I'm little, but I'm spunky. So during my pregnancy when other women said discouraging things about breastfeeding, I gave that smile that Southern women do and fortified my resolve to succeed at breastfeeding. Maybe it's not exactly inspiring to say so, but my desire to prove those women wrong got me through some of the tough titty times.
Where I'm from, there are three big cultural deterrents to breastfeeding:
1. The belief that it's weird and gross
2. Scandal at seeing breastfeeding in public
3. The belief that breastfeeding an older baby or toddler is somehow perverse
Number one never really bothered me so much. I mean, that's what boobs are for. No matter how vigorously the Victoria's Secret models writhe around in their underwear, the fact remains that breasts are baby-feeding equipment.
Number two was a little harder for me to get over. I don't like making others uncomfortable unless they really, really deserve it. But as time went on and breastfeeding become more of the status quo to me, I worried less and less about others being offended by the very normal act of a mother feeding her child. I do, however, make sure to cover up.
As we approach the one year mark, I find number three cropping up in my thoughts from time to time. People educated in the benefits of breastfeeding understand that those benefits extend into toddlerhood. But the problem is that so many people AREN'T aware of the benefits of breastfeeding. Will it deter me from continuing what has thus far been a fantastic experience with obvious positive results? Absolutely not. Because I'm spunky. But I do think a lot about others who have no support.
Once upon a shopping trip at Target, the babies and I were meandering about the baby section. In the next aisle, I heard a pregnant woman telling her friend that she might be interested in breastfeeding. The friend laughed and said, "You're not going to breastfeed!" in that I-know-you-better-than-you-know-yourself sort of way. The pregnant lady sighed and said, "I know."
In ten years, I hope that breastfeeding will be the cultural norm in this country (as it is in so much of the rest of the world), but in the meantime, there are lots of "boobytraps". Here's an article that meant a lot to me when I was struggling with my anger at situations like being told the only place available to feed my children was the bathroom.
Here's to being a spunky mommy!