A couple weeks ago I tuned in to NPR (90.1 FM) and stumbled upon the BBC program “World, Have Your Say.” What drew me in this day, besides the accents and the turns of phrases that I find so lovely, was the topic. Kathryn Blundell, the deputy editor of a UK parenting magazine, had referred to breastfeeding as being “creepy,” and listeners were weighing in.
Oh, great, I sighed. Here’s another woman not only dismissing, but demoralizing another woman’s choice to breastfeed. Demoting breastfeeding, which is a natural and beautiful way to nurture a baby, as “wrong” and “gross” and “creepy” is—to use some UK slang—absolute bollocks.
Is this why many women debate whether or not to even try breastfeeding? Is this why women are made to feel ashamed when nursing in public, or maybe even in private too, even though they aren’t doing anything wrong? And to get these comments from other women is really baffling. I wouldn’t be able to understand it from men, either, but hearing and reading that some women have bought into the lies of the culture that breasts are only for pleasure and have no practical purpose whatsoever is sad.
There’s a taboo against breastfeeding, it seems to me, and I find it mind-boggling that anyone would take issue with a mother feeding her child the way nature intended. I also wonder why other people care about me or any other woman who has nursed her children. Really? Aren’t there real problems in the world to address and spend energy on?
What I’d like to see is a culture where breastfeeding mothers are embraced and not undermined, where they can nurse anywhere and everywhere without fear or embarrassment, and where ignorant comments such as these are never even thought, much less spoken.