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After seeing the magazine cover that is setting the interwebs abuzz, I decided that I would like to voice my opinion on the matter. Then after seeing this week’s Breastfeeding Blog Hop topic, I decided to use this cover as the inspiration for my post because they truly are one in the same.
My breastfeeding hero is every woman who gives it an honest try. Every woman who has the guts to go against the (American) norm and breastfeed for an “extended” period of time. Longer than six months, or a year, or even two. My hero is the woman who takes the bull by the horns and breastfeeds for as long as she and/or her child wants to, however long that is.
I breastfed my first child for six and a half months and I quickly regretted my decision to stop, but it was too late. I waited too long. I didn’t have the support that I do now and I thought that formula feeding would be easier, but I was wrong. Having to remember to pack enough for an outing, washing bottles, heating one up in the middle of the night, it wasn’t easier at all. Then enter my second child.
I knew that I wanted to breastfeed him longer and figured I would go for a year and maybe pump for another year after that. Ha! At 18 months he is still nursing 4 to 5 times a day, give or take, and refuses to take breastmilk from anywhere other than “the tap”. But I do not consider myself a better mother to him than I was to Red, just and older, wiser, more supported mother. Either way, I breastfed and therefore I was a hero. And so is every other woman!
Now I would like to expand on this cover a little bit. I am frustrated by it. I admit that I haven’t read the article, but the article isn’t what is causing an uproar. This photo of a gorgeous woman with great breasts and a larger than average 3½ year old wasn’t chosen by accident. This was meant to create shock and even possibly outrage, not to encourage a healthy discussion on breastfeeding, and probably not on attachment parenting either. Even the headline uses the word “extremes”. Being a cloth diapering, breastfeeding, baby carrier using mom, even though I don’t consider myself an attachment parent I am thrust into a world of attachment parents because how I parent is in line with what some of them do and there are some out there who seem to compete. If I wear my baby all day and you only do it when you go out or use a stroller, I’m a better mother. If I used cloth diapers from moment one when you didn’t start until your baby was six months, I’m a better mother. They’re out there. You’ve seem them, too. So the article itself may have a little merit, but this photo is going to set not just extended breastfeeding back for some, but maybe breastfeeding in general. I have seen the comments on my local news website’s Facebook post of this cover and they are mostly comments saying that it’s abuse, disgusting, babies should only breastfeed until they get teeth (!!), this mother needs a man, and of course the eyeroll inducing “Ooh, boobies” comments. These are comments from an unenlightened and uneducated society when it comes to breastfeeding and that needs to change! Only in this country do we act this way and I find it shameful.
So to all of you breastfeeding mamas out there, you are a rock star and you are my heroes!