Thursday, October 27, 2011

From the Archives: Out to Eat

This post was published in September 2008. It was actually one of my very first posts about lactivism. I think about it a lot and thought I'd re-publish. In this edition, I took out the footnotes of the original post, but the message is the same. I didn't even fix the grammar and verb tense issues, though maybe I should. It's grating on me.

One sentiment I've noticed with some people's issues with breastfeeding in public is, "I hear breastfeeding is this private, bonding time. If it's so intimate, don't do it in public."

You know what? You're right. Breastfeeding can be a very wonderful bonding time. But it's not always and it doesn't have to be every single time.

Imagine you're having dinner with someone you love: a friend, a sibling, a spouse, whoever. That can be a very sweet, bonding time. You can go out to a fancy place and have a candlelit date, or stay in and spend some time talking and catching up. A beautiful bonding time.

But you can't have dinners like that every day. It'll wear you out if you try to make sure you're always intimate every single time- it takes energy and thought and planning. Sometimes, you're tired and just need to throw a pizza in the oven or you have a lot of errands and you need to grab some fast food.

Breastfeeding is the same. You can bond, but sometimes, you need to eat on the go. And expecting that every time you breastfeed it's going to be this magical connection...that's setting yourself up for disappointment, or at least frustration- because your baby's going to want different things out of breastfeeding, too. Sometimes they want comfort and bonding, but sometimes they're just thirsty or tired or are more interested in something else, but are still hungry. And sometimes I think they just want to show off how flexible and agile they are. "Look Mom! I'm eating AND standing on my head!" "Look at me! No hands!"

So conclusion, although breastfeeding can promote bonding between a mommy and baby, it also can simply promote food in a baby's tummy. And it can be that simple and doesn't require intimacy.

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