This is not the best article covering the subject but this is exactly the picture that inspired me to go ahead and breastfeed boldly: Selma Blair--Very Public Breastfeeding.
It was a light bulb, cue angels singing "Hallelujah", and a bright white spot light shining overhead.
Because if that is what breastfeeding without a cover looks like, then geez, no one's going to see anything unless they stare long enough. And that would be rude.
And that became my mantra when I shunned (to my son's delight and comfort) covering up: If you see anything offensive about me breastfeeding my child, you've been staring too long and should move on.
The truth is, I realised I have never been more proud or accepting of my body as I have been since I gave birth. Oh of course I still complain that I'm overweight. I know this for a fact not from weighing in but from the way I feel: my knees have been complaining that they're not designed to carry around as much weight as they have been in the past year. But I am more likely to wear a two-piece swimsuit now than when I was in high school and slimmer by about forty to fifty pounds. (Okay fine, I'm pregnant right now but, you get the point.)
I chose to breastfeed, I've confessed, because I didn't like the idea of having to get up in the middle of the night to prepare formula. It was a very attractive idea to me to just pop out my breast, have my kid latch on, and then be done with it. It also meant the following:
- no lugging around a large bag filled with bottles, especially since we chose to use cloth diapers (meaning we would already be lugging around one large bag filled with clean and dirty diapers)
- no washing and sterilising bottles
- no worrying about boiling water or having to purchase bottled water to ensure the safety of the formula we make for our baby
- no having to worry about correct temperatures, mixtures, or anything of the sort
It's entirely possible I'm imagining how complicated it is to mix formula. I'm merely basing it on how my own mother mixed my formula when I was younger and what I remember of the way she taught me to prepare it for myself (I was on the bottle until I was six).
I chose and will still choose to breastfeed boldly because there is nothing to be ashamed of. My milk-filled, saggy breasts are doing what they need to: feeding my child. I'm not exposing my breast to attract attention. In fact, I found I attract less attention breastfeeding without a cover than I do breastfeeding with a cover. I breastfed my son once while having dinner and chatting with my best friend and she mentioned that I looked so casual doing it that it really did look like it was the most normal thing in the world to just go "Oh hey kid, you want milk? Okay, here's my breast."
I chose and will still choose to breastfeed boldly because I can. I am not trying to spark debates or make comparisons. Breast or bottle, we are all feeding our kids the best way we can and know how.
Maybe at another point in time, in a very different situation, my body is an expression of human sexuality and the beauty of human anatomy. And maybe once my childbearing days are over, it will serve that sole purpose again, for my pleasure and that of my husband.
For now, I go breastfeed boldly because my child needs me for nourishment and comfort. And that is what matters most.