If you stop by my Facebook page, you'll find an array of breastfeeding photographs; some of newborns taking their first sips and some of toddlers practising a little 'gymnurstics'. Needless to say, every single one of them is beautiful. These pictures have been sent to me for sharing, by proud nursing mothers across the globe. These women are both empowered and empowering; because with every share, they are helping to normalize breastfeeding.
So when mama Tanya sent in the following shot, taken by the super-talented Paulina, from Paulina Splechta Photography, I shared it with a smile. Because, as you can see, it’s a stunningly beautiful picture…
My community reacted just as I had; there was lots of gushing and many comments of “Wow!”, “Amazing!” and “How Beautiful!”
But then, as ever, the naysayers joined the party.
I feel the need to warn you, at this point, that the following comments are not suitable reading material for those of a mindset sensitive to idiocy, ignorance or poor grammar/spelling…
“All I'm Saying Is That My 2yr. Niece & Nephew Can Drink And Feed Themselves... Can A Breastfeeded Child Capable Of Mentally & Motor Skills Wise Accomplish That. Not Down On Breastfeeding Nor The Photo.”
Ok, in fairness this one really is pretty funny. With the up-and-down capitalization and the inclusion of “Breastfeeded”. If it were a toddler using the term, it would be rather cute. But alas, no such luck. There are adults who genuinely believe this drivel and unfortunately, the crazy doesn't stop there. Again, please look away now if you have an intolerance to idiocy, ignorance or poor grammar/spelling...
“I agree much too old to still be breast feeding! Their comes a time when wheening just seems the right thing to do!...Cups were invented for a reason!!!!!”
Head. Meets. Desk.
Seeing as the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until at least two years of age…the whole 'too old to be breastfeeding' argument falls flat on its face right there.
In truth, there’s a big part of me that feels truly angry that we are still reading/hearing such negativity and misunderstanding towards breastfeeding in 2014…but there is hope. Because the vast majority saw this photograph for exactly what it is: beautiful.
For every negative comment made against this picture, there have been at least 10 positive ones. For every show of ignorance, there have been at least 10 helpful and researched arguments in favor of breastfeeding. The pro-breastfeeding resources and genuine appreciation of the beauty in this photograph dramatically outnumber the negativity, and that’s no small feat!
Sure, the "I support breastfeeding BUT" crowd stopped by for a moment, along with those who consider a public bathroom an acceptable place to nurse a baby, but overwhelmingly, the majority of commentators are supporters.
Paulina, the photographer, told me, "I am proud to be able to capture this amazing moment, but I am even more hopeful that through the work that I do, I can help contribute to spreading the word in our society that breastfeeding is normal."
Yes, breastfeeding is normal. And with support, encouragement and exposure (pun intended), even more mothers will feel empowered enough to trust their instincts, their children and their bodies.
So thank you, to every person who took the time to comment with support and with positivity. And thank you to Paulina and Tanya, for opening more hearts and minds to the true beauty of breastfeeding.
You can read the Facebook discussion in full here