I'm pretty much numb to The Crazy by now...several Milk Storms and a few thousand breastfeeding stories later, I hardly even hear the grumblings of the naysayers.
But there is one phrase that is uttered just loud enough for me to catch...one phrase that has been said too many times to ignore any longer:
"Breastfeeding should be a private moment between mother and child."
Yes - that one.
So as I sit here, letting the latest media frenzy blow over, I find myself with a few minutes to go over the very basics...the bread and butter of nursing, so to speak...or perhaps, the abc's of Minding Your F*cking Business.
Because every breastfeeding journey is different. Each one is unique and individual. What works for you, might not work for me and vice versa...don't bind me with your ready-made rules and assume that my boobs and I will fit perfectly into your nursing ideal without so much of a stretched seam.
And onto the clincher...those two words that rattle my brain:
Oh wow. If breastfeeding is a 'private moment', then the entire first year of my daughter's life can be defined as one singular, sleepless and elongated 'private moment'...The fact is, breastfeeding has many different faces. One second, it's dressed up as Connection and Bonding and then in a blink of an eye, it's changed into Exhaustion and Frustration. It might even try on Cuteness and Beauty, amid moments of Crazy and HUNGER. To define it as just one thing, with just one face, one hat, one outfit...is doing us all a disservice.
Because for me, that's where the true beauty lies...right there amid the Cute and the Crazy, snuggled up against Connection and Frustration. To offer your breast right on through the Exhaustion and to get on with the grocery shop right on through the Bonding is near-on a perfect definition of Motherhood - if such a thing even exists.
And why do we share our nursing pictures? Because we want to (so f*ck you), oh - and because we need to.
If the Mama Bean Facebook page happened to feature daily pictures of moms and kids waving at the camera, I would put money on the fact that nobody would snark, "why are you sharing that?" Yet throw a boob into the shot and the naysayers come out to play: "Put it away, we don't need to see it!"
Erm...yes we do.
The new mom struggling with those first few feeds needs to see it, so that she feels encouraged to keep on working her way up the learning curve.
The mom being shamed for nursing in public needs to see it, so that she has the confidence to rise above the critics.
The mom being hassled for nursing an older baby needs to see it, so that she knows she's not alone on the (well-trodden) road of child-led weaning.
Quite simply, we all need to see it. I've said before and I will say again - we need to see it until we don't even think to notice it anymore.
So there you have it. I'm sure you can guess what exactly you can do with your "Private Moment"...wishing you peaceful travels, dearest naysayers ;-)
- Why Nursing In Public Should Be No Big Deal
- The Problem With Discreet Breastfeeding
- Do We Really Need To See It?