On My Breast Behavior
So I took some heat for this photo that I posted on Facebook. After a quickly withdrawn comment, my Friend sent me the following message: “Hey Michelle – I really like that pic of you with both boobs hangin out and all, but don’t you think it’s a little much for Facebook? Maybe I’m old-fashioned but I think that you should keep that one private, or just for family…don’t mean to hurt your feelings or anything – just my opinion.”
This is a photo of me and the twins on Halloween and I had just fed them. They were dressed up as cows and I was wearing black and white, so I thought it was “utterly” adorable. It shows them after they’ve eaten but before I covered my breast back up with my bra. Although there is a lot of cleavage and side-boob in the shot, my nipples are completely hidden by their little heads.
I hadn’t been posting lot of pictures on Facebook (who’s got time) and don’t usually get many “likes” when I do. I limit my FB friends to people I know personally or with whom I have a familial or real life connection. In total, I have 106 Facebook friends, far less than the average 338. There is no one on that list that I wouldn’t breastfeed around. As a matter of fact, I have no qualms about breastfeeding in public (as I have a legally protected right to do – see reference below). I don’t feel like I need a cover that hides my babies’ faces from me either. A simple light blanket or burp cloth that shields their mouths and my nipples is just fine with me and they love the comfort that looking up and seeing mommy’s loving gaze brings.
First, I will address the whole “boobs hangin out” part of the comment. Everywhere you look in our culture, you see breasts. They have become synonymous with our sex crazed culture. Maybe that’s what bothered my friend so much. Perhaps that person has been so inundated with pop culture’s use of associating breasts with sex, that seeing them on display in a public forum being used in an innocent context was unsettling. What’s unsettling to me is that my children are growing up in a world where breasts being utilized for their intended use is criticized but you can’t turn on the TV, drive down the road or stand in a checkout line without seeing revealing imagines of the female body.
Commercials (during Prime Time):
Magazines (at my 6 year-old’s eye level):
Second, I will address the assertion that my friend “may be old-fashioned”. I believe the opposite to be true. It was only in the advancement of modern scientific discovery and innovation during the 1900s that the rise and fall of bottle feeding occur. Infant formula was advertised and touted as a perfectly equal substitute for breast milk. At the same time, the use of bottles became more prevalent. This is a statement from the National Center for Biotechnology: “Currently, many believe the development and advertisement of infant formula has once again negatively impacted the practice of breastfeeding. Although the breastfeeding rate was 90% in the 20th century, it has decreased to approximately 42% in the 21st century (Gaynor, 2003; Wright, 2007).” Although I’m sure my great, great grandmother would have objected to a bikini on the beach (or even a one-piece), I doubt she would have registered for an “utter cover.”
Check out these beautiful historical images of mothers breastfeeding:
Warning: Below are some more adorable pictures (which I did not post of facebook)- for the squeamish – Look Away!
Finally, my feelings are not hurt. Thank you, Friend, for your concern.
Double Talk Quote: Me to Amor, who had asked how to tell if breast milk was still good while I was distracted washing bottles: “Well, you smell it, you taste it, and if it’s good, eat it!” – instead of saying if it’s good feed it to the babies.
Bible Verse: Exodus 2:7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” 8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him.
Word that has Lost its meaning: Shame
Relatable Laws: NC § 14 190.9. Indecent exposure. (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a woman may breast feed in any public or private location where she is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breast feeding.
November 23, 2014 (4 months, 4 weeks)
Update: The Friend who sent me the message was my mother.