Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Breastfeeding: All Natural or Peep Show?

The other day, a friend of mine posted a picture on facebook of a woman breastfeeding while her baby wore a hat that looked like a boob. I thought the picture was pretty funny. I googled the hats and this is the first link I got and it actually showed the hats and picture that my friend posted: Baby Center Momformation Blog. I really get a kick out of the fact that hats come in different skin tones and different nipple colors. Quite honestly made me laugh out loud.


I also found adult sized ones to help raise awareness for breast cancer on etsy. Again. Funny and witty in my opinion. Not at all offensive to me. Not saying that I'd ever use/wear one... but it doesn't bother me.

I have to say though that what amused me the most was people's responses. I don't often get fanatical about things... I don't think. Do I? Anyway, some women get REALLY defensive and oppressive about their views of breastfeeding. Let me share a little about my own breastfeeding history before I continue.

Really, the longest I tried to breastfeed any of my children was 3 weeks. I didn't cop out or not try. I actually tried really hard. It just didn't work. I don't even know how my daughter survived those first three weeks. My milk came in just fine. In fact, one time, while trying to unstrap everything so I could try to feed her, I thought that there was a string that was attached to my boob or shirt and I kept trying to grab at it. I looked up and saw the baby wiggling around trying to get something off her face. It took me a second to realize I was shooting out a tiny (yet strong) stream of milk and that it was hitting her in the face. I laughed so hard I cried. I used nipple shields of every shape and size and just couldn't successfully feed. It was a physical...problem... I'm not going to go into a lot of detail. Let's just say that if I were to run around outside in the cold with no shirt on, you wouldn't know that it was cold. I don't... physically respond... to certain things the way most women do... get what I'm saying? If you don't, just move on. My breast pump broke soon after I stopped trying to breast feed and so I just switched to formula. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with my daughter because of it.

I tried again to breastfeed with my son. I fought through the pain and the tears and the bloody nipples. However, when he was a week old, he got very sick and ended up in the ICU for over a week. Since he was on a breathing machine and unconscious most of the time, I wasn't able to feed him. I was given the opportunity to pump (did you know hospitals have industrial sized breast pumps? took me like 30 seconds to empty my "supply"!). I did for the first few days but the longer he was in, the more stressed and depressed I got and the less I ate and I dried up pretty quickly. Then, after he got out, he had to be put on a special (and outrageously expensive) formula. No more boobie milk for my boy.

With my third baby, I tried one more time. I even thought that if I bought a new pump and cute cover ups that maybe my nipples would cooperate this time but nothing changed. I DID get to pump more but like the nurses warned me, with three little ones and feeding a baby, I would have almost NO time to pump. It's true. Try as I did, it's really hard to pump and juggle three kids, the oldest of which had JUST turned 3. No bueno.

I never breastfed out in public though. Honestly, part of it was because I felt a little awkward about it but I was never out in public long enough to need to. For the first  three weeks, babies sleep a LOT and if you time things properly, if you're out in public, you can keep them asleep almost the entire time. But I'm pretty weird about being "naked" in public in any way shape or form. I don't even like getting undressed in the women's locker room at the gym. Whatever. I'm shy.

However, many women think that you shouldn't question them pullin out their boobs and hookin the kid up to it. This amuses me just a little bit. And I just had a friend (who says that she means no disrespect whatsoever, that it's just for argument's sake) ask what makes it a "right". Even though I'm a woman who agrees that "breast IS best", I have to honestly ask the same thing. What gives us the right to breastfeed in public? The only way it's a "right" is that it's the baby's right to eat in public just as we all do. If the baby eats from the breast, then it needs to eat from the breast. So, by the baby's right, the breast needs to be unveiled.

I asked a group of friends, both men and women, how they felt about breastfeeding in public. The general response I got was that it's natural and good. One friend said it was the best thing she could have ever done for her daughter. Another said that no one really gave it any thought back when she was breastfeeding her babies. The most common response I got was that it's a normal, healthy thing to do. HOWEVER, almost everyone said that discretion is appreciated.

I'm not gonna lie, I think boobs are pretty funny looking "appendages". I have two myself and laugh at them quite often. But I don't really feel the need to have them in my line of sight while I'm eating or shopping or whatever. IF I had breastfed in public (the most public I ever got was in the hospital room when I first had my daughter with all my family in the room), I would have used a cover up. And that funny beanie pictured at the top of this post doesn't count. One of the guys I asked called it a free peep show. Another man said that since men are programed to look at boobs, it makes it really awkward when a woman pulls it out. He did also say though that it is a good, healthy, natural thing to do. My husband said he doesn't have a problem with women breastfeeding in public. When I asked how he felt about a woman doing it with out using a blanket or something to shield herself with, he gave me a funny look and said, "Yeah, that's different."

Most people feel this way, myself included. But there are some women out there that get angry when some one suggests that it's kinder to put on a shawl so that the rest of the world doesn't have to see her naked breast. Maybe it's a society thing. For me, it's just a decency thing. There are only a handful of people who get to see my boobs. My husband, my breastfeeding children, my doctors and my poor family who watched me whip it out that first day in the hospital. Not the rest of the world.

I am a firm believer that BREAST IS BEST but for crying out loud, have a little respect for the rest of the room and wear a bib. Your boobs are NOT meant to be seen by every one. Also, you can stop getting defensive. Isn't it easier to just wear a cute cover up and to waste your emotions and time trying to defend the fact that you've alienated the people around you? Just my opinion.

This Wannabe Supermom is going to go have another laugh at those boobie beanies...


  1. I'm happy to say that I was able to breastfeed my baby for one and a half years. Doing it in public was quite a challenge, I have to say. Luckily, in some malls, they have a breastfeeding station, so I was able to comfortably do my stuff there. Otherwise, I just draped on a huge bib to comfortably cover my breast-sucking baby.

    Too bad you weren't able to successfully breastfeed your kids. At least, you still believe in its benefits :)

  2. Okay, that is hilarious. I wish I would have known about these little hats when I was breast feeding. :-) But I did have a "hooter hider" which was essentially a drape that worked really well to um...hide my hooters. Ha!


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