I nurse my children because it is what is best for them. It gives them biologically optimal nourishment. It promotes proper jaw development. It provides antibodies and immunity. It nurtures them. It significantly decreases their chances of developing certain cancers and diseases.
I nurse my children at home because they need to nurse and when we are out because they need to nurse. I do it because it is what is best for them, and I want what is best for my children.
I don’t nurse in public for myself. I don’t quickly tug on my nursing tank to make certain it covers my belly and stretch marks because I am an exhibitionist. I have no desire to run topless through the streets, crying about my belief that I should be able to bare my breasts to all. I have no desire to compare myself to the young woman who exposes her breasts in a completely acceptable manner by wearing low cut shirts while I receive glares from someone for showing a nursing tank and bunched up shirt with my child’s head covering anything else.
It’s not a competition. It’s not a game. Nursing in public isn’t about anyone else. Except that in some ways, it is.
My young children are protected, to an extent, in a loving home where they are treated as people. They are listened to and encouraged to be themselves. Boy. Girl. It doesn’t matter. Wear pink. Wear blue. Wear every color you desire. Know that you are a person. Be the best you that you can be, because I love you with all of my heart. I want the best for you. I am your mother.
Each day they spread their wings a little further, go out into the world a little farther, and find that the world is not always loving, not always accepting, not always nice. Not everyone is treated as a person, as an equal. People are put down, shamed, treated as less than. That is not the world I want for my children, this world of hatred and fear, putting others down because of ignorance or in an attempt to make someone else better. I want what is best for them.
My daughters are still little girls, and my sons are still little boys. As much a I might like to keep them with me, they are growing up, a little each day. For now they have their mother and father, safety nets when their wings falter a bit. Safe havens at the end of the day. One day tomorrow will come when they are grown, and I will still want the best for them.
Look at my children. Strong, confident, full of wonder and curiosity, and secure in the knowledge that they can be whomever they are and not what someone else wants them to be. They grow up in a world of people who came before them, of people who pave the way, of people who want a better future for them. I raise these children, to grow up and be the brilliant, caring people they are. People. Not less thans. Not sex objects, told to hide behind a cover and shamed if they dare to do what comes naturally to a child, a mother, a person.
I work toward normalizing breastfeeding not for me . . . but for my children and their children. I work toward normalizing breastfeeding because I want what is best for them. I am their mother.
I’m celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with Natural Parents Network!
You can, too — link up your breastfeeding posts from August 1-7 in the linky below, and enjoy reading, commenting on, and sharing the posts collected here and on Natural Parents Network.
(Visit NPN for the code to place on your blog.)