:13 pm

    I am a great supporter of breastfeeding! I agree with all that you said. When I was pregnant for my first child, I was taking an early childhood development class in college and did my final paper on Breast vs Bottle … when I started this paper I had no intention on breast feeding by the time I was done I felt like I had to at least try … baby 1 nursed 15 months and weaned herself, baby 2 nursed 2 years and would still be nursing if I did not wean her, baby 3 nursed two years, baby 4 nursed 2 years and a few month, the last few months tandem nursing with baby 5 who is almost one and still nursing. With baby 6 due in February I suspect that they will also share!

    I did not have the support in the beginning, I remember a dear friend that would not even sit in the same room with me when I nursed baby 1 but by the time baby 4 & 5 came along it was no big deal!

    I think I could write a book on this topic myself, as I sit here I can just feel the excitement I have for promoting such a wonderful bond with babies!

  3. August 3, 2008 12:59 pm

    Jen, you’re making me think too much this week :o)

    I think breast feeding is wonderful, but it’s not for everyone. Because the breast is in fact sexualized in western society, I don’t think we can disregard the social norms and the strong feelings people have regarding public breast feeding. The only way to change the attitude is to turn our culture on it’s head and get people to think of breasts like they think of a finger or a foot…just a part of someone’s anatomy. To change attitudes, you’d have to tackle everything from religion to advertising. I’m not one to back down from a fight, but it will take generations to change the perceptions of what’s an appropriate amount of breast to show in public, unless of course you’re a size two and want to only wear nipple covers to the beach. Somehow that seems to be more acceptable, which is crazy. I wonder if women who belligerently disregard the social norms tend to do more to hurt the small progress that’s been made than to further the constructive dialog?

    I’ll save my rant for what I think of breastfeeding as a way to better bond with your baby for your post later in the week.

  4. Jen permalink*
    August 3, 2008 1:45 pm

    Tricia, I, personally, don’t feel it’s the “better” way to bond with your baby. It’s just one way. The best way is what works for each individual family.

    You raise an interesting question, that I’m going to have to think more on!

  5. August 3, 2008 5:55 pm

    I didn’t give birth to my son and the only way I could have breastfed him is if I had used hormones to trick my body into thinking I’d given birth and therefore could induce lactation. Lots of people suggested it to me, and you can imagine how inadequate I already felt dealing with infertility issues. For goodness sake, not only could I not conceive and carry a child, but once I finally was able to become a mother, I was once again deficient because I couldn’t breastfeed without medical intervention…ughhh!

    I decided not to use hormones to induce lactation, my hair and sense of humor were just growing back after all the creepy hormones I’d been on going through IVF.

    As a result of my not breastfeeding, my husband was able to participate in my son’s life in a way that many fathers are not able to do, which was absolutely wonderful on so many levels I can’t even tell you. When I hear women say that breastfeeding creates a stronger bond with the mom, I’m even happier that I didn’t try to do it. My son is so bonded to me that if our bond were any stronger, I may explode :o)

    I do think breastfeeding is wonderful for health and other reasons, and I support any woman who makes the choice to do so. I also agree with you though, it’s not the only choice, and whether or not “breast is best” is still up for grabs in my mind. My sister recently asked me (she’s a brand new mom) if I could have a baby tomorrow the old fashioned way, would I breast feed. I immediately and unequivocally said NO. She’s breastfeeding and the first few weeks were horrible, but I’m so proud of her for sticking it out. It is important to her.

    My comments here are turning in to post-length essays. Geez. I’m so going to shut up in case I’m scaring other people away from commenting.

  6. August 3, 2008 6:32 pm

    As far as bonding goes I personally can’t say if breastfeeding did anything more for the bond I have with my son and his bond with his father. I breastfed for 6 months, I stopped because I got tired of pumping and working a full time job and him in daycare pumping was a must. I honestly thought I wasn’t giving him enough nutrition at that point and though formula is expensive, it was the best thing for the both of us and he didn’t seem to care either way as long as he got food.

    My son’s bond with me is very strong, he’ll drop a toy in less than a second when I walk into the daycare so that he can run into my arms. The first thing he does when he gets home….he yells for daddy and wants to climb the stairs because he knows where daddy is…..I’m forgotten at this point as he scrambles to give his daddy a hug. I’d say his bond with his father is just as strong as his bond with me…would it be different if I had been able to continue breastfeeding? I can’t say one way or the other…however I like things the way they are now.

  7. August 5, 2008 2:37 am

    Love the pic Jen. I BF both my kids until the age of 2 and I am so glad I was able to do so. Although it was challenging at times I still can’t say I would of changed a thing. You are correct everyone bonds in different ways but this was a great way for me to bond with my kids. I loved the stare they gave me while nursing as if they admired me, little did they know I was admiring them. I HATE for people to talk down on BF I don’t understand what the big deal is. I once heard a lady on Dr. Phil say it was not flattering, seriously?!?!?! I just thought that was ODD.

    Thanks for taking me back down memory Lane.

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