In case you have not gone to a news stand this week, Time ran a cover of a three year old breastfeeding and people are FREAKING. In a nation saturated with porn, where clitoral vibrators and penis pumps are sold across the airways like TV dinners and where the flip of a channel tells the story about a man with a twenty-something inch penis (who cares), adults who dress up as animals while they screw, Sister Wives who take turns with little Napoleon or a three year old in a thong gyrating her ass in a pageant- we have to get up set because a woman might be doing something with her mammary gland- that it was meant to do. It's hit a raw nerve in me for several reasons. You are not wrong if cannot breastfeed that baby! It does not devalue who you are, nor does your choice to breastfeed deserve criticism- as women, we need to support one another.
It also hit a raw nerve because several years ago a matronly woman wrote a scathing letter to me about a child-development lecture I gave on breastfeeding. Ms. Perry was disjointed about the time and importance I devoted to the subject and personally told me that she knew that most women breastfed for sheer sexual pleasure and exhibitionism, which was accomplished when they'd expose their mammaries in public places.
Well, perhaps she was speaking through her own pathological delusions because when I meet people who freak about breastfeeding I get a worried. Many people sexualize breastfeeding - we call it sex guilt and it's realted to some rather strange behaviors. But that's another blog. But her ideals do represent what a minority thinks; it's dirty and sexual.
Why would anyone say such a horrible thing about mothers? Do we do this to men? When my husband uses his penis to pee through no one assumes he's getting some sort of sexual pleasure. Well, the same is true of breasts. Some out there have been watching too much porn, I don't know any women who fondle their own breasts for sexual pleasure. But then again there are alwyas the few who have learrned to grasp some sexual oddity.
Nipples may be, at times, a source of some sexual pleasure, just as they are for men. The truth is that the human body knows you have just birthed and those sex hormones back themselves up, not only for the mother but for the father. His oxytocin receptors neutralize his sex drive allowing him to enjoy the intimacy with his new born. Obviously Ms. Perry nor the morons raising a stink about the Time article have never had sore nipples, leaking nipples or engorged breasts.
I have yet to know any mother who is out there to titillate the public with their breasts. When I breastfed my own babies I was a penniless grad student, eating macaroni and dollar hot dogs. I wish I had that nerve to just take my top off at the local boob bar and make a hundred for a few hours, boy did my breasts look good back then!
Tits are a commodity. It's fine to shake them for money, pierce them, flash them for beads, fill them with silicone and shoot foitage of women twittering thier nipples and moaning. God-Forbid you use them for feeding. Breast are not only for male entertainment and a basic course in anthropology or human evolution tell us that humans evolved, over 200,000 years ago, feeding babies and toddler from their breasts. Breast milk not only is far superior to formula in every way- a fact that major formula manufacturers don't want advertised. Now, I know some of you say that it's all well and good but for so long?
That's what many of us do not understand. Breastfeeding evolves as the child grows and as the baby selects from food, once they have teeth, the breastfeed less often and for a different reason. Breastfeeding becomes a comfort, a base for attachment to develop. Attachment towards a parent assures the baby that the world is a fair place, that their needs will be met and tells them they matter. Every time the mother feeds her infant her attention is focused on them. You can't prop her boob up with a rolled up towel or give it to the babysitter when you are tired. I have never seen a attachment disorder in a baby that was breastfed for a long period of time and believe me I 've seen them; they form the base of may psychological issues.
I did breastfeed my babies, some longer than others. I was once breastfeeding in a booth in Pizza Hut when a woman came up to me and asked me to "do it in the bathroom." I told her when she ate where she shit I'd follow suit. Actually, it was more like, "when you eat that fucking slice of pizza of yours in the bathroom stall, I'll be glad to follow."
Most of the world feeds their toddlers this way- at least women who are not forced to work. Being that we are now the victims of our own liberation we have the added pressure of bringing home a paycheck and trying to be the best possible mother we can be. I am sorry for my sisters sitting in bathrooms pumping milk, who have not been able to breastfeed but wanted to and I'm equally sorry for the ones who have to suffer discrimination for doing exactly what nature intended us to do. And by the way, if you did live back with your ancestral mothers, grandma, your friends and sisters would co-feed your babies for you if you needed them.
So happy mother's day and for once don't beat yourself up for your choices.