Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Confrontation vs. Censorship

Welcome to the July 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Dionna and Paige at All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public ("NIP"). See the bottom of this post for more information.


As most of my friends and family know, I breastfeed Kairi and I am passionate about the rights of breastfeeding mothers and children.  Some have even said that I've become a bit of a different person since having Kairi because of how immersed I've become in this and other aspects of attachment parenting.

For a while, I would post frequently on both Twitter and Facebook different articles about breastfeeding and my views on current events in breastfeeding news. One night, I shared a particularly funny link to a comic strip about breastfeeding and my Facebook page got lit up. Apparently people don't like hearing about breastfeeding.

After that day I decided to drastically reduce my amount of posts on Facebook regarding breastfeeding. It really did seem like a lot of the time that I posted about it, particularly breastfeeding in public, it would spark some pretty nasty debate. It always started out clean, but at some point or another someone would compare breastfeeding in public to lewd and disgusting acts or someone would call formula feeding parents lazy or ignorant and things just turn ugly at that point.

It truly bothers me when I have something to say but I feel the need to censor myself. I don't like confrontation but I hate tiptoeing around subjects even more. I don't often have the need to nurse in public but when I do, a twinge of the same need to censor myself hits me. I often wonder if I'm going to be approached and asked to leave or if some stranger is going to be Tweeting about how I shouldn't be nursing my child next to him while he's eating his gyro. I wonder if the people who get up to leave are leaving on their own accord or if the simple act of feeding my child has made them so uncomfortable that they feel the need to flee.

It just seems so strange to me that people are SO appalled by the way our bodies have given us the ability to feed our kids on demand, for free, a substance that is biologically perfect. It angers and saddens me that I can't feed my daughter wherever we happen to be and I can't talk about these issues that concern me without falling under fire. Someone recently said that breastfeeding is the ONLY biological norm that we are running away from more than running to - and I totally agree.

So, because of this, because hearing about and seeing breastfed children NEEDS to be an everyday NORMAL event, I will no longer censor myself or back down from an argument or debate for the sake of avoiding confrontation. I will not confine myself to the darkened corners and hallways to avoid the ever-watching public eye just because my child is hungry. All I want is to feed my child in peace. Is it really so wrong to ask for that?