I am the breastfeeding mother of a two-year-old. If you’d told me, when I first had the baby, how long I’d be breastfeeding, I would not have believed you. However, I know that it’s a great benefit to my child, myself, and our family. And I have a part-time job, a very flexible schedule, and a supportive baby-daddy, so I know how lucky I am in being able to breastfeed this long. Also, I know that it’s a nearly political choice these days.
Plenty has been written, blogged, ranted about when it comes to breastfeeding, but this little ditty by Jan Moir in the Daily Mail really offended me. After a short diatribe against a breastfeeding mother who was chastised for feeding her baby in a shop changing room, Ms. Moir goes on to say:
“Campaigners and mothers always like to occupy the moral high ground by insisting that those who object are curmudgeons. Why, breast-feeding is the most natural and beautiful thing in the world, they cry. Well, so is urinating, but no one insists on doing that wherever and whenever the need takes their fancy. Not outside France, at any rate.”
Well, there is at least one major difference that I can see. Breastfeeding is eating, or more accurately, drinking, and doesn’t that make it sort of like the opposite of urination? And while I’m sure plenty of otherwise upstanding citizens urinate in public, my image of public urination usually has to do with men who have been out drinking and can’t make it to the nearest toilet.
Her comparison just doesn’t hold up, and more than that: the inane backlash against breastfeeding women depresses me. Yes, it was weird when I first began breastfeeding in public. And yes, I’m sure that some people are uncomfortable seeing me nurse a two-year-old on a bench or in a restaurant. I try to be discreet. I often take my child to the car, so at least we are not in someone’s face. But the idea that I should only stay home while nursing, or wean her in public, is neither fair nor realistic.
Okay, I guess I am a bit more militant than I thought. However, I would never judge another woman’s choices about where, when, how or whether to nurse. It’s a personal decision. I just hope that the world will evolve until women–the world over–have plenty of support and freedom to do something that is natural, free, and clean.
(Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to piss on a tree.)