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.