Thursday, 26 April 2012

Not the only one thinking about breastfeeding...

It would seem whilst I've been allowing my Pizza Express breastfeeding experience to simmer I have not been the only one with breastfeeding on the brain. As you may have seen Oreo have released, albeit now they are claiming accidentally, an ad showing a baby breastfeeding with an Oreo cookie in hand. And the response? Well it would appear I was right to concern myself with what other people thought... Sifting through the HUNDREDS of bloggers articles and consequential readers comments there are a huge array of responses...

Some people can't seem to understand why women want to "flaunt" themselves or "create a spectacle" feeding their babies. Does this woman exist? I imagine that is simply in the eye of the beholder. I don't feel sexy feeding Euna, I don't feel "unsexy" as such but lets say I feel decidedly functional. 

Some see the incidental public nudity of breastfeeding as "unnecessary". Surely all it is is necessary. FEEDing is all about need. You can't feed a baby (well my baby anyway) without them needing/wanting it. Pffffft to dream feeding thanks very much Gina Ford.

Some have been concerned with the child's nutritional intake. Too much sugar etc etc. Boring.

It seems a major part of the debacle is how this is highlighting Facebook's ban on breastfeeding images. An issue The Guardian highlighted earlier on in the year in a piece where they asked for readers breastfeeding pictures to publish of Facebook. I don't know much about TV guidelines not here things but I assume they are much in line with this as I can't remember the last time I saw breastfeeding on Eastenders despite all the babies born in to the storyline.

So as a western society we see breasts as sexual entities first and functional feeding organs second. I knew that, but I had never REALLY considered that. It takes me back to university. I studied dance and I have a lecturer who I really never appreciated at the time but more and more as the years go by I find myself going back to her lectures and reading recommendations. One day we had this whole discussion on how you CAN judge a book by it's cover. Skinny people (by and large) eat less. People who exercise regularly will have visible muscle tone. Tattoos, hair styles, posture and piercings all tell stories about a persons life and loves. I (always) digress...

The discussion led, as it would with a room full of dancers, to the functionality of the body. Only when you think about what our bodies are for do you start to see exactly how many layers of association and connotation we as a society have pasted over the core purposes of our greatest and most capable asset. A woman breastfeeding in a cafe is not sustaining her child, she is flaunting herself. What? I never used to get my boobs out in Starbucks (once or twice in bars at University but never over coffee) before having a baby. And let me tell you if you haven't had a baby seven weeks ago... I have never felt LESS like flaunting my body. *Snaps support knicker elastic*

The plot thickens. We've all played a part in it. I want to breastfeed in public without any sexualised connotation but I've spent most of my life since puberty in a push-up bra. Hmmm... The whole subject is still simmering with me but I do know a few things...

  1. I don't feel embarrassed for feeding Euna in the waiting area at Pizza Express.
  2. I love the closeness of breastfeeding my daughter and NO ONE can convince me it's anything less than beautiful.
  3. I feel different about my body today. More confident. I care less about my wobbly bits and more about what an amazing job it's doing to put my daughter on the 75th percentile for weight. 
  4. Everyone should feel warm and squishy looking at these.



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