Yesterday was the last official day of World Breastfeeding Week. But because the benefits of drinking Mother Milk are so vast and understated, I don’t see why we should wean ourselves from the theme just yet.
But first, let’s make something clear.
If you had walked up to me two years ago to say that it’s World Breastfeeding Whatever and that we all need to support this coz it’s important and stuff, I most probably would have stared back at you blank and then carefully changed subject. Because to me (then) it would have sounded something like “Hey, let’s go out, pick up a banner and protest against Fake Tits! Because Fake Tits are bad you know, they fuck with women’s self-esteem, they cause hazard to one’s health, they give young girls a twisted vision of femininity and such and so and we really have to scream it to the wind so everyone hears and people will finally stop wanting to have Fake Tits!…”
Uhm. Yeah? Except that… I couldn’t care less, I’m afraid. I’ve got no Fake Tits, I’m certainly not planning on getting any and all that you are saying to me now is obvious and tedious. You really have nothing better to do?
And the same goes for Breastfeeding, right? I mean, OF COURSE breastmilk is the absolute best a baby can get, no-one questions it. Right!? So what is this Breastfeeding Week nonsense about?
Call me old fashioned (and maybe naive?), but back in the days my mother breastfed me until one year, breastfed my sister until 1.5 years and my brother until 2 (lucky bastard). As my brother is 9 years younger than me, I clearly remember him hanging on my Mama’s breast, just like I remember every aunt and friend of my mother’s who had babies do the same. Therefore, I grew up with the embedded notion that “Babies Drink From Their Mothers’ Breasts”. It has always been to me as obvious as saying “A Nice Day At The Beach Is Nice”. Right? No need to break into riots over this.
But when I was finally flung across the crevasse that separates the world of the Childless from that of the Childful and had a chance to see what’s really going on out here in the infant dairy department, my jaw dropped with a CLANG!
Now, the real shock didn’t come from discovering that SO MANY people feed their babies formula [and that a great number of them choose to do so because they are scared that their “boobies” will never ever fit in a Victoria’s Secret bra again if they do], no. It’s not surprising: SO MANY people also eat the toxic waste equivalent of food in fast food chains, drink gallons of sodas per day and spend their entire free time watching brain-damaging programs on TV – but who cares!? I don’t do it and, thank fuck, no-one tells me that I have to or shames me in public for choosing differently for myself, or my child.
And here is exactly where the point is: what really shocked me in my new life as a mother was discovering that there is a widespread, contemptuous and very sick approach to women who breastfeed, especially in public. If you navigate the already turbulent enough waters of parenthood, you constantly come upon stories of how women breastfeeding in restaurants are asked to go do it in the (stinky, unsanitary) toilet unless they want to ruin the appetite of everyone around them. Or leave a museum, because feeding a hungry newborn is a very obscene thing to do and it could arouse feelings of disgust and outrage in the other visitors, who came to admire paintings of lactating Madonnas and naked Nymphs dancing in circles without having to be exposed to such indecent sight as a nursing mother.
The more you bite your teeth into it, the more you come across reports of women being shamed and confronted with opinions such that breastfeeding is dirty (what!?), improper (excuse-me!?), disgusting (you must be joking!) and, especially in the case of children older than infants, akin to incest (WTF!!? How *dare* you!?).
Of course, I am not really worried about mothers like me. Because if any such viciously brain-dead creature walks up to breastfeeding me and dares say I need to put a blanket over mine and my baby’s head, as what I’m doing is sickening, I’ll have the time of my life reducing him to a sorry pulp. But young mothers, mothers who are struggling to establish their breastfeeding relationship, who have to deal with issues, fight to make it work, mothers who feel vulnerable and still upside-down because of postpartum hormones can be seriously disturbed, or even damaged by such wandering dickheads. And this cannot be tolerated.
This is why giants such as Facebook make a big deal out of changing their policies in order to allow breastfeeding images to be published on their site, this is why even pope Francesco One finds it important to join in and raise a huge media-gasp by inviting a woman to breastfeed in church and why we NEED initiatives like the #WorldBreastfeedingWeek or tags like #normalizebreastfeeding #normalizeit #breastisbest.
But I say it’s not enough! Yeah, * I * say to all you breastfeeding Mamas out there, let’s unite!, let’s get down in the arena and pay them back with what they give us! Let’s organize patrols and walk around public areas (parks, zoos, cafe’ terraces, malls) to spot formula-feeding mothers and tell them to please go to the cellar or, better, to the barn with that bottle of theirs because what they are doing is grossing out my appetite for a month as I can’t wave off the mental image of their baby latched onto a plastic cow’s nipple, more: it’s something totally akin to zoofilia! Perverse! Lewd! Awful! Disgraceful! Malicious!
Or maybe not. Maybe let’s not forget that some women are forced to choose formula by serious medical issues or because they did not receive the necessary support. Let’s be kind and understanding and tolerant at least [if we cannot afford “respectful”] of everyone’s personal choices, abstain from telling other people what they should eat and when and how. And if you really have such an enormous problem with the view of a mother feeding her baby the way nature designed it to be done and how it has been done for thousands of years (before the dairy farming industry was invented and therefore needed a market) to the point that you can’t refrain from offending or verbally abusing her, I suggest you seek professional help
In the meantime though, smile, cause I have a very quick and simple solution to your problem:
JUST. LOOK. THE FUCK. AWAY!
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