Thursday, August 21, 2014

Boobies and Cow Duties In Public: Yay or Nay?

Hi! My name is Ashley. I used to have a blog that I updated on a regular basis. Then this little thing happened where I had a baby. Here I thought copious amounts of time sitting and nursing would equal a PLETHORA of amazing posts! Buuuuut Trent and I started watching Downton Abbey. Annnnnd our Amazon Prime subscription was about to run out and we aren't planning on renewing it. Annnnnd we wanted to finish all four seasons before our subscription ran out.

Mission accomplished. Anguish level from events in show=high. Blog production level=nada. Well, never fear, I am here, and I'm going to TRY to get back into my blogging groove.

Mary Ellen, so far, has been a dream baby. She only cries when she's hungry or very tired, she sleeps pretty well for a newborn**, and she's sweet as pie. She's only 3 weeks old, so I do realize that this could all change. But for now, I'm thanking God for giving me such a calm, sweet baby.

**except when it's time to go to sleep at night. Then she only wants to be nursing at all times.

Almost every aspect of my pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience with Mary has been completely different from my experience with Elizabeth. A big difference I have noticed (so far) has been with breastfeeding. I've written a post before about my past experience. With Elizabeth, I struggled greatly with the transition to full time breastfeeding and had many issues with milk supply and Elizabeth's (lack of) weight gain. So far, Mary has been a great nurser and we haven't had any big issues. I'm now having the breastfeeding experience that I always envisioned, and I am so very thankful. I think having had a bad experience before has made me appreciate the good experience now so much more.

Lately, I have been noticing a lot of talk about breastfeeding in public. I'm wondering what people's thoughts actually are on this topic. It seems like there's always a few people on both sides who feel strongly about their opinion, but how do the majority of people actually feel?

I'll tell you what I think. Personally, I do not feel comfortable nursing in public without a cover. This can pose issues sometimes, since Mary does not seem to really like the nursing cover. But regardless of the annoyances that come with using a cover, I still am glad that I have one and will use it when I nurse in public.


BUT, I also think people who do not want to use a cover should have a right to do so. Unfortunately, we live in a society where magazines of mostly naked women on the cover can be displayed at eye level in grocery stores with no issues, and PG-13 movies can contain graphic scenes with nudity (or almost nudity) with no complaints from anyone. But whoooooooa there, cowgirl, hold on one sec...if a woman decides to nurse her baby in public with no cover, suddenly everyone is uncomfortable and offended.

I was at the Science Center with my husband and two children (it sounds so weird to say the word "children" when referring to my family) and I sat on a little bench to nurse Mary. I used my cover. This woman came up to me and said, "I just want to thank you for giving nursing a good image. I was here a few weeks ago and this woman just popped out her boob for the whole world to see, and it was extremely offensive. So thank you." I just kind of left my mouth open in response, because while I personally don't feel comfortable with nursing without a cover, I have absolutely no problem with women who do choose not to use one.

I don't necessarily blame people who feel uncomfortable with the practice of uncovered breastfeeding. It's a societal problem, and it all stems back to our unhealthy and over-sexed view of the human body. We are so saturated with images of nearly naked men and women (nearly always meant to portray sex appeal), but when a woman is using her body part for something it was actually created to do, we suddenly become more prudish than the Victorian era.

My view is: if you don't like it, just don't look. Some babies are extremely finicky and have a very difficult time latching on. Covers just make it worse. So why can't a woman feed her baby without having to get nasty looks and comments from others?

What do you think? Are you uncomfortable with uncovered nursing, or do you think it's fine? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Photo credit:
"GhazanBeingBreastfed" by Rashid al-Din - Rashid al-Din, "Djami al-Tawarikh", early 14th century. Reproduction in "Ghengis Khan et l'Empire Mongol", Jean-Paul Roux. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
"Breastfeeding-icon-med" by Matt Daigle - Via Wikimedia Commons.

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