Got Milk?

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Yes, yes I do. My newborn has reached the auspicious age of two months of life. If you live in the USA, two months, is the time for your baby to receive certain vaccinations (TDap and the like).

I recently had this appointment and had a rather odd encounter.

I was totally Earth Momma on a mission, we walked to our appointment (it was 8 minutes away walking), my diaper bag was packed with my fancy recycled toys and cloth diapers. I also had my nursing bra on. Yes, a bra designed to release the tatas. (Gasp!)

So we get there, wait, go in and my little guy gets his shots and is upset naturally. We go out into the office lobby to pay, schedule another appointment, etc. Well at this Pediatrician’s office, they have a well baby/ breast feeding room. It’s always empty.

I go into this room because, I want him to eat before the walk back. I am sitting in the most uncomfortable of chairs and a nurse comes in. A nurse that works for the office I am in. She is looking down at the floor, embarrassed, she won’t look me in the face, and she is clearly uncomfortable. She said I forgot my appointment reminder card. She gives me a card with my appointment date and flees stating she’d shut the room’s door for me, for my privacy— which the same door she shuts says to keep it open.

Why was she uncomfortable? We are ladies, we all have breasts. Why did she need to shut the door? It was a very large waiting area, and I was in the back, off to the side. I wasn’t in front of the door at all. Why the need to hide what I was up to, by shutting the door?

We are mammals. We learn that in Elementary school. Mammals feed their young with milk that they produce.

On the other hand…

We are lucky that we are able to make formula to feed babies. Some people can’t make milk or shouldn’t because of health concerns (like my medication to control the growth of my brain tumor is bad for nursing babies.).

Either way, feeding your baby is a good, wholesome, necessary thing to do!

I’m not promoting one way or the other, I am doing both right now. In the near future I will have to go back on my medications and get my MRI (I’ve missed 2 so far). So I will stop breast feeding and exclusively formula feed. I do however, have a problem with breast feeding. It’s upsetting.

It upsets me that, it is upsetting to others and many in the USA to see someone breast feed in public. I don’t even mean without a cover. I mean people being uncomfortable with ladies even being completely covered up, breast feeding in public.

There has been a lot if controversy lately with this. It’s been in the news first, with the Victoria Secret fiasco (read about it here) and just this past week at Bob Evans (click here for this story). You may think, “Oh these are two isolated instances.” But, they aren’t.

Many women are being forced to breast feed in bathrooms, cars, or asked to do it somewhere else. Problem is, when I go out, there aren’t any private places to go to accomplish this task.

There are laws protecting a working women’s right to pump during their working day, and a lot of these women are forced to pump in the bathroom. Some women are threatened by their employers and told to “do it on your own time.” Or asked to not do it at all. These laws state that a breast feeding woman who are employed by any company must have the right to a breast feeding area, the time to pump, and a place to store this milk.

A lot of women don’t know this, or are bullied into not claiming their rights. Which the bulling, and not being allowed to pump, is against the law.

These two things, breast feeding in public and women having problems pumping at work, is building a very interesting ad campaign in support of good places for all women to breast feed. (article about campaign)

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Why are we so anti breast? Especially when we see them all the time?

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A lot of it has to do with how, as a country, we see women. We are seen as sexual objects. Whenever you see a woman in an ad, advertising clothing, scent, shoes, hair care…. You name it, if she’s not a mom touting mom products, she’s either posed one of three ways. She is either a dominating sexual presence or a submissive, often eyes blackened and looking abused, or an object, literally. I would say this is true 90% of the time and these images were VERY easy to find:

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This turns us not only into objects that people feel they can do with what they will (another post entirely), or over sexualizes us. Meaning that’s what we are and what we are good for. Our only use in this life.

One of my husband’s female co-workers asked me what kind of milk I feed my baby. I automatically, without hesitation said, “mine.” She looked so shocked and disturbed and there was a huge awkward silence. I even felt embarrassed. I hastily said we also supplement with Simalic (only to give him his needed Vitamin D liquid vitamin). She imidately became more comfortable in my presence.

That is ridiculous. Completely ridiculous.

At the same time, on a site I frequent (babyBump) a mother-to-be posted that breast feeding was sexual and only perverted mothers do it to get off, or feel sexual gratification.

Ew. What the Hell. No. How can that even be a thought in her head? Maybe she was a troll, I really hope so.

If not though, someone put that thought into her head. It came from somewhere.

Can I tell you what I feel when I breast feed? I promise it’s PG and not even close to sexy.

I feel, physically, pressure being released. It hurts to leave it or avoid feeding often. So, having that pain go away is nice. My son doesn’t latch (attach himself) to my breast correctly so it hurts like… Someone is trying to twist it off. Ouch. Once that goes away, it’s not bad, I can barely feel it. In fact, sometimes, I don’t notice he’s done eating ,and he’s passed out from his feeding. (Babies like to sleep after they eat… Hmmm so do some adults I know!)

How I feel, emotionally, is satisfaction. I feel pride, joy, and wonder that I provided for my son. I fed him. He is able to sustain his life with something so little as my milk. It’s amazing.

I assure you, that’s all most mothers feel. It’s how we’re wired for the most part (there have been some cases of PPD and the like where some mothers cannot breast feed because they feel an aversion to the child or themselves but, it’s a deeper issue to do with their PPD).

The problem is, there is no education being widely dispersed and taught, especially to the younger kids.

There is a rule, kind of allowance in public schools where I live. If a kid asks you a non school or non subject related question you may answer it, if you choose. While I was pregnant last year, I was still teaching. A female student asked me if I was going to breast feed my baby. I said yes. She has a mom, and her mom breast fed her and her younger siblings. Her mother never spoke to her about it. Never talked about the benefits or why we do it. The student had a lot of questions for me after class.

Not only do we need to, of course, talk about preventing pregnancy or abstinence (until the are old enough, understand consequences, all of that) but we need to talk about boobs, breasts, and tatas! We need both boys and girls educated on what they are for, besides the sexual use. Then, when the time comes, they can choose to breast feed or bottle feed or to do both. They can choose and they can respect the choices of others.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask or to hope for.

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8 thoughts on “Got Milk?

  1. With so many issues going on right now, it’s all about educating. My wife did lots of research on medical websites and saw how important for the baby breast feeding was. She breasted and pumped for quite a while.

    I’m not so sure why people have such a huge problem with public breast feeding, especially if the mom is covered up. I mean, you can’t see anything, why does that bother you? Maybe some if it comes from not being a mother? Not sure. Like I said and as you stated they are getting these views from someone or somewhere, and I wish more and more parents would educate their children before someone else outside the home gets to them. Cause trust me, as your children grow they WILL learn about life eventually, don’t let it be a stranger that teaches them.

    Like

    • I teach at a middle school and the strangers that teach them are each other (which is scary sometimes to think about!). Sometimes it’s unsavory folks too, and that can be just as bad. If we don’t teach our youth who will? You’re right. It’s very frustrating!

      Like

  2. Reblogged this on Afternoon of Sundries and commented:

    It’s summer and the questionable fashion choices abound in this southern heat of ours! This always makes me think of boobs and naturally breast feeding. Please enjoy an article I enjoyed writing in the past about why I feel breastfeeding is natural and good, not sexy and perverted.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Got Milk? | Afternoon of Sundries

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