— WRITTEN BY CHEYANNE MUMPHREY AND RACHEL DEXTER
Women have the beautiful ability to conceive, carry and nurse new life. Thus, they are the natural and sometimes sole caretaker of their child, which means they are largely responsible for cleaning, feeding and teaching.
There is absolutely no reason any of those aspects should be debated — even when it comes to breastfeeding.
The female body is sexualized, so much so that no one bats an eye at Victoria’s Secret or Carl’s Jr. for their absurd advertising, and it is socially acceptable for a women to use her body to sell a product.
But the nation goes into a frenzy when a woman is breastfeeding her newborn child in public. Why would we need to reveal our breasts to feed our children, critics say; they are obviously for the pleasure of men.
What you need to understand, whether you’re male or female, is the anatomy of breasts and the power of breastfeeding.
Breasts hold a female’s mammary glands, which produce the milk every female mammal provides to their young — animal or human. A mother’s milk is more than just milk. A mother’s milk provides the nutrients and vitamins needed for the baby to grow. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months. The reasons for this are plentiful, including fewer food allergies and a stronger immune system.
However, everything changes in public. All of sudden feeding your child is disgusting and inappropriate. All of sudden it is wrong to show a little boob. All of sudden it has become a controversy to provide for your young.
The female body has become so sexualized that the simple act of feeding children and providing them with the nutrition they need to grow is unacceptable in public.
If a baby is crying of hunger, what mother wouldn’t want to calmly feed their child?
There are ways for women to cover up while feeding, including using a nursing cover, and sling or even just a blanket. But while this may work for some mothers, it doesn’t for others. Breastfeeding is not one-size-fits-all. But that doesn’t mean those who don’t use a blanket need to be shamed.
Consider the babies that are born unable to drink formula because of allergy or the mothers who can’t afford the expensive non-allergenic hydrolyzed formula, these mothers don’t have a choice.
Even consider the mothers who are unable to breastfeed due to health reasons, but want to for their child’s sake.
It is different for every mother and the reasons for breastfeeding vary. Mothers, let it be your choice.
If you breastfeed or bottle. If you can or can’t. It is a female’s duty to provide for her young. Disgust should not be a reason to starve a baby.
Breastfeeding is not shameful and should not be treated as such — it is human.
Your Opinion Editors
About A Pen & A Dress
A Pen & A Dress is a column by Cheyanne Mumphrey (and often features Rachel Dexter). Created in December 2015, A Pen & A Dress started publishing in The Lumberjack. Mumphrey's goal is to strike conversation about issues women face on a day-to-day basis and challenge the social norms for females across the globe.