STFU Parents: Breastfeeding Tips For Facebook Moms In Honor Of World Breastfeeding Week
Today is the final day of the weeklong rager known as World Breastfeeding Week, which raises awareness for breastfeeding and, this year, emphasizes the empowering benefits of breastfeeding while working. I’m not sure if that means literally ANY kind of work, as the woman in the online photo appears to be standing behind a cash register at a hardware store, but I’m assuming it does. So whether you work in retail or operate on human skulls for a living, consider doing it while breastfeeding next time for extra brownie points from your fellow peers. If YOU can do it, THEY can do it!
You see, that’s the thing about World Breastfeeding Week. On the one breast, I mean, hand, it’s important for women to encourage each other to not be ashamed of feeding their babies “liquid gold,” because it’s free and has great benefits and all of that PSA stuff most of us already know. But on the other breast/hand, I have mixed feelings about any organization that sort of paints a “right way” of doing something, especially if that thing is keeping a baby alive. I don’t think the folks behind World Breastfeeding Week have bad intentions, but I do think there’s a stigma against women who can’t, or choose not to, breastfeed their babies, and the droning mama bear roar that “breast is best” can occasionally drown out of some of those other women’s voices. Women are almost led to believe that breastfeeding is the only healthy option, which simply isn’t the case. And the ones who do choose to breastfeed run a much higher risk of turning into obnoxious sanctimommies, because let’s face it, breastfeeding is a sacrifice. Once you’ve experienced the pain of your nipples being chewed by a baby who eats around the clock, you’re basically like, “Okay, that’s it. Give me my fucking medal, everyone else can go home.”
Breastfeeding is hard work. It’s a challenge. And when you’ve got the strength of several large and supportive breastfeeding organizations, not to mention millions of breastfeeding mothers, standing behind your choice, you might start to think that your choice is the absolute best one there is. You might even start judging those who choose differently. And on top of that, you might start yammering into the ether on social media about your awesomeness, causing everyone you know to wonder if you think you’re the first woman on earth to have breastfed a child, like you’re some kind of Breastfeeding Messiah. Sure, a little encouragement goes a long way, but no one logs into Facebook hoping to read critical judgments from moms about breastfeeding, OR to read “breastfeeding tales” from their fully stocked milk mama buddies whose lives now temporarily consist of nursing, pumping, dumping, and rubbing various creams all over their areolas.
There’s also an annoying contingent of women who insist that clean, comfortable, luxurious lactation rooms should exist in every shithole bowling alley, fast food restaurant, and movie theater across America. Do I think that would be nice? Sure, I do. I also think it would be nice if the bathrooms at gas stations didn’t have wet toilet paper all over the floor, but somewhere along the way I realized that there are “nice places” in the world, and there’s the bathroom in the basement of the Continental dive bar in the East Village in New York City. We all make our choices and fight our battles. Some of us just preach about them a little louder than others (and feel morally superior while doing so). At the end of the day, I will always be pro-woman, pro-breastfeeding, and pro-no wet toilet paper on the floor; I’m just not sure I can defend moms who think they’re being ostracized for breastfeeding when they’re not. Let’s support each other’s choices and stop telling everyone what to do all the time, shall we? It makes the world a better place. And to all you mothers celebrating World Breastfeeding Week: Congrats! You’ve helped sustain life via your mammary glands. It’s pretty much every little girl’s dream come true.