I breastfeed my son when he is hungry or needs comfort. I don’t breastfeed him because I want attention. I don’t breastfeed him because I want to make a political stand. I don’t do it to see my mother’s embarrassed blushes, or my father looking down in shame while shaking his head. I don’t breastfeed my son in order to catch the eye of a man. I don’t do it to make myself feel important, because it’s not about me.
I breastfeed, even in public, because this is an issue that turns mothers against daughters, friends against friends, husband against wife and it shouldn’t be. In a perfect world, women would help other women with taking care of their babes and men would support the women they love. Instead we live in a world that generates body shame in place of acceptance. I breastfeed, hoping to normalize the act for society. I know I will not change the world by doing this simple act, but I will try.
I will continue to breastfeed, even in public, despite the looks of embarrassment, shock or anger. I will continue even though friends, family or strangers tell me it’s gross, immodest, inappropriate, or even wrong. I will continue even though breasts are seen as sex objects in our society, in hopes of normalizing a mother feeding her baby the way nature intended.
When others are uncomfortable with me feeding my son, I will remind them that this is not an issue that depends on their comfort, or even mine. This is about my child. He deserves to eat when he is hungry, like every other person in this world. He deserves to eat comfortably, not under a hot blanket, not in a public bathroom, and not secluded from everyone else.
What truly matters is doing what is best for our children. The world has decided for us how women should be viewed and represented. Society has skewed our outlook of a woman’s body and her sexuality so much that it has even changed our view of how, when and where she feeds her baby.
I have decided that society will no longer dictate how I care for my child. The only conformation I need is the look of love in my child’s eyes as he nurses.
So I breastfeed, even in public.