Here's me breastfeeding. Again. (Actually, that's a lie. I had been breastfeeding but that baby right there is flat out asleep).
I am not, and never have been, a discreet breastfeeder. Why would I? It's natural. It's normal. I never felt it was something to hide. Or flaunt. When my baby is hungry, I just do it.
I believe in breastfeeding. It has been all kinds of fabulous for me and for my baby.
Sometimes though, I hesitate to share how I feel about it for fear of alienating non-breastfeeders or somehow making them feel bad.
I know not everyone has the same breastfeeding journey that I have had.
The women who go back to work and EXPRESS CONSTANTLY in order to keep their baby exclusively breastfed; the women who struggle terribly but persevere with breastfeeding – that's something to admire. Breastfeeding never threw those kinds of challenges at me.
So I don't claim any superiority because I breastfeed my children.
But I would like to see some of the wonky views about breastfeeding corrected. In particular, the view that it's gross, not normal. So in my small quiet way, I will post my breastfeeding photos. Because I believe in it, I want to help normalise the image of the breastfeeding mother AND because I happen to think these pictures are beautiful.
Advocating without alienating is a tricky balance. But I think it's possible to promote one choice while maintaining respect for the absolute right for people to go another way. But still, I seem to stumble nervously with my words.
So thank god for Gina from The Feminist Breeder. She has written The Feminist Lactivist Manifesto and believe me when I say it is the most fabulous and inclusive piece of writing on the subject of breastfeeding that I have ever read. EVER. It upholds the important benefits we know to be true about breastfeeding while maintaining the respect for every family to choose the right method of infant feeding for them.
I encourage you to read it and, if you agree with Gina, to share it with your women friends. And hell, the men, too. It's just that awesome.
Hey! They just reset the ranking tally here so last night I was actually at #2! I lost my mind. But that was short-lived. However, the reset means with your regular vote, I might be able to stay somewhere in the Top 25 which would keep me on the first page. Help me cast the net for new readers. Thank you, attractive people! xx
Awww, really? “Ever?” Thanks 🙂 You rock.
Thank you. But we know who the rockstar is in this particular equation. xx
*Don’t go all fangirl, Angie. Breathe. BREATHE.*
“Advocating without alienating is a tricky balance.” So true! I was fortunate to find BFing easy. Honestly, I felt like I had no idea what I was doing when my kids were newborns, but at least I could feed them like a champ. I don’t like to talk about it much because I’m afraid of coming across as feeling superior. I don’t. I did what worked best for my family and THAT’S the important thing, no matter what form that takes.
i love how you write “it’s natural. It’s normal. I never felt it was something to hide. Or flaunt. When my baby is hungry, I just do it.” i feel the same and you put it so nicely but i also love when you say “Advocating without alienating” whether one breastfeeds or formula feeds her baby, we’re all just doing the best we can aren’t we?
love your blog xx
Absolutely. I can understand why a new mother who found breastfeeding so difficult that she didn’t continue would find the “breast is best” message upsetting, highlighting what she may already perceive as a failure.
But then again, the answer surely isn’t to never talk about breastfeeding again. The information should be readily available but given without judgement. Support is key.
Yes! Of course we are. We all want to do the very best for our babies. Information and support should be there for all new mums.
Thank you, lovely Mumma.
I too was lucky to be able to breast feed with any problems. I was also not very discreet which used to bring about all sorts of fuss and bother with friends, family and strangers alike. Pffft
Might seem silly to say but I actually felt like I went through some sort of mourning when I finished breast feeding my 2 children, I loved it that much.
I totally understand that, Tash. I think I will feel the same when the time comes. It’s been a huge part of my mothering journey and one of the most precious.
I read and shared the manifesto, it was beautiful wasn’t it? I’m one of those women who’ll breastfeed ANYWHERE, but I wasn’t like that with my first bub. I didn’t really have any support and knew very few breastfeeding mums so I lacked the confidence. When my 2nd bub came along, boob was all that kept him happy (quiet) so I had to suck it up and whip it out! So glad I did. I love breastfeeding. Such a beautiful, natural gift. How awesome is it that a simple breast can nourish, soothe and comfort a tiny person?
I was a Nazi Nurser before I gave birth. Then, I had a child that curled my toes for SIX WEEKS. I thought it would never get easy–it finally did. So when I hear people say they aren’t interested in trying, or find it “icky”, I want to bitch-slap them for being selfish. Yep, I said it. Selfish. I know it’s not everyone’s “thing”, but that’s what the damned things are for. I get going back to work. I get lack of support. I DON’T get failing to try.
I tried, it sucked. FOR SIX LOOOOONG WEEKS. I got over it. Because otherwise, my boobies had no purpose. And I can look back, and know I did everything possible to give them the best start–and that what I gave them is irreplaceable. Thanks for the breastfeeding pics, we need more of them, in more places!
Yep, I have conflicting feelings about those who won’t even try. Mostly, I feel sad because I wonder whether they might have surprised themselves with the discovery that it can be amazing.
But then, I don’t know the background. I imagine there are some compelling reasons for many women. I can’t walk in their shoes – or nurse from their breasts – so I can never really understand their position.
I try to give other women the benefit of the doubt.
In saying that, if that woman’s reason is that she thinks it’s weird or gross, then hopefully this little post can be a drop in the ocean towards changing these misconceptions.
Thanks for reading and congratulations on making it through those six weeks!
So beautiful. It just encompassed everything I feel but could never dream of being able to articulate. Gina is amazing.
I love that you’ve embraced breastfeeding the way you have and gained that confidence. Your comment exposes the need for the conversation to continue. I know many women feel the breastfeeding message is rammed down their throats but actually, there are still many women who aren’t getting the information and support often required to make nursing work.
I am in awe of what my breasts can do. I really am! I would be lost without them on this mothering journey.
Thanks so much for reading, Kelly. xxx
Beautiful photo. I love that you share – quietly, proudly, respectfully. (And I’m in awe of your self-portraits. Mine suck.)
Thank you, lovely.
As to the self-portraits, you have not seen the ‘outtakes’ – seriously.