My breasts have been used for decoration, coercion, amusement and, at times, for simple staring-at purposes. They get in the way when I’m shooting pool or trying to eat, and when I have PMS they grow to enormous proportions and cause me angst.
I have stuffed my breasts into wrong-sized bras and push-up bras and comfortable cotton bras. I have jiggled them in my hands to make someone laugh and I have given pleasure with them.
I have bemoaned my breasts – too big! too small! lopsided! – and I have stared at my nipples and aereolas.
I could identify my breasts in a line-up, even without the piercing I once had in the left nipple.
For all the things my breasts have done, they have not, and will not, ever be used to nourish a baby and I’m okay with that – I’ve made my peace, so to speak, with having my breasts solely for decorative purposes.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not entitled to an opinion on breastfeeding, right?
Breasts are meant for feeding babies. That’s it. That’s the sole biological purpose of breasts. That doesn’t mean they can’t be used for other purposes – as illustrated above – but the reason we’ve got ’em is to use ’em for nourishing babies.
There are, of course, women who are unable to breastfeed for a multitude of reasons. There are babies who are unable to suck or latch and who just can’t breastfeed.
But if a woman chooses to breastfeed, and is able to do so, why would anyone tell her NOT to do it whenever her baby needs feeding?
That seems kind of crazy, right? Especially in light of all the research done on breast milk and infant development and, for a slacker like me, the convenience of not hauling around formula and bottles everywhere.
Breastfeeding is natural – a case of the body doing what the body is supposed to do.
But there are people who believe nursing mothers should stay home until their child is weaned.
There are people who believe breastfeeding is obscene because, after all, it involves a breast and a nipple and those are FOR SEX ONLY.
There are people who believe a nursing mother should hide – in a bathroom, perhaps – so no one will see the breast being used for its intended purpose.
I am not one of those people.
Breastfeeding in public is completely legal in Canada and the United States. But women are still being asked to ‘cover up’ and ‘do it somewhere else’ and ‘ohmygod, please think of the innocent children who might SEE THAT’. Shamed. Embarassed.
Breasts being used to sell cars? Fine!
Breasts being used to sell beer? Fine!
Breasts being used for feeding a child? BAD!
The League of Maternal Justice would like you to whip ’em out today and exercise your right to feed your child without shame or embarassment. Breastfeed ’em if you got ’em, so to speak.
If you disagree – if you think women SHOULD cover up when nursing or do it elsewhere – I’d encourage you to visit their web site and read some of the posts and commentary. Ask a few questions and try to understand why this is important to women all around the world. Ponder where your perception of breasts came from and whether you’re right to think that way.
My breasts and I will be over here, cheering the League along and being, well, decorative.