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Friday, November 19, 2010

Nurse In Rocks Out

Joella Jarosh nurses Delilah.
Are you turned on?  Neither am I.  I am experiencing a warm and fuzzy feeling as I see a beautiful baby in the cutest leggings I've every laid eyes on filling her little tummy with her mother's milk.  But that's in my heart.  In my groin?  Nope, still nothing.

And I'm not alone.  More than 7,000 people are attending the "nurse in" on Facebook.  That's quite a haul for a four-day event that got little press publicity.  For those of you unfamiliar with the cause, the nurse in is a cyber event in which breastfeeding mothers, or those who support them, change their profile pictures to show people nursing their children.  You see, Facebook has a habit of taking them down.  The pictures are flagged under pornography.

Pornography?  Really?

Monika Whitney nurses Aias.
I'm sorry, does something about those big blue eyes and that bright green diaper cover scream sex to you?  Oh, that's right, it's his foodsource that's inappropriate.  A baby's foodsource is being labelled inappropriate.  And not just by Facebook, but by the public in general.

Maybe people don't realize this, but babies get hungry, just like everybody else.  And when a baby gets hungry, a baby cries.  Hungry babies don't care if they are in the mall, at the beach, at the park, at a coffee shop, in a restaurant or on the moon.  Hungry babies are hungry - regardless of location, they must eat.  And people would deny a baby food because the act of eating offends their sensibilities?  You don't have to hide your husbands or turn your older children away from the sight.  It's not a lapdance, it's not a skin flick, it's food.  Maybe we, as a society on a whole, should rethink our definition of porn.

Every time we go to the beach, we see string bikinis, lowcut suits, thongs.  That's not publicly frowned upon, nor should it be.  That is what the beach is for.  Are those people walking around embarrassed and shamed?  No.  No one gives them the hairy eyeball, the judgemental frown.  Why should mothers feel ashamed of nursing should their babies  be hungry at the beach?

Emily Walkerden nurses Molly at the beach.

I only breastfed my twins for three months, and even then I exclusively pumped.  My babies were born prematurely and would not latch.  But you don't have to be a prolonged breastfeeder, or even a breastfeeder at all, to support those who are.  Those mothers are doing the very best they can by their children.  They are loving them, holding them, nurturing them and guiding them.  Why can't they feed them?

We need to change our thinking.  As a society, we need to reassess our priorities.  The sooner we rid ourselves of the stigma that hinders a breastfeeding mother, the sooner we will be able to rid ourselves of the irrational fear that somewhere someone is getting off on the feeding of babies.

Facebook could start by leaving the pictures alone.  More than 7,000 women banding together, fighting for "the cause," when really, there shouldn't be a cause to fight for.  We don't have to fight over whether or not we eat a sandwich, do we?

Babies are beautiful.  Feeding them is normal.  I shouldn't have to write an essay plastered with breastfeeding pictures to say that.  But I did.  Maybe one day those women will win the battle that has been forced upon them.  Until then, they'll continue to post their breastfeeding pictures in defiance.

Nicole Erb nurses Javin.

I can only hope that one day they will be posting them in celebration, with no foe in sight.

Don't forget to vote for Tales of an Unlikely Mother if you like it!

For more on judgement and breastfeeding, check out Food for Thought.
And visit Dear Delilah, Fine and Fair for a touching personal story.


  1. Well done Darlena. I'm honored to be included in this most excellent blog post! :)

  2. this is a good post and you should feel good. Facebook is being ridiculous, truly. Most of the times I ever nursed in public nobody had any idea what I was doing (mostly because I am a founding member of the IBTC) and it just looked like they were sleeping. I think America's thinking is really skewed on so many things that it's scary. The weird reaction to a baby eating the way nature intended is only one example of how ass backwards we are as a nation. Sad, sad, sad.

  3. Thank you, S. Facebook is being ridiculous. It's behavior like theirs that will continue to make this an issue. If more people understood the normality of feeding a baby at the breast, more mothers would be able to do it in peace, and less people would be bothered by it. Making it an issue like this makes it a bigger deal than it ever should be.

    @Joella: Thank you for the picture! I linked you at the bottom!

  4. My 3 year old (who is just starting to wean), wanted to know every baby's name. And said "They are good babies. They are getting mum-milk."

    Nuff said.

  5. How are we STILL fighting this issue? If a man with his trousers off doesn't get arrested for indecent exposure because he's flacid, how are we still arguing that a breast with a baby latched on is indecent?! I really don't get it.

  6. I nursed my twins for 10 months and my ability to go places and do things was severely compromised because of the attitude in the USA about breastfeeding - I never felt that I could nurse them in public. (It's impossible to discretely and modestly have two babies suckling on you!) So consequently I either stayed home or went to friends' houses where I could retreat to a private room when necessary. Hopefully someday things will get better.



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