Let my sons see your boobs!

My oldest was born 6 weeks premature. He was on a ventilator and then oxygen at first and spent the first few weeks of his life in intensive care. During that time, I pumped breastmilk the prescribed 8 times a day in preparation for when I’d be able to nurse. I marveled at this new thing my body could do. That I could provide all of the nourishment my son needed right there in my two, now freakishly enormous, breasts.  I hated pumping. I was excited for when he got home and I could just nurse him. Turns out, I hated nursing too. After about a month I just couldn’t do it anymore. When my second son was born, I gave it a try again thinking that I’d love it if I didn’t have a sick baby. I hated it even more. I really really loved bottle feeding my babies. I loved that Dad got to help. It was the right choice for me and my family.

Many didn’t and still don’t feel that way.  I had people CRY when I told them I had quit nursing. I had people tell me that formula was poison and later, someone even went so far as to imply that Casey’s autism was a result of the formula. Because that’s what every new mom needs, right? People to dump all over her for the choices she makes? This whole debate cuts both ways though. Every week it seems like I hear another horror story of a woman being told to cover up while she nurses or leave the establishment she’s in.  If I’m being honest, I’ve been one to say that women who are nursing in public should do it discreetly because I don’t want my boys to see THAT.  I was very wrong. Just as I needed support for my decision to not nurse, nursing mothers need support and acceptance of their choice TO nurse.

I didn’t want my boys to see someone’s boob, even if there was a baby’s head covering most of it. I thought it was wrong. It’s not wrong. Breasts are not bad. If I teach my boys that they are something only to be used for sexual purposes, that’s the only way they will see them.  If I can teach my children that it is natural, beautiful and necessary for women to feed their children this way, I hope that’s what they will come away with.

So I’m asking you, let my sons see your boobs. Okay, so maybe I’m being a little tongue in cheek here. I just never want a woman to feel badly about having to feed their child in front of my boys. I want this to be a normal, natural thing for them. They didn’t get that from me because I chose not to nurse.  Feeding your baby is a bonding time. Along with being held close they need to be able to LOOK at you and to hear your voice.  Mothers who choose to nurse should be celebrated for this, not discouraged.

In the end, what matters most to me is that women get the support they need and deserve in whatever choice they make that is best for their whole family.

7 thoughts on “Let my sons see your boobs!

  1. I LOVED this post!!! Cracking up laughing, as usual with your posts. I was so nervous about breastfeeding my newborn son with Down syndrome that I let my milk supply dry up. Then it turns out he was allergic to EVERY baby formula on the market, INCLUDING the hypoallergenic ones (Nutramigen, Neocate, etc). So I tried to “re-lactate” with a prescription medication not available in the US, so I had to order it from . . . Vanuatu. (Yep, they filmed a season of Survivor there.) Despite all of my desperate attempts to re-lactate, my body just wouldn’t produce enough milk for my son. So we had to settle on the formula that gave him the FEWEST allergic reactions–Alimentum Ready-to-Feed. It was a horrible, horrible time in our lives. (And it’s only been downhill since then!) But that experience taught me not to judge or condemn women who choose not to breastfeed. Because it is not easy! I remember crying over the phone with a lactation specialist, and trying to find nipple guards to make it easier for my newborn son with low tone to be able to breastfeed with less difficulty. So whenever I hear about a woman who chooses to bottlefeed and I get this inner feeling of superiority, I remind myself of that horrible, horrible time in my life . . . reprimand myself for being so judgmental and squash that inner feeling. Because I GET IT. The ONLY important thing should be that your baby is thriving and growing. End of story. 🙂

  2. I hear so much about this, but in my 2-1/2 years of nursing (OK, minus the 3 months until Cora had heart surgery and could finally do it), I’ve never faced judgmental people. Strange. And I’ve breastfed in public everywhere. My own modesty has kept it pretty discrete, even though I don’t actually cover her up. Glad that I’ve been able to do it, and glad that I haven’t faced a lot of flack. Although I admit that I’m ready to wean when she is.

  3. Wow, people actually tried to tell you that your son’s autism was caused by your not breastfeeding? People say such rude and awful things! For the record, my mother had two kids… me and my brother. She breastfed me, and gave my brother formula. My brother is a genius, and I have ADHD and autism. So… that blows that theory!

  4. I was so determined to breastfeed that I didn’t have one speck of formula in my house. Thank God the nurses at the hospital slipped some samples in the diaper bag before I left because I couldn’t breastfeed for the first few days. I, too, cried on the phone with the lactation specialist with cabbage leaves draped all over my boobs (it’s supposed to help let the milk down). When I finally could breastfeed, I HATED it, but I kept at it because I didn’t want my daughter to suffer ear infections and the doctor told me breastfeeding decreases the risk of chronic ear infections. My daughter had so many ear infections, she had to have surgery. With my son, I breastfed for a much shorter time and he never had an ear infection ever. Whatever. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that your babies eat and mom is as sane as possible.

  5. what a warrior you were, pumping with your firstborn in the NICU! What a gift you gave that baby in your month of nursing. I’d love to nurse where your boys could see and ask questions or go ahead and ignore me. You’re right–every mama deserves to feel confident about feeding her baby.

  6. I breastfed six of my seven babies, most of them well past one year. When my daughter was born with a cleft palate and couldn’t nurse, I pumped milk and fed it to her in special bottles for months. Do I think breastmilk is better nutritionally? Yes. Do I think I’m a better mother than someone who uses formula? No. If you didn’t feed your baby when they were hungry, then I would be a better mother, if you are keeping your baby full and happy, then it doesn’t matter how you do it.

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