Before I had my first child, I’d never actually witnessed the act of breastfeeding. I myself was a purely formula-fed baby. My mom didn’t even attempt it with me. She’d struggled with breastfeeding my older sibling and stopped after two weeks. She felt as if she had no other choice.
Maybe, if she had seen mothers out in public nursing, she would have felt that it was normal and within her reach.
Maybe, if breastfeeding was the rule rather than the exception, she would have had support from a village of breastfeeding women to help guide her.
I know that, sometimes, formula is necessary, but I hope for a world that automatically thinks of breastfeeding first, as the main source for meeting a baby’s needs. Breastmilk is produced specifically for human babies. It’s always the right temperature. Always full of exactly what our babies need. If the baby is fed when hungry, there will always (except for rare cases) be enough milk. And I know there are lots of mothers out there who desperately tried to breastfeed and couldn’t, those who chose not to, those who weren’t supported or taught. I don’t write this article as a judgment or to add salt to any wounds. I write this article to raise awareness. Awareness for breastfeeding. Awareness that breastfeeding is something that should be encouraged. Something that should be supported. Something that should be looked upon with admiration. Something that should make mothers feel empowered.
In my hopes for a perfect world of acceptance, people will be able to feed their kids when they are hungry. Wherever they are. Whether from bottle or breast. I want people to see a breastfeeding mom without a cover, and not even bat an eyelash because it’s normal and natural.
Breastfeeding is a learned skill.
Yes, it is instinctual, but it takes practice and a bit of knowledge. We can gather this knowledge from books and hospitals, but the best way to receive this knowledge is by seeing other moms breastfeeding. We can’t see other moms do it if they are supposed to hide it.
When something so beautiful is ‘supposed’ to be hidden or covered up, it’s looked upon as indecent, embarrassing, or shameful. These are terrible things to feel about yourself when you are trying to give your child the best start in life by doing something that your body was created to do. That people have been doing since the dawn of time.
Breastfeeding should be celebrated.
Women should feel supported by their significant others. By the public. By everyone. Women should feel comfortable nursing in the same place that someone feeds their child from a bottle. Breasts are, first and foremost, for feeding babies. Our society needs to acknowledge this and accept it.
They are for feeding babies.
I’ll say it again.
Breasts are for feeding babies.
We can work together to normalize breastfeeding by doing it. Doing it with pride. Doing it without shame. And educating those who don’t seem to understand that it is normal and acceptable in every way. And especially supporting other mothers that we see out breastfeeding.
If you’d like to share your breastfeeding photos and stories with us, we would love to see them and support you! Our good friend over at Mama Bean Parenting is also empowering women daily with promoting and normalizing breastfeeding. You can share your stories with her here.
Nurse on! The amazing onesie above can be found at Milk and Baby.