For goodness' sake.
The cover of this month's Baby Talk (link has a photo of the cover) shows a baby breastfeeding and is causing such an uproar that a survey of over 4,000 people showed 1/4 were offended (?!?) or disgusted by the photo. The magazine has been receiving comments such as:
"I was SHOCKED to see a giant breast on the cover of your magazine," one person wrote. "I immediately turned the magazine face down," wrote another. "Gross," said a third.
This short article bespeaks of the strange dichotomy in our society. One one side is the you-gotta-breastfeed-because-it's-the-only-right-thing-to-do-for-your-baby; on the other, nurse-that-baby-in-the-bathroom-I-find-it-repulsive. How can any woman win?
I don't even know what the answer is in a tug-of-war such as this.
If we could de-sensitize society to bare breasts nourishing infants and toddlers (as much of Europe and the rest of the world is), it could all be a non-issue because women would feel more comfortable out and about with their nurslings. Who wants to be stuck at home with a baby for months and months on end? Women who dare venture out while nursing are often met with tightly pinched faces and looks of disapproval simply for feeding their child.
Yet, bottles are met with some of those same squinchy faces and tsk tsking frowns.
What's a mother to do?!
What is there in our culture that has to make all of this so polarized? Don't we have other things to worry about? War, maybe?
A little segue.
If I were pregnant right now and was waffling about whether to nurse or not, I would really be leaning towards breastfeeding because of the thought of a possible upcoming war in our own country. If it seemed impossible to feed babies during the Katrina disaster, let's multiply that by thousands of times if bombs began falling in our back yards. (I am not usually a worry-monger, but right now, I think it's something to seriously consider.) If nothing else, I'd want to be close to my child physically and be able to guarantee food for my child. If women aren't nursing in Israel or Palestine (or Afghanistan or Iraq or or or), I cannot imagine how they would be getting nutrition to their children. Something to consider.
I still don't know what to do about those moms who want to nurse so badly and simply do not have milk production strong enough to do so. It just doesn't seem fair that women who despise nursing leak for months on end, yet some women cry every day because they want to nurse so very much, yet cannot get even a drop of milk from their nipples. Where is the justice?
(It reminds me of women with infertility issues having to endure the pain of watching babies thrown into dumpsters. How heartbreaking it must be seeing drug addict women have kid after kid even as they can't conceive and keep even one pregnancy viable.)
It all just seems to go 'round and 'round.
I don't know the answer.
I do know the cover of Baby Talk is beautiful and those of us who find it so MUST tell them lest they think those who believe breasts are only for sexual arousal are the majority. Please, lactivists, please get all your women, your LLL groups, everyone... to thank those at Baby Talk.
Email them here. Please.