Let’s talk about our country’s decency standards for a minute. Kim Kardashian’s glorious and extremely bare rear end has been plastered all over my news feed, every social media outlet and pretty much every website. Somehow this is ok, and yet we still have issues with moms breastfeeding in public and posting photos breastfeeding?!?! Is it because she is who she is, so we are like, um, yeah – just Kim being Kim…no biggie? Don’t get me wrong – I looked. I was curious. It was everywhere. And yes…I too cannot decide if Kim’s as* is in fact actually possible. I mean, proportionally speaking, it just seems physically impossible – Photoshop perhaps?? Anyways, that’s not the point. The point is that for some reason Kim’s junk in the trunk was passed around like any old selfie, but when Alyssa Milano posted a beautifully tasteful (i.e. less boob than you would see at the beach) breastfeeding selfie, she was bombarded with negative backlash for her “offensive” photo. Gisele Bundchen was photographed breastfeeding while backstage at a runway show – scandalous! I personally LOVE that Facebook didn’t bat an eye at Kim’s photo spread, yet until recently, breastfeeding photos were banned from the site and are still often flagged as inappropriate. It is clear that as a society, we need to go back to the drawing board on our definition of decency.
I’m not saying I always “got” the whole breastfeeding thing. Yes, I’m sure at some point it made me uncomfortable too, and I’m aware that unless you have breastfed, you might not get it. It’s actually not surprising – misguided and close-minded, but not surprising. Society has clearly decided that breasts are sexual and therefore a body part that should be covered and private. We even teach our children this from an early age. And I agree…unless a baby is involved.
I’m 16 months into my parenting journey (4 months since weaning) and I have just started to reclaim my milk makers as a part of my private, personal body. Because for a year, they didn’t belong to me. They weren’t sexy. They were not private and they definitely were not often covered. You see, when you give birth and a room full of people become intimately aware of your lady bits, and then this little amazing piece of you is placed on your chest and tries to breastfeed for the first time – everything changes. You now are responsible for feeding this little miracle, and the best way to do it is breastfeeding. The same society that makes us feel ashamed of breastfeeding in public also tells us ‘breast is best’. The truth is breastfeeding is extremely challenging. It doesn’t just magically happen. It’s uncomfortable, awkward, emotional and sometimes painful at first. In those early days, breastfeeding is physically draining and all-consuming. It takes a couple of months of embarrassing nipple slips and fumbling to start to get your groove and before you know it, whipping out a milk maker to feed your screaming baby is second nature. It takes a little bit, but once things click…it’s beautiful. You create a bond that is unexplainable unless experienced firsthand. It melts your heart, and in those quiet, simple moments you want to bottle the feeling and share it with the world. You no longer view that part of your body as private, because it isn’t. Not anymore. Your breasts (for the time being) are for providing nourishment. Feeding a baby with breast milk should be no more risqué than giving a bottle out in public.
“Man I feel so sexy and naughty when I flash some titty while feeding my screaming baby” SAID NO WOMAN EVER! Women shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed, embarrassed, sexualized, or wrong for trying to feed their baby – no matter when or where. You want indecent – look at the teenage girls walking around in denim cutoffs covering less than a Victoria’s Secret thong or Kim Kardashian’s giant bare ass plastered all over your computer, smart phone or tablet. Get it together people. Breastfeeding is natural, necessary and beautiful. It is NOT indecent, sexual or something to hide.