Monday, October 18, 2010

On Breast Feeding

As my trip home approaches, I have been wondering about nursing Tallulah. In Mexico, people are pretty relaxed about breast feeding, given that there are babies everywhere you turn and the fact that the culture is much more laid back in general. When I first had Tallulah, I was extremely shy and would retreat from public places to the car to ensure that surrounding strangers didn't see snippets of my boob. As time went on I would use a blanket to cover me or move to a more secluded area, but now I simply don't care. 

Talking with Chloe and dad the other day, dad expressed his belief that I shouldn't feed my daughter in front of certain people in our family or at my cousin's upcoming wedding. While my immediate reaction was to get defensive about the matter, after more thought I realized that in a conservative Jewish family setting, whipping my breast out might elicit some harsh reactions. So I can see where he is coming from but I still believe that it is my right as a mother to feed the munchkin when and where I see fit. Plus, is there anything in the world more natural than an infant's dependancy on it's mother's food source?

I decided that the level of appropriateness you place on public nursing is directly connected to how you view breasts. A straight man may be uncomfortable with the sight because he has been accustomed to thinking of breasts as sexual objects. I think this is the reason for my initial discomfort with nursing in social settings, because my mindset had always been that breasts were private parts not to be revealed to the general public. But given time and experience I began to value Tallulah's need for food more than proprietous behavior and have begun to see them less as seductive entities and more as practically useful objects.

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