Thursday, July 31, 2014

How Breastfeeding Has Changed My Life: A Breastfeeding Carnival Post Day 14

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival! This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about how breastfeeding has changed your life. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th-31st!  

The secondary title of this post is

Or How I Became an Unexpected Lactivist

I never expected to be an activist for anything ever.  I am quite opinionated but usually not loud outside of talking about them with family and close friends.  Breastfeeding changed me.  It started with ugly looks from others while I was breastfeeding, conversations with people of my faith thinking that I should be in a back room AND under a cover because while breastfeeding is natural it is "comparable to public sex or urination or defecation."  I'm here to tell you this is a bunch of crap.  No woman should feel forced to stay home to feed her baby.  No woman should feel like she has to pump and give her baby bottles while out and about.  No woman should feel forced to wear a hot and sweaty cover over her and her baby no matter the outdoor or indoor temperature.  That is a recipe for postpartum depression in many women who are already struggling.  I am a survivor of postpartum depression and I still battle it.

Breastfeeding does make some uncomfortable and I fully recognize that.  When it's done in a way that isn't showing skin though, it becomes the problem of the starrer not the problem of the nursing mother.  Breastfeeding can be done modestly and typically is done modestly by most breastfeeding mothers.  The above picture is how I breastfeed in company of others besides my own family, though sometimes in the company of medical professionals or other women who are breastfeeding mothers or who are comfortable with breastfeeding I may show some skin while latching especially if my daughter is especially upset.  If you're uncomfortable, look away.  People chewing with their mouths open makes me feel really gross inside and uncomfortable so I look away.  It's that easy.

Breastfeeding has changed me though, not only do I feel like I should tell people to look away if they're uncomfortable I have participated in the Big Latch On before to make a statement that breastfeeding should be normal and mothers should feel comfortable nursing whenever and wherever.  I also approach nursing mothers even though I get the butterflies doing so and thank them for breastfeeding their baby in public.  I was approached by a mother in Corvallis 3 years ago, before we moved here, and she thanked me for breastfeeding my baby in Noah's Bagels (now Einsteins).  It brought happy tears to my eyes, I thought she was starring thinking it was disgusting I was feeding my baby but she came up with a big smile and told me that it was great I was breastfeeding in public.  The way I felt after that event I've carried with me.  I try to have the courage to do the same to other breastfeeding mamas.  We need to support each other.

I have become a lactivist as well.  I haven't had the opportunity to attend a nurse in but I would.  I help pass along nurse in information.  I do virtual nurse-ins by posting breastfeeding pictures like the one at the beginning of the post.  I also show my support by having my Facebook profile picture be a breastfeeding picture from time to time such as this one:

Photo by Alicia

This is my current Facebook profile picture (of course chopped in to a square image).  On Tuesday evening this photo was reported for nudity.

I have no idea who reported it, whether it was a "friend" or someone who saw my profile and just decided to report this "disgusting" image of me in my porno know lifting my shirt to expose a white shirt (two shirt method I mentioned a couple days ago) to feed my baby.  How dare our photographer take this "disgusting" image of my daughter and I bonding so I had something to remember something so important in my life as feeding my baby with my body.  Our society has perverted the very basic God-given reason for breasts that even feeding a baby is seen as nudity or pornography as some.  I really wish Facebook would let me know who reported this picture.  I would block them immediately for ignorance because I don't need those kind of negative people in my life right now.  At the same time it's probably a blessing and I will continue posting breastfeeding images, breastfeeding articles, and maybe someday ignorance will turn in to support.  I'm glad they didn't delete it but in my experience they review and review and review and often people will report the image again, this is horrible for a mother that isn't sure that she is doing the right thing yet but they messed with the wrong mama.

Yes I have lost some friends and I've had family members block me from Facebook but I don't care.  I want to support others mothers breastfeeding.  I don't want ANYONE to feel the shame I was forced to feel at church by being ignored or getting dirty looks for not using the bathroom to feed my baby.  The "mother's room" in my old church building was a chair in the bathroom with a curtain around it.  I never fed my baby in there.  No mother should feel forced to do that or even to HAVE to use a mother's room if they don't want to.

Breastfeeding has changed me.  I will continue fighting for breastfeeding mothers' rights and for breastfeeding to become normalized so mothers will feel supported and comfortable to nurse however and wherever they want that they're allowed to be with their baby.

Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

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