Five Reasons Breastfeeding Needs To Be Normalized

Breastfeeding mom and baby in bed

Your baby starts crying and isn’t tired or in need of a diaper change. You deduce that she is hungry, so you lift up your shirt, pull down the flap of your bra, and start breastfeeding.  Sounds simple enough, right?

Well, it should be, but that is not always the case. For some reason, even in 2020, there are still people in the world who think that breastfeeding should be done in private only.  That a mother feeding her baby, a natural part of being a mom, should not be done in public unless the baby is being fed from a bottle (and no shame with that, we are totally cool with whatever works for each individual mama – no judgment here!).

But why the shame with a woman exposing her breast in the name of nourishment? Boobs are awesome! And breastfeeding mamas are taking it out solely to allow their child to latch on and chow down.

Even though World Breastfeeding Week isn’t until next month ( August 1-7 if you want to mark your calendar now), we can’t wait until then to give you our reasons why breastfeeding needs to be normalized now.

Breastfeeding in park

Babies get hangry.

According to the CDC website, in the first few weeks and months, a breastfed baby will need to eat anywhere 8-12 times in a 24 hour period. And you know what they do when they are hungry? They get hangry and they cry – a lot!

When I’m hungry, I eat. If I’m home, I go to the fridge. If I’m out, I’ll grab something at a restaurant or convenience store.  And if I’m really starving, I sometimes just grab a bag of chips and devour them in the front seat of my car. The point is, I am an adult and when I am hungry and want to eat, I do just that – no matter where I am. So why should a baby have to wait or continue crying if when their food is readily available?

Breastfeeding is healthy.

Breastfeeding is healthy.  Mothers that breastfeed lower the risk of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. Breastfed infants are better protected against developing asthma, SIDS, type 1 diabetes, ear infections, and gastrointestinal issues.

It’s convenient, too.

It’s hard for new moms to find time for a 10-minute shower, let alone getting out of the house. Between making sure the baby is changed and buckled in their car seat, grabbing the diapers, packing the blankets (*wipes brow*). Just thinking about it is exhausting! One of the great parts of breastfeeding is that it is convenient. No formula to make, bottles to sterilize or heat up – just insert, latch, and you are good to go. It’s hard enough physically and emotionally to be a new mom. It shouldn’t be made harder by making a mother feel self-conscious about feeding her child while at the park getting some fresh air.

Baby breastfeeding

It’s legal.

Women are legally allowed to breastfeed in ANY public or private location in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. (In 2018, Idaho and Utah became the last two states to protect breastfeeding moms. The Idaho bill-sponsor, Representative Paul Amador said at the time, “Personally, I find it disappointing that we’re in 2018 and we still haven’t passed this law in Idaho. I also believe the health and nutritional choices of our families are best left as decisions for our families, not our government.”)

Grow-up, people!

People swim in bikinis, run in sports bras, and bike in shorts so tight that nothing is left to the imagination (yes, I am talking to you guy who biked past me this morning who was not employed by UPS but certainly was carrying a large package) and yet we never think twice (as we shouldn’t). So, why does breastfeeding make some people so squeamish? It’s a nipple – every mammal has one!

In a 2019 article in USA Today, lactation consultant Norma Escobar said, “In a society where breasts are seen as sexual, the sight of a baby feeding at a breast can seem inappropriate.”

The key here is “seem” – it may seem inappropriate, but it is a totally natural process. If it makes you uncomfortable, just look away! Remember, a breastfeeding mom is NOT exposing herself to titillate – she’s trying to feed, nurture, and comfort her child. So, if breastfeeding makes people uncomfortable, they should get their mind out of the gutter and out of my cleavage.

Written by: Randi Mazzella