This weekend on Instagram, I encountered some hate over how I choose to feed my child in public. And I’m sure we all have. Facebook photos of mothers breastfeeding get reported as inappropriate every day. Exclusively breastfeeding moms hate on formula feeding moms. Pumping moms are forced to pump on the toilet during minimal breaks at the office.
What happened with me is not as bad as any of those things. Basically, a woman told me that I was incorrectly using the #normalizebreastfeeding hashtag because in the picture in question, I was nursing with a cover
“It’s not normal for a baby to eat with a blanket over his head.”
I can see where she’s coming from. In her opinion, #normalizebreastfeeding means mother’s don’t have to use a cover. That we can breastfeed whenever and however we want to. And you know what? We can.
In my opinion, #normalizebreastfeeding means breastfeeding for every mother, wherever and however you see fit. Due to Sawyer’s latch issues, and needing to use a shield, I feel much more comfortable using a cover in public while I get situated because it takes a little bit, and if I didn’t use a cover, I would be completely exposed for a long while before baby does his thing. Just because I chose to nurse with a cover for those reasons, does not in any way mean I do not support the #normalizebreastfeeding movement. We just probably have different ideas of what that movement means. I can support the cause while still using a cover. And trust me, I still get weird looks from people even with the cover on. I’m in no way setting back the movement by choosing to cover up because it makes me more comfortable.
Growing up female, is hard. So much harder than anyone can prepare you for. All my pubescent life, I had a hard time in this area. I was a late bloomer. And boys and girls alike were not afraid to remind me of this. I got teased, by my friends even. Not a day went by that I was not reminded that my chest was not up to society’s standards. That I was not the purely sexual being that men wanted me to be . And I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. If your chest was too big, you got teased. Too small, you got teased. Back then, your chest was the object of sexual desire and nothing more. As you get older, you realize that is not the case. This part of the body was created for so much more.
Being given a hard time based on how I chose to feed my child sure does bring me back to those middle school days. When are we going to get over them? When are we going to recognize them for what they truly are? When are we going to start minding our own business when it comes to something as personal as this?
Normalize Breastfeeding is not about uncovered nursing. It’s about a mother just being comfortable enough to breastfeed in public. Covered or not. It’s about every woman feeling comfortable doing what her body was created to do, no matter where she is. Because he baby is hungry. And when your baby is hungry, you feed it.
And you know what else? It doesn’t matter how. If you nurse completely uncovered and don’t care what anybody sees, great! If you use a cover because you’re a little bit insecure because maybe just maybe you’ve been uncomfortable with your chest your whole life, or you just want a little more privacy, great! If breastfeeding didn’t work out for you, and you give your baby formula or exclusively pump, great! And don’t you dare, tell another mother how she should be feeding her child. You don’t know her struggle, and you don’t make her choices for her.
Let’s all just feed our babies.