Last week, I once again found myself fending off angry responses regarding breastfeeding. Now, I know I’m not one to shy away from controversy this time, I swear, I wasn’t looking to cause any trouble. Promise.
As I was innocently scrolling through my Instagram feed a few days ago, I came across a post from @lucky8pr depicting an Elle magazine cover with Nicole Trunfio breastfeeding her baby Zion. The caption cheered Trunfio on for ‘normalising’ breastfeeding. Now, while it’s amazing that she’s breastfeeding on the cover of a magazine, I’ll repeat, it’s amazing that she’s photographed on the front of a magazine cover breastfeeding, I wondered how ‘normal’ the image was.
In a #regram, I made the following comment:
Hate to be a Debbie downer but there’s nothing ‘normal’ about this image of breastfeeding! It’s great that she’s breastfeeding on the cover but would be better if she was in trackies with a breast pad stuck in her hair and no make up on.
All I meant by that statement was that it’s about as normal an image of breastfeeding as Cara Delevigne is a normal girl in normal clothes with normal eyebrows. It’s a normal image in the same way that the image of gorgeous Kate standing up in front of the paps, fully groomed and wearing Jenny Packham just ten hours after pushing a human out of her royal foo-foo is normal. Just like everything else in a magazine, it’s a heightened, glamorous, fashion fuelled image of breastfeeding…one that a lot of women (NOT ALL) would look at and think, “Holy shit…I didn’t look anything like that when I was breastfeeding.”
FYI…I’ve never looked like that breastfeeding or not (and I’ve never had a chance to wear a jacket as nice as that…)
And, before anyone gets their maternity knickers in a twist – I’m not saying that we can’t look fabulous while breastfeeding. We’ve all breastfed with make up on and our hair done at a party (except me because I never got the hang of subtly breastfeeding…if I wasn’t naked on a sofa with fifteen cushions propping up various body parts and about 12 muslins strategically placed then it wasn’t happening) but that’s a far cry from this image on the front of the magazine.
So, I wasn’t hating on breastfeeding; I wasn’t hating on the magazine; I wasn’t even hating on the gorgeous Trunfio and her beautiful son…what I was COMMENTING on was the use of the word ‘normalising’.
So, with that out of the way, I came here to say one thing. After a cyber-bitch slap from various people who took deep seated and vehement offence to my words (for which I have apologised personally) there was one comment at the end from a university friend of mine who is a Dad of two.
And this is what he said,
It’s just an uninteresting debate. I don’t give a shit what you look like or how you do it. Just feed the little fucker off draft or by bottle.
And he’s right.
It is uninteresting. How anyone chooses to feed their baby, how they choose to look doing it, is entirely and utterly up to them and that’s where the debate ends. Simple. Time has told us over and over again that hashing out the breast vs. bottle argument is just different people saying the same things.
And that is uninteresting.
It’s yawn inducing and it’s exhausting because no good comes from it. It’s (unsurprisingly) fuelled by emotion, by hormones, by stress, by memories of stressful times and, occasionally, by anger. People who read such exchanges are at different stages of their own feeding processes and can be affected and offended by different things. The last thing I ever want to do is offend or hurt but, right now, there’s so much being said about this debate that it’s impossible to talk about it without offending someone.
And I’m not interested in doing that. So, it’s uninteresting.
The only thing that is interesting about the debate is that the debate is still raging. It’s still raging with such force that I can’t help but think that if we just stopped and breathed and allowed everyone some space to make their own choices for their own reasons, we would realise that actually, perhaps there is no debate; that we are all right because our own choice is our own right and therefore, by definition, cannot be wrong.
So, here’s my stance on feeding babies and everything surrounding feeding babies:
feed your Small however the fuck you like; wear whatever the fuck you like while you do it; do it wherever the fuck you like. Be happy in your choice; be confident in your choice. You know YOURS best. don’t let anyone tell you that what you believe is ‘wrong’. love your Small, love yourself and BE KIND TO EVERYONE.
Herein endeth the lesson.