I recently read an article titled, “Should We Stop Acting Like Breastfeeding is a Big Deal?” It’s an intriguing question and a well-written article, and when it was posted on the Best for Babes Facebook page, it sparked some interesting conversations. From the comments, it seems a lot of women have only experienced positive, open-minded breastfeeding support, which is AWESOME, but left them wondering why this was even an issue. One comment that jumped out at me was:
Just to ask a question: who ARE those “pushy rude judgmental” people?
*Raises hand* Reformed, pushy jerk here. Truth: I once was a BA (breastfeeding a-hole).
I used to be one of those hyper-judgmental women who thought breastfeeding was the only way to go and formula feeding was bad, mmkay? Then I had a kid, started my own breastfeeding journey, became an IBCLC and realized how wrong I was (I plan to write a more nuanced post about my evolution as a breastfeeding advocate at some point in the future). But, my point is that there are people out there who are more “strident” in their support. I think they are the minority, thankfully; also, obviously it’s not just on the breastfeeding end of the feeding spectrum that you see this level of “enthusiasm.” (Using euphemisms and quotations to avoid making overt negative statements about passionate activists – negativity never keeps the conversation going!).
I did see the author’s point that widely publicized incidents of nursing in public (NIP) issues may scare some moms off of NIP or breastfeeding in general; in my personal experience I’ve had mom friends say that very thing. I don’t think that’s a reason to stop the advocacy efforts altogether; as another commenter posted, we don’t want to leave the mom who was harassed while NIP hanging in the wind! Maybe we need to get more creative and find additional ways to make the point that nursing in public is not a crime?
HOWEVER, I do think there most definitely is a place for breastfeeding advocacy, as we still have a LOT of work to do to make this biological norm the cultural norm as well.