Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Oh Way Back When

when i was in the second grade we learned about greek mythology. to this day it was one of my favorite parts of school. there's something about the gods and goddesses and stories from that time that capture imaginations. and, even freaking better, as part of the unit we got to watch clash of the titans at school.  a movie?! in school?! ZOMGF DEAD. pure awesome.

but there was a catch. our parents had to sign a release form that we could watch it because the movie "contained nudity." specifically, at the very beginning of the movie baby perseus is nursed by his mom.

my parents were kind enough to sign my form and i went on to watch what remains to this day to be one of my all-time favorite movies. but the first part of the movie was punctuated with lots of second grader giggles because . . . it's boobies!

STOP RIGHT THERE.

we have discovered what's wrong with america.

i am a genius.  i love you, clash of the titans.

instead of someone just speaking up and explaining to the very giggly second graders that the woman was just feeding her baby and it was nothing to feel funny about, it became this entire production. the talking with the parents. the signing of the forms. the whispers between the kids about what scandalous things we would get to see. i understand that the school was probably just trying to cover it's ass but THIS! THIS is how this problem with nursing in public happened!

loosen it up, uptight puritan americans!

at some point our breasts became so sexualized that they can't even serve their orginal purpose. don't get me wrong, i think boobs are great/nice/hot. but they can do all that AND be functional. that's why they're there, isn't it?

think about this with me for a second- the top of a bottle- it's called a nipple right? i wonder why? (ok, i don't, but we don't think about that enough, do we?) rubber nipples, invented in 1845, were created to mimic the flow of the breast. for every single year of humanity before that? breastfeeding.  in public. in the relative timetable of human existence bottles as we know them have only been around for a fraction history. so how did we go from breast being the norm to the complete opposite and how the hell do we try to get some balance up in here? because bottles are undoubtedly and awesome invention. we just need to find some kind of middle ground.

here's a little challenge that i read about- the next time you go to buy a gift for a baby shower look around and make a conscious effort to notice . . . bottles. because you'll be shocked. they're on patterned fabrics, in baby books, on toys, on cards and bags and wrapping paper. the iconic image of the bottle has become synonymous with "baby" and over time . . . we know nothing else. there aren't boobs on everything for babies, there are bottles. subconsciously this sends a message of what's right, of what's normal.

the outcry against breastfeeding in public is just a symptom of the problem. people don't know anything about breastfeeding anymore. they don't see it, they don't learn it, they don't know it. i can raise my hand and say yes, i was one of them. completely ignorant about it until i did it. it's about time for some greater education. back to the second grade basics:  mammals nurse their young.
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We are proud to host today's guest post from the grumbles. the grumbles writes about her son jude and her new parenting journey over at grumbles and grunts. she's also really weird and afraid of strangers. shhhhh! be very very quiet– you'll scare it.

10 comments:

Love it!!! That is all I have to say. Thanks for writing this.

In high school I was given the option to take parenting class as an elective, and in my senior year I did. That was the first time I had EVER heard a teacher speak of breastfeeding. They didn't even talk about it in health class. My parenting teacher was happy to share her story of breastfeeding twins with us. She was an amazing teacher. It really does need to be something that at least gets mentioned in a HEALTH class of all the places on earth. Breasts only seem to be spoken about in Sex ed. anymore, and that is if the school has opted to keep teaching that particular class. I could go on all day about this subject though, so I will just leave my comment at that. I breastfeed in front of my 2 year old daughter, and she "nums her babies" just like mommy. She will be a better person for it.

I LOVE this post. Seriously. The bottle:baby connection disturbs me to no end. Would a baby blanket with breasts and nursing babies all over them even be allowed in a store? I doubt it; it'd be in a plastic wrapper like those nudie mags in an airport because, you know, BOOBS MEAN SEX nowadays.

*sigh*

It's exhausting. Yes, boobs can be sexual, but when they're in relation to a baby, they are decidedly not meant to be. I love it whenever I see a little kid holding a baby to his/her chest to "nurse". My son hasn't done that, yet, but I'll love it if he ever does and he most certainly knows that boobs are for feeding babies from all the women in our life who breastfeed.

