Mark and I took his daughter to see Beauty and the Beast yesterday. Even after all the talk about how one of the actors is gay, I honestly did not even notice this in the film- or maybe I wasn’t paying close enough attention. But even so- it is everywhere and in 2017, we are used to seeing it- it does not phase us at all. Over the last 20 years being Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Trans has become normal. It is in every Netflix Series I have watched, most reality TV show, movies– oh and of course real life. Something that was once so private, is now very public, something that did not seem so common is now everywhere.
Okay– times have changed and quality of life has improved for members of that community because we are normalizing this.
So why is it when I am watching these same shows they are bottle feeding. Why is it something that EVERY woman’s body was made to do since the beginning of time is something that is still considered to so many something that should be done in private, gross, or not normal. The fact that as a nursing mom- asking to use a fitting room when I was at Neiman Marcus two years ago to nurse Caleb (in fear that if I did nurse in public I would offend OTHER PEOPLE) – was referred to the BATHROOM— (Don’t worry– I did not accept that offer– it was fitting room or I would rejoin my family for lunch and just nurse him at the table (like I should have to begin with- but again… so much fear of offending other people).
BREASTS ARE TO FEED BABIES. THIS is why God gave women boobs… When they are feeding babies, they are not sexual. Legally, I am allowed to feed my baby anywhere that my baby and I are allowed to be WITHOUT A COVER. (By the way have you every tried using one of those covers… it is hot… and half the time baby is pulling the blanket off anyway. (I have a scarf cover I got from the big latch on last year that I keep to use just in case I am in a situation that I need to feed my baby, and don’t feel comfortable nursing without a cover and trust me I have those moments.)
But the truth is… I shouldn’t feel this way. As a nursing mom trying to provide the best start in life to my baby as possible, I shouldn’t have to feel awkward, or embarrassed (or like I am going to embarrass my son who is 7 and of course has friends and I don’t think any of his friends know what breastfeeding is, so if his friends are over, I go to another room to feed the baby– and same at cub scouts). If we worked together to NORMALIZE BREASTFEEDING children would grow up knowing what breastfeeding is, knowing that they were breastfed, everyone would be used to seeing mothers feed their babies, so that when I am at the play area at the mall I wouldn’t get glares from the other side (I mean come on– play area at the mall– we are all moms here… why are you glaring out me as I am nursing my two month old.)
And this is just it- people are so thrown off by seeing moms breastfeed because you do not see it every day. Breastfeeding is NOT normalized in the United States.
We need to change this WE NEED TO NORMALIZE BREASTFEEDING. We need to make people used to seeing it. WE NEED TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN THAT BREASTFEEDING IS NORMAL (and what it is… because a 10 year old asking why I am feeing the baby from my stomach- should not be something that is asked because by 10, I would think they would know). Boys and Girls both need to know what breastfeeding is because breastfeeding is a normal fact of life. Then girls will understand the importance of it and boys will grow up to be supportive father’s when their wives decide to breastfeed.
What about the first time mom that chooses to breastfeed, NORMALIZE BREASTFEEDING so she will be so used to other mothers also breastfeeding that she won’t feel embarrassed when she is out of the house and needs to feed her baby. I was this mom- especially with Colton and in the beginning with Caleb- trying to find somewhere to hide to feed them– I have so many stories of this… including being SO thankful for the Baby Care Station at the Canfield Fair because poor Colton was so hungry and I was so afraid to nurse him and of course forgot a blanket– it was like 100 degrees.. why would I need one other than to cover and SWEAT while I fed my baby. OH or how about when my own husband (now ex husband) embarrassed me when we were at Bob Evans with his family and my friend, and Colton was hungry so I was feeding him WITH A COVER when told me I needed to go to the bathroom to feed him. I was so embarrassed I bundled up my hungry baby and went out to the FREEZING car so I could feed him. I am still thankful for my friend that stood up for me that day.
So this is my challenge to you. In our country we are normalizing so many things in this generation, let’s work together to normalize breastfeeding (again- let me remind you before formula this was how women fed their babies). I would love to see breastfeeding on television shows and in movies, if a baby is eating- make him/her breastfed and TALK ABOUT BREASTFEEDING in the show positively! If you are a nursing mother, stop being afraid to breastfeed in public. If you are a nursing mother and you see a young mom nursing, stop and sit with her and breastfeed too- I know it sounds weird, but for me- I feel much more comfortable nursing in a situation that there are other moms also nursing. If you are a parent, teach your children WHAT BREASTFEEDING IS and that it is a natural part of the functions for a woman and the healthiest way to feed a baby. If you are a teacher, especially a sex education, parenting, or health teacher, please teach about breastfeeding in your class– this shouldn’t be a secret or something to be ashamed about.
ALSO- My Challenge to you. Is to normalize leaving baby boys intact (in most states in the US)- we need to stop cutting off vital parts of penises for no reason at all. God made every baby perfect, there is no reason to alter any part of a healthy baby’s body without his (or her) permission (and I am pretty sure a newborn can not talk and tell you to cut off a functioning, healthy part of their penis just because you feel like that is the way it should be.) (And I have SO much more I could add to this, but that is all for another blog post). Go to Your Whole Baby or Saving Sons to get more information on circumcision.