Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lactivists Unite?

Yesterday I had the much-beloved glucola screen –yea! I hope I passed it this time because failing means a 3-hour glucose tolerance test and fasting.

Yesterday I also heard about Facebook taking down pictures of nursing mommies. I can’t say I am outraged, but I am confused. Before I jump on the Facebook The Oppressor wagon, I’d really like to see the kinds of pictures that they actually took down. Were they the traditional shots of a latched on baby that show some cleavage and not much else? Or were they shots that actually showed mom’s boobs in all their glory and just happened to include a baby about to eat? I can see the need for Facebook to have a generic rule despite the nature of the picture that is something like “no nipples.” I’m just saying that if you have a rule you need to have a rule. The same principle applies in reverse – if you leave up pictures of women in string bikinis that show “everything but” and take down pictures that show the same amount of boobie with a baby instead of a bustier, then you don’t have a leg to stand on in my book.

I breastfed my daughter for a full 27 months of her life. I never had to buy formula, and I never regretted the decision. I breastfed Natalie in my home, in the mall, at the zoo, on an airplane, in the car (in the parking lot), at church, in a movie theater, and probably lots of other places that I can’t remember. I pumped milk at work for 9 months and also pumped in my car (yes, driving), at a wedding, and in many many bathrooms. (As I’m typing this, I am finding that Microsoft does not seem to recognize “breastfed” as a verb and keeps warning me that I am making fragments…) I am really proud of this, and the experience totally transformed the way I feel about my body. I was lucky, and I was never accosted by the boob police in public. I was (I believe) very discreet and never showed more than a flash of breast, and I never tried any very controversial places like a restaurant or grocery store. Oddly enough, the places that I was most uncomfortable were in the homes of friends and family. Those were the places that I was most often banished to a back room away from polite company. I met the most resistance from people that I knew, not from strangers.

The bottom line - in no way shape or form do I consider breastfeeding to be obscene. It doesn’t have anything to do with pornography, and it isn’t indecent exposure. Still, mommies, have some respect for the people around you. I think it’s like changing a diaper in public - it’s natural and you have to do it sometimes, but it’s just polite to make every reasonable effort to keep your little one’s little ones shielded from public view. Take the same measures with your own body is all I’m saying here.

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