Loved this! My children are completely confused by the baby bottle equaling all things baby. Our children don't use bottles. Ever. They transition from me to a sippy cup when they're old enough. My 5 children have never seen a bottle and a baby go together in our house. It's unnatural to them. I'm doing my part in the re-education of America!

Oh, you are SO right!

I was adamant that I would at least make the best and most valiant I could to breastfeed my baby (now babies). Everyone knew that my intention was to breastfeed. Everyone.

So what image innocently shows up in all the little cards and banners and decor for my baby shower? Umbrellas and bottles. Bottles. In cute little confetti that you put into the cards, and into the packs with the doorprizes. Bottles. Little cutouts. Ugh. There is, unfortunately, no way to make a cute, cut-out-able, clip-art-able image of a breast. Ooh! Maybe we should take thise little line-art images (like what LaLeche League has or simlar) and start putting them bleepin' EVERYWHERE. Bumper stickers, lapel pins, freakin' CONFETTI. Until it's on the banners and in the stupid confetti, we still have a struggle on our hands.

Why do my children yes they are 4 and 6 not giggle at "boobies"? Well because they think breast are normal. They were breastfed but I really don't think they remember very much of it they were breastfed till a yr and over a yr. I don't shield my breast from them to this day. As a parent you know that at the very second you are stepping out of the shower your child runs into the bathroom. Everyone has nipples and in my house my children know this. Here is the kicker I let my children see other mothers feed their babies. I want them to know what is natural. What the right way to feed a baby is. Its rare that we actually see a mom breastfeed but if I know or kind of know this mama I will ask if my children can look and I tell the mom why. Most moms don't care and then I say "oh look honey this mama is feeding her baby!" My children peek and say awe and you know what they only see a bit of cleavage. I have to make a point that they continue to see the natural way to feed a baby. My cousin has a new baby and I sometimes get to have the baby over when mama has to go to work. She pumps only for when she is away. My 6 yr old was so interested in the milk in the bottle. I just explained how the mama got the milk out of her breast so the baby could eat when she was at work.

Does it all sound like brain washing? Maybe. But I do have to work at exposing my children to the natural way. I feel like I prepping my children for the natural way of feeding my far off in the future grandchildren.

Great post, Grumbles!

I totally agree!

Imagine a recieving blanket with a print of little teddy bears, alphabet blocks, and squirting boobs all over it! Oh, it would be art!

Wait a minute, aren't you an artist? Hmmmm...

The other wierd thing is all the diaper pins on baby stuff. Meanwhile, there are rows and rows and rows of disposables.

I really want to find a boobie print blanket, now. XD

I read somewhere something that I found very much worth thinking about. It proposed the idea that one reason why society has grown up to be so obsessed with boobs is because they didn't have their need for the breast fulfilled when they were infants (not breastfed).

I only breastfed my first child (a son) for about three months. I regret that now. He is now almost five years old and I just had my second child (a daughter). I am determined that he have a healthy view of breasts. I don't cover up when I feed my daughter in front of him. He sees my breast and he sees my nipple and he sees that that is where his sister's food comes from.

My sister is an artist and recently painted an abstract picture of a naked pregnant woman. When my son saw the picture he didn't say anything about the lack of clothing. My sister asked him if he knew what the picture was and he said "Yeah! Its a Mommy with a baby in her tummy!" And then, pointing to the woman's breasts, said, "and those are the things for feeding the baby!"

At some point in his life he will see breasts as sexual, but I hope that through my efforts he will never see them as shameful, secretive, or scandalous. Just beautiful.

Perhaps the opinions and views would change if everyone would respectfully call breasts of all humans what the name is -- breasts -- and stop using "boobs" as it implies something other than what these are to all of us. Breasts. Because of the shame that prevailed in the sixties and the need to return to work, I was unable to breastfeed my now eldest son for more than a week. I nursed my second son despite his father's ridiculous view that because my breasts were small and, as he deemed "undeveloped" I could only feed my second son until he was 8 months old. I really missed the time that I totally enjoyed with both of my sons during this period, as the moments were calm, soothing, relaxing and totally, absolutely linked us in a way that only we could be during that time. There was only complete love and presence in those moments, and I cherish these when the memories are stirred, and when I see a new mother taking the time to enjoy providing for her own I give thanks to all mothers and fathers who love and respect this natural part of parenting.

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