Nice Rack

I was browsing Facebook this morning on my Blackberry and one of the groups I am a fan of, Midwifery Today, posted a link on their wall about a nurse-in in Iowa. This article really fired me up
about an issue that has really bugged me for a while now. In the blog entry (linked above) they describe how a poll posted on the news story indicated that a stunning 32% of respondents answer that they felt nursing mothers should re-locate to a designated feeding area to breastfeed their children. I am completely appalled at this. It is stories like this that test my faith in humanity.

First off, at this point it is common knowledge that BREAST IS BEST!!! No matter how hard formula companies try, they have not yet and probably never will match the benefits of breast milk. I don't think there is any way for them to include all of the anti-bodies that the mother's body produces specialized specifically for their infant at that moment in time. It's an amazing system. Mother Nature knows exactly what she's doing and although it may sound judgemental, I think that any mother who consciously chooses not to exclusively breastfeed for at LEAST the first six months of life (as opposed to those who are unable to for medical reasons) is short-changing their child. The breastfeeding relationship between mother and child has so many benefits, not just to baby, but to mommy, too.

Breast milk is highly specialized for each individual child by their age, health status, and dietary needs. The mother's body knows intuitively what the baby needs. Breastfeeding, especially in the hours and days following birth, encourages a deep bond between mother and child that can be difficult to reproduce otherwise. (I have plenty to say about this and the institutionalization of birth, too, but that's for another entry another time.) In addition to those thing, studies have shown that breastfeeding for at least six months in a lifetime can significantly reduce the mother's risk for breast and cervical cancer.

Regardless, however, of a person's choice to breastfeed their own child or not, the idea that there are people out there AFRAID that their child might catch a glimpse of a mother's breast while feeding their child is, in my opinion, absolutely ludicrous. And, as far as I can tell, this nonsense can be traced to the horrible sexualization of nudity and breasts in particular in our country. People have this irrational fear that the sight of a human breast is so inherently sexual that it will emotionally and psychologically scar their children for life. What are we teaching our children by shaming the human body in this way? Little girls learn to hate their bodies and little boys learn to objectify them. I think that there is NOTHING more beautiful than a mother breastfeeding her baby and I LOVE when my 16 month old daughter gets to view other babies and children nursing. It is teaching her about the nature order of things, yes, but also showing her what the primarily function of the breasts are; feeding our young.

In fact, I am also disgusted by how the entire human body has become sexualized in our culture. The idea that the simple state of being naked is sexual. I undress to shower all the time, and I am in no way intending on getting laid as a result of it. I fancy myself to be something of a nudist anyway, and I think our society's general attitude towards nudity not only fosters poor body image, but also teaches our children than to be human and to be in a human body is somehow dirty or naughty. As a good example, I have a friend who has a 3 year old daughter. She told me an anecdote about her MIL coming for a visit. Her daughter loves to run around the house naked and she encourages it because (1) it's comfortable and (2) why not?? While her MIL was visiting, however, she kept chasing the little girl around the house with panties trying to get her to wear them. The whole time, my friend couldn't quite peg why it bothered her so much that her MIL was trying to cover her up. It wasn't until after her MIL had left that it hit her; she didn't want to teach her young, impressionable daughter that her vagina is dirty. That's right, folks! Vaginas aren't dirty!

The article about the nurse-in hit the nail on the head when it said that the issue of breastfeeding is a FEMINIST one. I am irritated when I see the display of colorful nursing cover-ups sold by most children's stores. To those women who are not comfortable enough with their bodies to not use one (which I don't and, I might add, still aren't flashing any copious amount of flesh without), I encourage you to be brave. Just remember when you gave birth and room full of nurses and doctors were staring at your vagina. You weren't modest then and there's no reason to be modest now, LOL. Okay... so I guess that's a little harsh, but I guess there's some small part of me crying out here and saying that nursing cover-ups are just perpetuating the sexualization of breasts by suggesting pretty explicitly that they need to be or should be covered.

AAOJWER()&*!@#$%IH@#$TLKNASf This issue just makes me so MAD!!!! Seriously. Breasts are for breastfeeding. Children should see breastfeeding to know what breasts are for just like they are taught what their eyes, ears, and noses are for. If you don't like looking at it DON'T LOOK, but I think a breastfeeding mother and child is one of the most beautiful sights I've even seen. Babies are made to breastfeed. Breasts are made to breastfeed. Get over it.

1 Response to "Nice Rack"

  1. Anonymous Says:

    AMEN AND HALLELUJAH!!! I couldn't agree more... I nursed Ian until he was well past two, and Lucien is welcome at my breastaurant for as long as he wishes to eat there :)

    I also am totally with you on the birth rights, I considered becoming a midwife or doula myself for a long time. One of my exes and best friends finished midwifery school right before Ian was born and was able to attend our homebirth with him. It was awesome.

    And oh yeah I'm a nudist at heart as well, being free and open that way is just the best, especially outside (weather permitting of course) nothing like feeling the wind in your dreads and the sun on your back :)

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