I saw a woman breastfeeding her three month old son while walking around the busy farmer’s market yesterday morning. No one told her to take it to her car. No one sent her to a restroom.
No one gave her a disgusted look. There won’t be an outraged newspaper article, followed by a nurse-in, followed by an embarrassed position statement from the farmer’s market association. The simple, beautiful act of a woman feeding her son passed as it should: without fanfare, without event.
I admit that I may not have even noticed her if her beautiful toddler hadn’t approached my son in his stroller to engage him in a sweet baby exchange. She nursed her son while shopping for vegetables with the agility of a seasoned breastfeeding veteran.
It was just like it should be, and it was a beautiful thing. Sadly, the fact that I am compelled to blog about what should be a common occurrence means that it isn’t so common.
Is it any wonder that so many women report having difficulty breastfeeding? Is it any wonder that the act of nourishing a child, something our bodies are so beautifully designed to do, is so hard for so many women? Should we be at all surprised that women, women who are good mothers, opt to forego breastfeeding entirely?
Where are our breastfeeding role models?
Do you know who the first woman was that I ever saw nursing? It was me. Before Jack was born, I had never even seen a woman breastfeed. I’ve certainly seen babies eat: I’ve seen moms walking around, well, everywhere, bottle in hand and babe in arms. But before Jack came into my life, the act of nursing was so shrouded in mystery that I had never even witnessed it before.
That’s not right. But it is a direct consequence of our “cover it up” culture. How are we supposed to learn if we cannot observe? And how are we supposed to observe if women are being shunned into restrooms or exiling themselves to their homes during feedings?
I want to add my small but determined voice to the chorus of brave women calling for the normalization of breastfeeding, calling for a cultural revolution where the breast is first and foremost for breastfeeding.
I want my son’s future wife, and his future daughters and their daughters, to never have a reason to think twice about what I saw at the farmer’s market yesterday. I want that to be normal.
This post has been edited from the original version published at Monkey Butt Junction.
We are honored to host a guest post today from Jenn Collins. Jenn is a green mama and natural parent who blogs at Monkey Butt Junction. She has embraced attachment and natural parenting principles in an effort to follow her heart and achieve balance between the demands of a full time job and the call of motherhood.