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.
1. Shunned By AMC
Ohhhhhh Ashley. How do you not see the variables that are at play here? You totally could have brought your child into a G-, PG-, or PG-13-rated movie after 6pm, just not the R-rated movie. So it's not really discrimination so much as what privately owned companies call "policies." Usually, a policy is in place to either to protect the interests of the business or the interests of the consumers, and that's, like, kinda EXACTLY what's happening here with the "no kids in the R-rated theater after 6pm" rule. Try asking Petsmart or Target if you can use their seats or fitting rooms after they're closed, for instance. I'm guessing they won't be as accommodating, because the stores won't be open. But hey, don't let me waste your time explaining all this mumbo jumbo about rules and times and movie ratings. AMC can speak for itself.
See? I almost feel badly for Ashley knowing that she read this and probably became even more irate. "So some asshole can get up and use the bathroom if he has to pee, but I can't sit in the theater with my baby because I might have to take him out if he starts crying or shits in his diaper?? DOUBLE STANDARD!!! Discrimination!!! I'm contacting my local news station!!"
2. Woe Is Mom: Dollar General Edition
Here's a question: What's up with Dollar General? First they deny a little boy's request to use the bathroom, and now this! It's like Dollar General is just out to get young families. Clearly they discriminate against breastfeeding moms, because they don't offer breast milk storage bags OR breast pumps, I'm guessing, for $3 or $4 which THEY SHOULD because hello, moms are probably the number one demographic that shops at Dollar General! Is Dollar General trying to send a message to moms that they hate them, or are they just sending a nastygram to all breastfeeding mothers, hmm? Makes you think. Get it together DG!
3. Superior Mothering
Well, one thing we know is that this lady's son is going to have to teach his mom about punctuation what with all that advanced learnin' he's got up in his head. Advanced babies have a responsibility to teach their mothers the difference between "to" and "too." It's practically written in the Baby Handbook. Especially when an advanced baby is a breastfed baby, because those babies are the smartest OF ALL. You might not know that's a true fact, but it's probably just because you're uneducated.
Nope, not selfish at all. Just blithely ignorant of reality and stuck up your own ass, which are entirely different traits to have. Rather than focus on the good fortune of having a healthy baby, why not zero in on what makes that baby healthy, right? Two words: LIQUID. GOLD. Best start to life. Best breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack any baby could ever hope for. I can see the front page headline now: 'Big, Strong Baby Nursed by Least Selfish Mom in Existence.' Some moms just 'mom' better than other moms, you know? 🙂
4. Anti-Formula Bitches
Things a nursing mother can do knowing that her baby will still be better off than consuming formula:
- Eat junk food all day
- Smoke cigarettes
- Smoke meth out of a light bulb
- Substitute purified drinking water with 40 ounce bottles of Olde English
- Live in a house full of asbestos
These are just facts, okay? It's almost scary when you put them in these terms, but that's what they call it getting "scared straight." Stop feeding babies formula and start nursing them while huffing glue!! TRUST ME ON THIS. Think of your child's health!
More breastfeeding facts!! Did you know that if you breastfeed, you will:
- Never get cancer
- Never have a sick baby
- Never have a child with allergies
- Never have to explain what a rash is to a toddler, because your toddler won't get one
- Never have to vaccinate. Antibodies, people!!!
- Never have to worry about your kid getting into college, because breastfed babies are scouted by Ivy League reps as young as age four.
- Never have to worry about your kid being able to dunk a basketball. EVERY SINGLE PERSON who's ever dunked a basketball was 100% breastfed.
5. Story Hour
Okay, Sable got me with this (albeit blurry) example: WHAT is so wrong with a mom being a mom?! Nothing. That's what World Breastfeeding Week is all about -- to reexamine those tired notions that a mother feeding her child with her breasts, whether it's in a public or private space, is somehow obscene or wrong. It's neither of those things. In fact, it's beautiful. Babies and mommies love breastfeeding! And Sable is not going to be shamed by that! She and her child are bonded through breastfeeding and that special feeling tends to go straight from her heart to her Facebook page. If there's one thing a proud breastfeeding mother does, it's spread the word via status updates.
LOLOLOLOL probs! Just you wait, Syndal. You may think posting constant updates about the wonders and realities of breastfeeding is odd, personal, unnecessary, or, as you say, "TMI," but someday you'll be saying that kind of stuff too though haha. Most likely! And you won't be sorry, either. You'll be sowwy, because you'll be a mommy, and mommies talk in wittle baby voices. Lol. Just comes with the territory. One day you'll understand. Until then, have respect for all the breastfeeding moms out there who are telling it like it is. What would the world do without them?