This is not a rant. This is not a protest. But this is a call to moms to make breastfeeding a big deal.
Dear mamas and mamas-to-be,
I realize that not all of you breastfeed your babies and I’m okay with that. Truly.
Some of you have tried and circumstances have gotten in your way.
Some of you feel guilty and some of you feel proud.
Some of you have angst and some of you indifference.
Some of you have breastfed for weeks and some for years.
Some of you simply choose not to.
But wherever you stand on the issue, no doubt your heart is for your babies… and no doubt your heart is for other mamas too.
So we need to do something together.
We need to make breastfeeding a big deal again.
You see, somewhere along the way it became controversial. Somewhere along the way it became indecent. Somewhere along the way it became hush hush… very personal.
And it is personal…
But it’s also not.
Around half a million babies are born every day. And those babies? They need to eat.
And those mamas to those babies? They’ve been given exactly what they need to feed their babies.
So why have we let breastfeeding become a word that needs to be whispered? (Or maybe just “translated” to nursing?)
Why is it that there are campaigns running to (re)educate people on the benefits of breastfeeding?
Why is it that there are lawsuits in relation to breastfeeding in public?
Why is it that the television and movies we watch every day rarely include this normal part of daily life?
And why is it that we have to form clubs just so that we can feel comfortable with our choices? (P.S. I’m not a fan.)
The answer? Because we’ve had to.
What happened to breastfeeding being normal?
Somewhere along the way the “normal” has been lost.
Somewhere along the way the “necessary” has been swept aside.
I’m more than aware that some women aren’t able to breastfeed. We are not to gang up on them or make them feel inferior. (That helps no one, gets us nowhere.) Many of them have struggled to reconcile this sensitive issue within themselves as it is and we need to support those mamas too. (This beautiful account from one mom will probably make you cry.)
But the vast majority of women are able to breastfeed, so why aren’t we making a bigger effort to empower them? To educate them? To provide for them?
And to normalize it for them?
Breastfeeding needs to become a big deal again so that it becomes “no big deal”.
It needs to become a big deal so that mothers can get on with the business of feeding their littles (and feeling empowered to do what they were designed to do) in whatever environment they feel comfortable with.
And it needs to become a big deal so that everyone else will let them, encourage them, and honor them as they do so.
Let’s not leave the breastfeeding endorsements to the “lactivists” or the La Leche League-ers or people from this or that category of parenting philosophies. We need “normal” moms everywhere to help push this issue into the light… even more than it already is.
Dear friends, what do you think? Should we be making breastfeeding a big deal? Or is it a “shrug your shoulders” sort of an issue for you? Why?
P.S. You guys are amazing. AMAZING. As of May 10, 2012 we are up to 2446 clean birth kits donated and being made/sent to us. (This tally doesn’t even include all those who have emailed saying that kits are on the way without telling me how many.) Talk about a Happy Mothers Day!!! Thank you for being so awesome and for getting involved in this important issue by helping mamas and babies in the developing world. (Need more info? Here’s your place.)