Unless they’ve been living in a cave, women these days KNOW that breastfeeding is better for their babies. They just do.
So why isn’t every new mom getting on the train to lactation station? Sure, some have had surgeries or other medical problems that preclude them from the task, but for most? I theorize it’s something totally different altogether…
Deep down, many women cannot disassociate breastfeeding from SEX.
There, I said it.
Don’t believe me? These are all actual quotes from my subscribers:
- “I just can’t breastfeed. I have been conditioned throughout my entire life to see breasts as nothing more than an erotic, sexual objects.”
- “I grew up as a Baptist in the south. My mother thinks that breastfeeding is disgusting, perverted & selfish. I’m sure she’s praying that I’ll fail [at it].”
- “The thought of having an innocent little baby sucking on my boob seems so sexual that it makes me feel dirty and perverted.”
- “When I told my boss I had to go pump, he said, “that’s disgusting, your baby’s gonna be a perv. Why can’t you just bottle feed like everyone else?””
- “My husband has a major issue with it. He had my breasts all to himself until baby came along and now he’s jealous!”
People don’t like to talk about this particular issue; it’s awkward, personal, icky.
You’re much more likely to hear a woman say something like “my breasts belong to me and are not for sharing.” Ok, fair enough… but what’s really going on is something deeper.
Shameful, yet… verrrry sexy
Breasts connote two things in America: shame and S-E-X.
As girls growing up, we are taught to always hide our breasts. My friend Ashley laughs as she recalls what her mom taught her, “Later on, all the boys will try to touch them. Don’t let them. They are your PRIVATE parts.”
Any mention of milk? Sustenance? Feeding a baby, errrr… anything like that? Nope.
Janet Jackson has a costume malfunction and OH MY GAWD, we’re never letting our kids watch the Superbowl ever again! That was one powerful nipple.
And boobies take center stage when it comes to sex appeal in the media. I don’t think you need any convincing on this point. Just look at any billboard or magazine.
So it’s no wonder that some women are aghast when they are confronted by the concept of “shoving their fun bags into their baby’s mouth”, as one reader described it.
For nearly everyone else in the world, boobs really aren’t a big deal. Ever seen a Hooters in Spain? No way.
Sadly, something has been lost in this country. We must re-brand the breast in America.
Your Turn, Hollywood
Whether we like it or not, we are deeply influenced by what we see in the media. When is the last time you saw a woman breastfeeding in a movie, TV show, or commercial? Probably never.
However, we’re now seeing celebs coming out in support of the cause.
Let’s hope these displays of support help us reach the tipping point of acceptability in the mainstream culture.
The Full Picture
Recent research has revealed new benefits to breastfeeding – namely, reduced rates of cancer in baby AND mom. Who knew?
So, in celebration of Breastfeeding Awareness Month, I present this infographic on Breastfeeding in America. This is NOT about shaming women who formula-feed, it’s about education, moral support and de-stigmatizing. For many, it’s simply about overcoming fear.