Thursday, April 18, 2013

Got Milk?



Every few months there seems to be an article going around the interwebs regarding the whole issue of breastfeeding in public.  It’s a topic that stirs people into a frenzy.  On the one hand are the Moms who say that it’s beautiful and natural and think it’s ok to just whip your boob out anywhere.  On the other hand are the people who think that breastfeeding should only be done in the privacy of one’s own home or under a burka if you happen to breastfeed in public.  I never really paid that much attention to this debate until I gave birth to the Muffin Man.  Here’s the thing: when you become a Mother, and you’re nursing your child, your breasts cease to be sexual objects.  It’s this weird transformation that happens without you even realizing it, but one day you find yourself chatting up the mailman with your boob hanging out, and you don’t think anything of it.

I’ve always liked my boobs.  In fact, despite all of the self-criticism and hatred I’ve directed towards my body throughout my lifetime, my breasts have always escaped unscathed.  I’m lucky; I have a great rack and it came free, courtesy of my gene pool.  Prior to becoming a Mommy, I took great pride in emphasizing my assets.  Even during pregnancy I was able to still feel marginally attractive because I could show off my chest.  But now that I’m a Mother I can’t imagine that I’ll ever think of my breasts as sexual objects ever again. 

Before I had a kid, if you’d told me someone would be sucking on my nipples all day I would’ve thought that sounded great.  Instant foreplay!  But the minute the Muffin Man arrived and did, indeed, suck on my nipples all day every day, the reality of just how incredibly not sexy this is set in.  All of the sudden I found myself slathering nipple cream on myself in the middle of the night, crying from the pain, and being horrified as my nipples scabbed over and eventually built up scar tissue.  Pretty sexy, right?  Oh, and if you happen to be pumping milk for bottles, hooking yourself up to a breast pump makes you feel like a dairy cow on display at the Iowa State Fair.  I can guarantee you that your spouse getting a glimpse of you pumping should turn them off of sex for at least three years (unless they’re one of those weirdos with a breastfeeding fetish, to which I say I hope you’re in therapy).

After you’ve survived the first week or two of breastfeeding and you’ve come to terms with the fact that you are a food source, you stop thinking of yourself and your lady parts as anything other than, say, a refrigerator.  It completely slips your mind that other people may find a view of your nipple in the middle of their salad course inappropriate.  When you’re spending all your days (and most of your nights) with your boobs hanging out, it just seems totally normal to whip one out if your kid seems hungry, no matter where you might be.  I personally try to remember to bring a bottle with me whenever we’re out and about, simply because I get enough unsolicited parentingadvice from strangers without adding public breastfeeding into the mix.  Rest assured, however, that I will back you up if you want to breastfeed all over town.  It’s natural, it’s beautiful, and I’m pretty sure that our mailman appreciated the free show.     

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