Breastfeeding is beautiful. Breast milk provides antibodies, a perfect blend of nutrients, and some immunity from allergies and illness. It’s a natural, full-proof way of feeding a child. It’s a moment to bond with the baby, and a second of connection that hasn’t been felt since our child left the womb. Breastfeeding is a time to smell that smell that only a baby’s head contains, to snuggle close, and to cherish the gift that is life.
Can anything else feel that wonderful?
Well, I mean after the nipple cracks, bleeds, falls off, and becomes a thick callous. I don’t know a nicer way to phrase that disturbing fact. Breastfeeding may be natural, but it’s also horrific during the first few weeks. And, by horrific, of course I mean a painful, bloody mess. Then there’s the midnight phone call to the doctor when the baby vomits blood for the first time, because cracked, bleeding nipples don’t get a day off. They don’t even get three hours of rest in the first few months.
To any expectant mom reading this … sorry. Congratulations on the upcoming birth! Hope it’s a boy, or a girl! I promise, it gets better! (Insert a thumbs up, and quick grin, here.)
Still, during the attempts to feed the baby naturally, it can feel somewhat akin to magic. The beauty comes. The feeling of closeness, connectivity, and bonding occurs. We’re happy, we’re enjoying the quiet of a silent infant, we’re realizing that this mom thing might not be so bad, after all. And yet, somewhere in the rise of new mom euphoria and ever accessible smartphones, a trend is starting. The boobs are out, the child is attached to the nipple, the mother gets bored of head-smelling snuggles, and suddenly she’s thinking, “This is a great moment for a quick selfie!”
No, seriously. WHAT?
There are viral pictures upon viral pictures popping up on a daily basis, with captions such as, “This is Beauty,” and “Nothing Unnatural With Feeding My Child!” I blanch when I see them, scrolling past with the same fervor I apply to scantily clad pictures of heaving breasts. To me, there is no difference. A woman shoving her chest into the screen with a push-up bra, and low-cut dress, is disturbing in the exact same way as a woman whose bare breast is filling the screen, with only a baby’s head to cover the nipple. Big boobs, totally naked, minus the nipple–and sometimes that’s still showing.
It’s the same thing. Same concept, different angle.
Natural or not, a naked boob–in any form in our society–is not modest. Let’s stop pretending that it is.
When negative comments are made in regards to a breastfeeding picture, most people default to believing that the commenter doesn’t believe in the power of breastfeeding. Yes, there are people who think breastfeeding is disgusting, vile, and unnatural. They think it shouldn’t be done in public, that breastfeeding should only be done in the sanctity of the mother’s own home. They snap pictures of discreet breastfeeding mothers, and then get massacred on social media. Um, … what’s a nice way to say this? Who freaking cares what they think? These people probably get in their car, pick their nose for an appetizer, and then down a Super Sized meal at the local WalMart’s in-house McDonald’s. Is a breastfeeding campaign going to change their hearts?
Not even bypass surgery can accomplish that goal.
No, a child cannot feed with an unexposed nipple. No, a mother cannot always be at home when a child is hungry. No, some children do not desire a cover over their head while they feed. No, a woman should not be required to sit on a dirty toilet, in a public bathroom, to nourish her baby.
I don’t believe any of those things should occur, because breastfeeding is a natural, beautiful, private moment between a mother and a child.
Therefore, using that special bonding moment to take a public boob selfie? No. Please stop. None of us are Kim Kardashian, and–if we’re being honest–we shouldn’t want to be. We are mothers. We are nurturers. We are the kiss for the booboo, and the lullaby on a cranky night. We are 2 AM feedings, 4 AM feedings, 6 AM feedings, tired. We are bags under the eyes, frizzy haired, makeup-loathing, pajama pants in the living room, Soap Opera addicts.
At what point, during the breastfeeding years, do we feel sexy enough to whip out a cell phone, and smile for the camera? While breastfeeding is natural, and beautiful, is that really the best moment we can come up with to display natural beauty? Is our natural beauty normally that haggard? Because mine isn’t.
And neither is most women’s.
We’re all better for keeping naked bikini areas off the Internet, even with a kid attached.
Not to mention, in the rise of female empowerment, how does that pesky husband, boyfriend, or significant other feel about his special “fun” parts being displayed across the Internet–child attached or not? Is he okay with the realization that, just like the heaving bosoms in a dress picture, some stranger from the World Wide Web is getting gratified from his girlfriend’s, wife’s, or significant other’s naked, breastfeeding, boob selfie?
Yes, yes that is happening. It doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to understand that some people are disgusting perverts, and we willingly pave the way for their depravity. Now, get that image in mind while smelling the sweet baby smell, sitting in a recliner, watching television, providing nourishment to a tiny human, and posing for a public selfie for Breastfeeding Awareness Week. Some pervert, or normal, adolescent teenager, is very thankful for the image.
Breastfeeding is natural. It is beautiful. It is a private bonding experience with the baby. What it is not, and should never be, is a glorified photo opportunity, Kardashian-style.
So, seriously, while the boobs are out, put the phone away.