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The Breastfeeding Wars: Where Will You Stand?

From before that babe is born, we are asking her opinion on breastfeeding. The day that little one joins the world is the day of reckoning for that new mom. Which side will she choose -- breastfeeding or formula?
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A new mom is vulnerable. She is tired, she is in pain, she is hormonally unstable and emotionally raw. As moms, we have been there. We all know we need to be a little bit more gentle, a little bit less judgemental and intense. It doesn't matter if it's your first child or your seventh, bringing a child into the world breaks down our defenses and leaves us a little bit more exposed. So why is it, in this tender season of life, that we feel the need to bombard her with our opinions, viewpoints, and authoritative standpoints? From before that babe is born, we are asking her opinion on breastfeeding. The day that little one joins the world is the day of reckoning for that new mom. Which side will she choose -- breastfeeding or formula?

The "Breastfeeding is disgusting" view

There is a large group of people who view breastfeeding as disgusting. The act of a baby suckling a woman's breast is repulsive to them. Why is that? Over the years, with the over-sexualization of breasts, they have essentially been "recommissioned." Their primary purpose is no longer what they were biologically formed to do... provide nourishment. Instead, they are a sex tool. Because they are viewed as sexy first, men (and women) can't reconcile pairing something kinky with something innocent. It simply does not register! These people prefer baby's to be breastfed in a dark room, far FAR away from them. They like the terminology: "There is a time and a place." The time is later and the place is not here!

The "Breastfeeding is the only way!" view.

The breastfeeding group is a strong one. Because of the rejection they have faced for the simple act of feeding their hungry baby, women in this camp have clung to the far reaches of the pendulum (and they aren't budging an inch!). These women are really just trying to overcompensate for the negative views of society, however the results can be just as damaging. They cling to the science and (often without realizing) condemn anyone who doesn't agree with them.

There are many women who either choose not to or simply cannot breastfeed. For some it is the hardest thing in the world and after battling with pain, feelings of failure and incompetency, and a screaming hungry baby... they just give up the fight. Breastfeeding activists can become so hung up on protecting the right of breastfeeding itself, that they walk all over the mom in the process. The reality is that although breastfeeding offers the best protection and food for our babies, it is not the only way.

The problem with "camping out" on either side of the pendulum.

The problem with these mindsets is that they don't apply to all women an they are oftentimes very damaging to that vulnerable new mama. She just had a brand new beautiful little babe and she is feeling a little uncertain about herself. She needs support and confidence not people questioning her decisions and trying to force their views on her!

These opinions are often taken just a bit too far. The breastfeeding activitists start refusing to cover their breasts. They go to the most public place they can find and whip out their boob and take their sweet time attaching that babe. Let's just say what no one else is... they feed off the drama and they are DARING someone to challenge them. Meanwhile, over in the "Breastfeeding is disgusting" camp, men and women will look for any mama who is breastfeeding, no matter how stressed out she is from trying to calm her screaming babe, and attack!

Focusing less on the "issue" and more on being supportive

When you are so attached to your standpoint, you allow yourself to be blinded by it. Your passion and intensity may hinder you from seeing that sweet mama herself. Maybe she wanted to breastfeed with all her heart, but had milk supply issues! Maybe she tried to cover up for your comfort but that babe would have none of it and she was desperate. Maybe she is on the brink of tears, with sore, bleeding nipples and discouraged... on the verge of giving up. Breastfeeding is hard enough on it's own without dealing with condemnation, judgement, and ridicule!

Maybe if we focused less on the boob and more on the baby and the mother, it would become less of an issue. Maybe if we stopped viewing breasts as a sex object we would have an easier time reconciling a sweet little babe having his lunch! Maybe if we look past the little area of flesh we can see, see past our discomfort, we'll see the sweating, frazzled, overwhelmed mom too (she's just a few inches up)! Let's start building one another up instead of attacking each other with our opinions!

Photo © [rohappy] / Dollar Photo Club

Read more parenting posts by Rebecca:

This piece was originally published by Rebecca Spooner on Hip Homeschooling. Rebecca is a homeschool mom of 5 young children, is married to a police officer and is enjoying the life of adventure on a beautiful remote little island in Northwest Canada. She writes about her journey, chaos, and lessons she has learned along the way. Find her on Instagram, Facebook, or join her on Periscope daily at 9am PST.

What do you think about breastfeeding? Please share your opinion below!