For National Breastfeeding Month, Grok Nation is running a series about nursing by our founder, Mayim Bialik, who is a Certified Lactation Educator Counselor (CLEC). For her past posts full of tips, tricks and advice, click here.
Today we’re going to grok breastfeeding in public! If you don’t have any issues with it, you’re already my new best friend. Heeeeyyyyyy.
But! If you think it’s weird or gross or immodest or inappropriate, let’s talk, kay?! Here are the basics:
- Breastfeeding is how mammals feed their babies. Like, since forEVER. Literally. It’s food, it’s not gross! Is it gross when a dog eats kibble? Is it gross when a rabbit eats a carrot? Is it gross when anteaters eat ants? OK. Bad example. But you get the idea. Breastfeeding is food. For babies. Who are mammals. Okay? Okay.
- Babies need to eat a lot. I know adult humans only eat at three discrete times a day all proper and nice in a formal dining room—oh wait. OMG. Adult humans snack all the time in all sorts of places. Wooooaaahhhh. Babies are like adult humans! Only smaller! Mind blown! So yeah: Babies sometimes need to eat in the middle of Marshall’s. Or in a restaurant. Or right when you decide you need to pee. They eat a lot.
- Babies make a lot of noise when they don’t get what they want. Like, they can’t SPEAK. They are BABIES. So if they get hungry and you don’t feed them, they start to cry. And then they scream. And then people start looking and rolling their eyes and you want to be like, “I’m doing my best!” but they keep judging with their eyeballs and you wish they could understand that you are TRYING YOUR BEST. So you learn as a mom very quickly to feed the baby when the baby is hungry. In Marshall’s. And in restaurants. And yes: sometimes when you are on the toilet.
So now let’s move on to a major issue people have: Some people say it’s immodest. You know, to be seen with a child to a breast. Nursing. Lips. On breasts. I best cover that up and hide it from the public!
Here’s the deal.
- Breasts are sexual sometimes, but when we breastfeed, they are also a food and nurturing delivery system. Things can be more than one thing: It’s called duality. So chill out. Breasts are not just for sex. They’re also the way we feed babies. Sssshhhhh. It’s going to be OK.
- We need to bring this generation out of the dark about breastfeeding. The way we do that is by normalizing it. Women have control over our bodies and breastfeeding is healthy and awesome and NORMAL. When women breastfeed in public, it helps people—especially the next generation—see it as normal. Because it is!
- Breastfeeding sometimes exposes skin, but you have to be looking long and hard to get to the point where you’re offended. Women can use a blanket or a nursing cover if they want to, but they shouldn’t have to. Ultimately, we all need to chill out. If you don’t want to see a breast, LOOK AWAY. That is an option! And if you’re a modest woman like I am, worry less about what other people are thinking and more about nursing your baby. Most people are too freaked out to stare too long.
Breastfeeding in public is the same as bottle feeding in public. It’s how babies eat. So the next time you see a woman breastfeeding in public, march right up to her and offer to help. Just kidding. That’s creepy and might get you arrested or punched in the face.
But seriously: Smile at moms who are feeding their small mammals in order to perpetuate the species. Or don’t. Whatever you do, know that it’s those women who are preventing their babies from likely freaking out and ruining your shopping, eating or bathroom experience.