• ittasteslikelove

Mama, your style is your style - don't let society dictate how you breastfeed.



PHOTO CREDIT: TESCHKA



Society is starting to accept people nursing newborns in public, but there's an idea of how a breastfeeding mother should look.


Demure. Discreet. Perhaps exhausted. Perhaps with unkempt hair and milk-stained clothes.


Certainly not attractive. Certainly not put together. And certainly not like the woman she was before motherhood.


Dare to challenge the pre-conceived ideas of what a breastfeeding mother should be, and the vitriol comes fast and furious.



PHOTO CREDIT: KAREN HOLT PHOTOGRAPHY


Why is this? We know misogyny is part of it and we know that Western society has so sexualised and commodified breasts that for many seeing them used for their primary purpose is a attention seeking act.


An attempt to attract a crowd. An attempt to get likes and shares.


An attempt to steal partners (how insulting for men too - that they are reduced to creatures incapable of resisting a slither of breast even if a child's head is in front of it).


But the other side of things is that breastfeeding is beyond six months is rare.



PHOTO CREDIT: KAREN HOLT PHOTOGRAPHY


So yes while the first 8 to 12 weeks can be an absolute shit show of sleep deprivation, engorgement, and chaos - once you get past four to six months it is perfectly possible for breastfeeding to weave into your life as you and your little need it.


I am speaking of course in general terms, there will always be challenges and struggles, but let's face it - the human race would not have survived without breastfeeding into toddlerhood.


But today, breastfeeding beyond the early months is rarely seen. The reality of it is misconstrued.


People assume that the reality of newborn breastfeeding is the longer term reality - so they believe women who look "nice" while breastfeeding are doing so to attract attention.


I can tell you now, the reality is that all women breastfeeding older babies, toddlers, or children are actually trying to meet a need or to manage a rapidly deteriorating situation.


They aren't thinking about you, your husband, or the guy jogging past the cafe.


I can tell you now that as children get older, boobs are generally less leaky, nursing sessions briefer, and there is sometimes time to brush hair, put on a frock, or wear heels.


PHOTO CREDIT: TESCHKA


But the core message here is that if breastfeeding was the social norm, as well as the biological one, then it would fit into any part of our lives that we choose - whether that's wedding days or while running an ultra marathon.


There would be no discussion around "why" in the same way there's no discussion around why you hold your child's hand or give them a cuddle when they fall.


There would be no accusations or name-calling for women who refuse to change their style because they breastfeed


There would be no shock that a woman can be many things, sometimes all at the same time.


PHOTO CREDIT: LIVERPOOL ECHO/GUARDIAN


Until we get there mama, just keep in mind - the only people you have to think about when breastfeeding are you and your baby.


Everyone else's discomfort is not your problem. It's theirs.





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