Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Let's talk about breasts.

Breast. The upper ventral region of an animal’s torso, particularly that of mammals, including human beings. The breasts of a female primate’s body contain the mammary glands, which secrete milk used to feed infants. (Wikipedia)

In January 2010, when I gave birth to my son I decided to breastfeed him. I did this for several reasons.

First, everything I read said it was good for the baby. He would be smarter, sleep better, cry less, have less gas, a stronger immune system and even his poop would be more pleasant.

P.S. There is no such thing as "pleasant" poop.

I also knew that breastfeeding would be good for me. It would help me lose weight (BIG FAT LIE!), it would decrease my chances of developing breast cancer (and with two grandmothers and a mother in heaven because of it - why not?) and of course it would help me bond with Picklebug.

And perhaps the best part was that it would save money. I would buy little to no formula and I wouldn't have to worry about bottles. I did invest in a breast pump for when I am at work - but it paid for itself in the first few months.

In fact, after doing some calculations I have figured out that had I been using formula with Picklebug - I would have already spent about $750.00 on formula alone! Not to mention all the accoutrement's that are necessary when bottle feeding: bottles, bottled water, nipples, ice packs, sterilizers, etc. And who knows how much we saved in doctor visits!

So with all these obvious benefits, I made it my mission to be a breast feeding momma. And while it was really hard those first few months, I'm really glad I stuck with it. Nursing Picklebug makes me pause several times a day to really be with my baby. To snuggle him close, to smell his sweet scent, to kiss his tiny fingers and rub his tiny feet.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I didn't always feel this way about breast feeding.

Let me begin by pointing out the obvious: society has RUINED breasts for everyone that breaths air. I don't have to cite examples or tell tales of how much emphasis the media puts on breasts. Breasts are EVERYWHERE. Every ad, every billboard, every TV show, every movie.

You can't walk through the mall without coming face to face with a busty manikin.

People are so desensitized when it comes to breasts that I fear it won't be long before it's legal for women to walk around topless.

So if breasts are everywhere - why do some people have such a hard time seeing a woman nursing in public?

I'd much rather see a woman nursing a baby than be accosted by the sight of some girl trying to wear a shirt as a dress. (You ain't foolin' no one, honey. It's a long shirt. Not a dress. And the whole world doesn't want to see your hiney.)

Boobs are a functional part of my body. They are a means to provide my sweet baby with nutrition.

Every three to four hours.

Which means that unless I want to become an antisocial hermit-mother who never leaves the house, I'm eventually going to have to feed my baby somewhere other than behind my front door.

And if you know me at all you know I'm no hermit.

I remember being in college and going to the dining hall for dinner. I sat down with my friends and began to enjoy my corn dog and tots when I noticed a professor sitting about 6 tables down from me.

She was breastfeeding her baby, grading papers and eating dinner.

Now, I would love to tell you that the first thing that came to my stupid 20 year old brain was how awesome this woman was for being able to feed her baby, eat, and manage to grade tests.

But instead I immediately thought - UGH! Gross! That woman is flashing the entire D-hall! Go to a bathroom you hippie! No one wants to see that kind of thing in public!

Stupid Jen.

Last week I went to Books-a-million with my step mom and just as we entered the store, Picklebug let me know it was time for a snack by arching his back and making what we like to call "the pterodactyl screech."

Now, I've breastfed in public on numerous occasions - but I always try to do it in the "family room" at the mall or in a non-busy corner of a restaurant.

But Books-a-million didn't provide me that luxury.

So I sat down in the only available seat I could find. A comfy leather chair located near the busy cafe area in the front of the store.

To my left was a big, burly, hairy and very macho looking dude. Probably a linebacker. Or a Biker.

Or both.

To my right was well dressed woman in her mid forties reading the New Yorker. She smelled like vanilla and judgement.

Across from me was an attractive young guy with a MacBook on his lap and beautifully tanned legs.

And then there was me.

With my crying baby.

About to lift my shirt and serve up some lunch.

I could feel their eyes on me. Their uncomfortableness. Their displeasure at my choosing this space to take care of Picklebug's needs.

Mr. Macho mumbled something about the bathroom and left.


Ms. New Yorker pursed her lips and stared at her magazine.

And pretty legs just tried not to give into the temptation to ogle me.

And me?

I just did my best to carry on like it was no big deal. Pickle ate his lunch while I surfed FB on my Blackberry.

I had to decide a long time ago that other peoples comfort be damned! I'm a mom, gosh-darn-it and baby's gotta eat! Would they rather sit next to pterodactyl-baby?

In fact, if I could go back to that day in the D-Hall so many years ago, I would walk up to that multi-tasking momma and pat her on the back and commend her for not letting ignorant people like me stop her from doing the most natural thing in the world.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Jen, this is so great!!! I am sitting at my desk pumping and trying not to laugh too hard. That was hilarious!!! I can't wait to meet you (I work with Mike). I think we have a lot in common!