No I am not talking about being uncomfortable with a woman showing off her cleavage for attention. Sadly too many people are completely comfortable with that but are perturbed when they see a baby, or God forbid a toddler, suckling on a breast. This week a dear friend of mine was ridiculed..... by another mother. My friend Kasondra was at a children's museum with her husband, toddler, and newborn baby. They sat down to have a snack in the area for such purposes and Kasondra began to feed her baby because, you guessed it, the baby was hungry. Kasondra fed her baby as God intended, with her breast. Completely normal if you ask me. But for some reason another woman, actually another mother in the room thought that this was not only abnormal, but gross. She proceeded to tell her children to not look in Kasondra's direction and that Kasondra was "being gross". Now, we know as parents that our words can stick with our children and that they are watching our every move. This woman really did her children a disservice. She told them that breastfeeding was gross, not just with her words but also her body language. Now her daughter might not fully understand this now, but when she comes of age when her breasts start developing and she starts to wonder why and what their purpose is, she might subconsciously come back to this moment. I mean, she is already being told from every other angle that breasts are for sex and the enjoyment of men. She is being told by the media that women's bodies are to be looked at, mocked, picked apart, and played with. That woman telling her daughter that breastfeeding is gross, that doing something with her body that is good, healthy, right, and down right near sacred is instead disgusting is setting her daughter up to completely devalue herself and her body just like the rest of the world is already telling her to do. And that is coming from her mother, the most influential woman in her life.
This woman did not just do a disservice to her daughter, but also to her son. Because everything that she just told her daughter, with that one statement, she also told her son. Her dear son is going to grow up in a world where he is pressured to see women as objects and not the amazing, powerful, beautiful, creations of God that they are. If you don't believe me, seriously just look around you at the billboards and commercials you see. I just saw a Hardee's commercial that primarily focused on a woman in a bikini very slowly and sensually attacking a fish sandwich. They were selling sex, not the sandwich, because they know that sex sells. Those advertising executives know that if they sell sex they will sell their sandwich. It's appalling really. And that is the world that her son is going to grow up in, scratch that, is ALREADY growing up in. The comment so quickly made by his mother will stick with him. That breastfeeding is gross. When the time comes he will make the connection, he will think, "So if breastfeeding is gross, then what else could breasts be for. Oh yeah.... for me, for men, for sex. Just like I saw on t.v., just like my friends told me, just like that magazine showed me." And this thought will be innate in him. It will be so easy to confirm all the bull crap he is being told by the world because his own mother taught him at a very young age that "breastfeeding is gross."
But the disservice doesn't just end with her children, this woman also was teaching all of the children within earshot of her voice. Her disgust which was simply fueled by her discomfort was heard by all the other little boys and girls (about 15 in total) within hearing distance, including Kasondra's own 2.5 year old, Nate. Thank God the little guy still nurses himself and he has parents who are going to correct the damage that woman could have done to his very impressionable mind. So he won't be easily swayed, but who knows what impact her words could have on Nate. What if now all the sudden he starts to wonder if he and his baby brother are being gross by drinking milk from their mommy? All because of one women's discomfort and quickness to judge and mock.
Now I am not going to go into all of the advantages of breastfeeding. I don't care if you breastfeed or formula feed your kid. That's your business. But don't completely screw up your kids mind about a woman's body and it purpose just because you are uncomfortable with breastfeeding. If your kid asks "Mommy (or Daddy), what is that lady doing?" Just simply state what she is doing. Just tell them that she is feeding her baby milk. Then you can go on to remind them that other animals feed their babies milk and this is how human babies eat too. If they proceed to ask about bottles and why do other babies eat from a bottle then you can go on to explain that some mommy's can't produce milk or they choose to use bottles but this is the way that God designed or nature intended for babies to eat. Just answer their questions, that's all they want. They don't want to know your opinion on the matter, they just want to know what's going on. Children are not as opinionated and judgmental as we adults are, and thank God for that. So just tell them what's going on. That's all they want anyways.
P.S. Praise the Lord another mother heard what was going on, came up and told Kasondra she is doing a good job, sat down next to her and started nursing her own baby.