Really quickly I want to list some things that “distract” people — not necessarily people I know personally, but just people in general. The “they say” people that no one knows personally except for what “they” say.
- People who raise their hands in church
- People who get up and leave one or multiple times in church
- Fussy children or unruly children in public
- Physical deformities such as a large birthmark or burns, etc…
- People of different colors
- People who wear drastically different things than us (Muslim attire, Amish, etc…)
- People who clear their throat a lot
- People who slurp their spaghetti
The list goes on and on I’m sure. For everything that happens, someone will be distracted by it. Seriously…the word distracted means to draw away or divert attention.
There are distractions in life that can be easily remedied without requiring dramatic change (slurping your food? Come on!) Then there are the distractions that cannot be changed because they are a part of who the person is — like the birthmark or the color of skin.
Then there are the distractions that are caused because of lack of exposure, lack of understanding and the fear of the unknown. Distractions like the woman wearing Muslim attire or the man that is clearly Amish and happy with his life. Distractions like a woman doing what God created her to do — breastfeed her child.
I’ll just get it out of the way and let you know that I breastfed my 4-year-old for 15 months. I would have nursed longer, but pregnancy can change the taste of the milk and so he stopped when I got pregnant again (unfortunately that baby didn’t live very long). I will also let you know that I will be breastfeeding this one as long as he or she needs to (no they won’t enter Kindergarten attached to my breast I promise!). I am also a HUGE breastfeeding advocate and a huge advocate of not hiding yourself as if it’s something to be ashamed of.
There were very few times when I was breastfeeding Josiah that I felt like I had to defend myself. For the most part, my family was very supportive.
Here’s the thing. I agree that when out in public or in mixed company that you should cover up (I always did).
I DO NOT believe or agree with the idea that nursing mothers should:
- Go into the bathroom to nurse. First of all, eww gross. Do you want to eat in a public bathroom?? Most people don’t want to use a public bathroom to go to the bathroom.
- Leave the room. Seriously. Do you know how often a new baby, especially a breastfed baby gets hungry? The woman might as well shut herself up in her house for the next 9-15+ months if she has to leave the room every time baby needs to eat.
- Pump before going out and using a bottle. This is one of my personal favorites. First of all, the people that say, “that’s what pumps are for,” don’t know anything at all. Attaching a funnel to your breast and turning on a suction the equivalence to a vacuum cleaner is not my idea of making things easy — easy for you maybe. Second of all, regardless of whether you use pumped milk in public — that milk still has to go somewhere or it causes physical pain for the woman. Women who work have to pump during the day to prevent engorgement and mastitis. The other problem is, a breast pump gets about 1/3 the milk that a nursing baby does, so it can cause milk supply to go down. So by pumping to make you more comfortable for those few minutes, you’ve caused a woman either the physical pain of engorgement or the emotional pain of feeling like she’s a failure because she can’t get enough milk for her baby. And for what? To make you more comfortable.
The fact that some people are “distracted” by a woman nursing discreetly in public, is not the nursing mom’s problem — it’s the problem of the people “distracted”. What do you say to racist people that are “distracted” when someone of another race is around? You certainly don’t say, “Oh well let’s ask them to go in another room.”
People are asking breastfeeding mom’s to feed their baby in the bathroom…that sounds familiar…oh yeah, because black people used to have to eat in the back out of sight too. Civilization realized a long time ago that that type of discrimination is wrong so why are women being asked to feed in the bathroom?
Whether America likes it or not, God created women’s breasts for feeding their baby. Yes, they are sexual objects, but not when a woman is covered and nursing.
There were many a times when I was nursing Josiah that people wanted to see the baby and DIDN’T EVEN REALIZE I WAS NURSING! Do you know in Europe women are looked down on for bottle-feeding when they could have breastfed? Yes, I realize there are those circumstances that prevent a woman from breastfeeding. My point is that this society has it backwards.
Men and women aren’t used to seeing a woman using her breasts in public for their intended use. (Some) men and women are OK with women walking around exposing their breasts to gather attention though.
I was very proud of my husband the other day because when we were talking he said that he rarely ever notices when a woman is breastfeeding, but when he does, he said he’s tempted to tell her good job for not letting others discourage her.
Why is Jimmi so comfortable with breastfeeding women? My sister-in-law has extensively breastfed three children and I breastfed our son and I will breastfeed this one. Do you know that my son and my nephews will NEVER be uncomfortable around a breastfeed woman? Why? Because they have been taught that women were created in a special way to feed their babies and they’ve seen it done all of their lives.
It’s normal for people who are unfamiliar with something to be a little bit distracted when they see it, but it’s not normal for people to against something that is natural and helpful and healthy for mom and baby.
Just a few things to think about next time you’re “distracted” by a mom breastfeeding.
- A new mother’s personality may affect her decision to breastfeed (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Celebrating Breastfeeding Awareness Week (balancingmommyhood.wordpress.com)
- World Breastfeeding Week 2013 – Close to Mothers (healthnhorizons.com)
- Providing Breast Milk Against the Odds – Iris’ Story (organicmelinda.wordpress.com)