My body feeds / contracts / reacts and breathes // I multiply / I replete / I complete cycles on repeat // I’m from the heavens / I’m from the earth / I’m from the places that you’ve never heard. – excerpt from Celestial Bodies
| n o r m a l i z e B R E A S T F E E D I N G |
Is it cray to anyone else that we need to normalize something that’s…normal?! So normal in fact that it happens as naturally as breathing. The female body lactates, it’s what it does after giving birth. Yes, I’m aware that some women have issues with breastfeeding, I was one of those women, but my body did produce milk all on its own within days of birthing this big ole baby. For me, it was never a question of if I was going to breastfeed, if I could, I was going to, it’s what I was looking forward to the most, since that’s something I missed out on doing with my first. I did however romanticize the easiness of it. It was hard and really freakin painful. I had no idea how to do it or how much support I would need or that I would need to be taught how to do it. I envisioned birds would chirp around us as deer gathered at my feet and light beams shot out of us the moment his lips attached to my breast in an effortless latch. HAHA! Not quite. Thank Goddess for my midwife, postpartum doulas & lactation consultants (I was seen by 3!) because no one in my family had much advice on the matter as I contacted female family members crying and looking for encouragement only to find out that I was one of 3 out of 23 women in my immediate family to breastfeed. Yup. That’s it. It hasn’t been common, it’s def not normalized and breasts are still overtly sexualized and gross- ew boobs! I am part of a lineage of women who chose to formula feed vs breastfeed. I was a formula-fed baby, so I’m not completely dissing it. I seem to have turned out fine and I have one hell of an immune system. Finding out I was in the minority in my family tho led me to ask why on a larger scale and I began learning that women were sold “convenience” by a big ass *$70 billion industry and lied to about our milk. Women were made to feel that breastfeeding was inconvenient, dirty and that our milk, the one that is chemically altered on the daily to meet our babies needs, is inferior to formula and EVEN COW’S MILK for Goddess sakes! Why would I feed my baby another mammal’s milk if I have the ability to feed them my own…I rant. Scene.
I didn’t realize what a supportive breastfeeding bubble I live in, in Southern California until I traveled to the east coast this spring. I did not expect to feel so out of place, judged and even shunned while nursing my baby.
Here’s a few of the things I heard from my family:
• Ugh! He spit up on me! It’s her milk, so gross. (Male to a group of male family members).
• Oh god, you’re breastfeeding right now?! (Male. We were in the dark and Baby was in a carrier, but the mere thought of me breastfeeding was enough for him to have to leave the premises).
• Could you cover up while we’re here? I don’t think 91yo Grandpa G can handle seeing you breastfeed. (Male).
• I thought only my mom did that. (11 year old Female, because she has not seen ANYONE else nurse!)
– You can give him some whole milk now. (Female, also a head nurse at her hospital. My son was 7 months old).
– What’s your nursing plan? How long do you plan on breastfeeding him? (Male & Female from the east coast to the west coast x100, everyone feels the need to know how long I plan to whip out the titty to feed my baby as if it somehow affects their life).
All of the above and so much more because my son does not like to be covered up while nursing, I mean, would you want to eat blindfolded under an unventilated piece of fabric? This, is why we have to normalize. Our bodies, the female body, the ones that choose to birth, were also created to sustain our babies lives. In fact the World Health Organization recommends “breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.” In Amuuurica, we are dealing with dum dee dum dums in our government that didn’t even want to sign a breastfeeding resolution that basically states “countries should limit the misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes, as a mother’s breast milk has been shown to be the healthiest for children in decades of research.” And yet there’s more, “The resolution was expected to pass easily, but U.S. delegates aimed to remove language that encouraged countries to ‘protect, promote and support breast-feeding’ in an alleged alignment with baby formula manufacturers.” The American hypocrisy-democracy live in the sticky icky green-lined pockets of loyal lobbyists, who they brought WITH them to the damn Assembly in Geneva! Oh and PS., the US threatened other countries into not signing it until they were ultimately foiled by none other than MotherEffing Russia. How fitting?
If I still lived where I was raised, I’m not sure that I would have made it through those first 7+ weeks to my now “lookin hella easy” breastfeeding status. I can do this shit walkin, talkin and chewin gum now, so yeah, I’m a BF-G. To all of the badass breastfeeding Mamas out there, keep posting your beautiful boobies, your stories and the FACTS to support the Mothers that choose to and can breastfeed feel less nervous and more supported! No one should ever be shamed or sexualized (unless you’re into that) when it comes to feeding and connecting with our babies! I will continue breastfeeding (read: breastfeed forever) to normalize it in my own family!
I’ll leave you with this.
“A 2016 study published by The Lancet says breastfeeding could save the lives of 823,000 children and 20,000 mothers each year. In addition, universal breastfeeding could save $300 billion in reduced health care costs and improved economic prospects for children.”
*The Times reported that the baby food market is a $70 billion industry.