Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Revenge of the Boob

Unless you've been under a rock somewhere in the blogosphere you've probably heard about the controversy over Facebook removing pictures of breastfeeding from their site. This is where a little grassroots blogging comes in. The League of Maternal Justice was formed and has encouraged us to flood the web with videos nursing Moms and pictures of nursing babies.

Breastfeeding is HARD WORK. It's kind of a dirty little secret that no one shares. Women need support, they need to see other people doing it and they need people to get over the objectification of the breast and get in line with the American Academy of Pediatrics that says that breast milk is best for babies by making it easier for women to breastfeed, not harder. I am lucky that I have an employer who, through their employee assistance plan, paid for all but $50 of my breast pump and has a room in every building where you can pump in relative quiet and comfort.

Nursing Moms and their precious babies shouldn't be relegated to restrooms and the backseats of their cars. Really, I'd rather see a happy baby and perhaps a tiny sliver of skin than to hear the cries of a hungry baby. I suspect those same people who wouldn't want to see a woman feeding a baby in public are the same ones who'd tell her that she needs to do something to quiet that baby down or move somewhere else. I've never seen anyone baring it all, even in more private nursing places. Most Moms I know try to keep as much covered as possible while getting things hooked up and then, there is no nipple exposed. A baby is more obscene than pasties?

I do have to say, there is a fine line between supporting breastfeeding and making women who just can't make it work feel bad. I worked with a lactation consultant (thanks Becky!) from pretty much the moment my first was born. I'd been very sick and with all that my body had been through milk production wasn't high on its list of supported functions. I was in tears at 4AM in the hospital, alone, pressured by the nursery nurses to give PDQ formula and hearing the lactation consultant and childbirth instructors in the back of my head--breast only! It was hard, perhaps the hardest thing I've ever done to continue to try and nurse her. When I had to supplement with formula I felt like a failure. I think we need to encourage a culture where feeding your baby doesn't become another of the ways women make each other feel bad (okay, off that soapbox now).

So, in your face, Facebook. Enjoy these photos of well-fed babies:

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