Let the babies eat in peace
It really bugs me that we still need to discuss breast-feeding at all.
But here we are – about 10,000 years or so away from our more primitive selves – and acting like breast-feeding a baby is something new.
While outsourcing it to another woman might have been in gross vogue for a time in history, it seems to me that there would be no human history without those amazing body parts known as mammary glands.
Yet everyone seems to act like it’s something new, every time a new baby comes along.
Take baby Emmy. A lovely baby – and I am not biased despite being her aunt by marriage. I just can’t get over how lovely she is, in fact.
And Emmy needs to eat. To me, seeing her mama breast-feed her is a beautiful thing: It’s nature at its best, a mother using her own body to nourish her young.
But whip out that breast – even demurely covered with a blanket as Emmy’s mom does – and the conversation begins.
Stories about seeing other moms breast-feed, fleetingly covered eyes as if some of the intelligent and educated men in the room had never seen a breast, all are part of the experience. Ridiculous.
According to the CDC’s “Breastfeeding Report Card 2010,” The most recent CDC data show that 3 out of every 4 new mothers in the United States now starts out breastfeeding. The United States has now met the Healthy People 2010 national objective for breastfeeding initiation.”
That’s the good news.
There’s bad news too.
The report goes on to say: “However, rates of breastfeeding at 6 and 12 months as well as rates of exclusive breastfeeding at 3 and 6 months remain stagnant and low.”
In a rather big ‘duh’ it also says: “…even from the very start, mothers may not be getting the breastfeeding support they need. Low breastfeeding rates at 3, 6, and 12 months illustrate that mothers continue to face multiple barriers to breastfeeding.”
Seems to me that one of these barriers is our own attitudes.
Recently, some moms even felt they needed to band together for a "nurse-in" to show the world babies get hungry everywhere, and that Connecticut law recognizes that fact.
As long as breast-feeding continues to be something we need to deal with by telling uncomfortable stories and to give awkward glances, things are not going to change.