Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Breast Fest: A Non-Issue

Is anybody tired of the breastfeeding "debate" yet? Seriously, the only topic I find more tiresome is "Working Mom vs: Stay-at-Home Mom: The Imaginary Media-Contrived Battle of the Moms". In honor of recent of anti-breastfeeding in public comments/acts by Bill Maher, Applebee's, Facebook, and yes, even the YMCA, blogging mommies around the world have designated October 10 as Breast Fest, a day to discuss their right to breastfeed whenever and wherever. Thanks to my friend Linda, a fellow mommy blogger and DC Metro Mom for bringing this to my attention.

I breastfed my oldest for nine months and my youngest for a mere four. I realized that in the world of hard-core Lactivists, this is no great length of time. But I was happy to be able to nurse my oldest until he got tired of it and my youngest until I was on the verge of losing my sanity and had to give it up (MAJOR hats off to all those moms out there that successfully nurse infants with toddlers hanging off their hips). I have mom friends that never nursed at all and one acquaintance that is trying to wean her four year old. And everything in between. And it's all good and fine. Why? Because it's a personal decision - one that rests with you and your baby. I learned the hard way the second time around that while nursing may be smooth sailing with one child, it can be like walking across hot coals with the next. And vice versa. It may be the most natural thing in the world but it is definitely NOT the easiest.

I could not care less what people think of me breastfeeding in public. Personally, it never worked well for me because my kids required complete and total silence to stay focused, but I did it on occasion when necessary, including on a plane, on a train, in a restaurant, and on a park bench in New York City. Has anyone said anything to me? Never. Have they shot me weird/uncomfortable looks? Yes. Do I secretly enjoy causing discomfort to the ignoramuses of the world? Yes. Does it change how I feel about nursing in terms of when/where/how long it is acceptable? No. Because it is STILL a personal decision that every mother must tackle with every individual child.

I'll participate in Breast Fest because I am pro-breast feeding. IF it works for Mom AND Baby. But I won't become a Lactivist because part of making it work for mom and baby is being able to stick your mental middle finger up at every idiot that has a problem with breastfeeding in public. But as far as I'm concerned, no more whining about the injustices against moms who breastfeed in public. If you want to do it, do it. And get ready to defend yourself in case you happen to end up sitting next to Barbara Walters on a flight. But chances are, she won't have the guts to complain about it to your face anyway. If you're not comfortable with it, then don't do it - you can plan ahead, pump, or supplement with formula. But there's no "right" to "fight" for here. You already have the right. Whether you want to exercise it or not is up to you.


pollyandaleczmom said...

Amen. And that is all that I can say.

JenKing said...

I've reached the six month nursing mark with son #2 while working full-time traveling around the state.

My favorite pumping experience was in a courthouse parking deck with prisoners walking by on clean up duty.

Not to be outdone by my father using my used breast pads as coasters on a recent visit.

And lastly, my 3 year old letting me know that the baby wants to nurse.

Although, how can you top this Cole ism: Mama, you forgot to put the top back on (referring to a breast pad)

I just try to remember to pull my shirt up (not down) when we have visitors!