Guest Post: Right and Wrong and Breastfeeding
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Right and wrong. In general, the lines are pretty clear; don’t kill people, don’t steal, eat your vegetables, etc. but there are some things in life where that line is muddled a bit, or maybe it’s just placed in the wrong spot.
As an LDS lady, I have been taught to value modesty all my life, and I most certainly do, even to the point of dreading the possibility of accidentally exposing myself. Now that I am married I especially appreciate modesty from other women. I don’t believe it is specifically a woman’s responsibility for what goes on in a man’s imagination, that is highly unfair, but lets just say there are some men who are really struggling keep their lusty thoughts at bay and it is courteous of women to help them out.
After having been taught to value modesty, I have recently come across a challenge to my values. I was once a part of the group of people who say, “breastfeed, of course! But always cover up!” My thinking was that men don’t need to see that, and I don’t want my husband to have to see that! Oh how naive was I thinking!! We women always want to protect our spouses from temptation, but there comes a point when they have to take responsibility for their own wandering eyes and imaginations.
Once I had my own baby to breastfeed I really began to understand the struggles of breastfeeding. My daughter is six months old and I STILL have anxiety about breastfeeding her in public. What is that all about?? Well, it is about many things really, but what it comes down to is being afraid of exposing my breast. As if that isn’t enough for me to worry about, I have also had someone express their discomfort about women publicly breastfeeding because the exchange of bodily fluids was disturbing, and it has also been suggested to me that I not speak openly about breastfeeding.
The last thing I would EVER want to do is expose my breast in public while breastfeeding. I have already known men who weirdly are into that kind of thing and the thought of one of them getting his jumblees on over it disgusts me. Now I have run into a problem. I am terrible at covering up while breastfeeding. My daughter was a month and a half premature and so we were already at a disadvantage to breastfeed, as she had to start out with the bottle. Once began to coax her into breastfeeding, I discovered that covering was nearly impossible. I had to be able to watch her so she wouldn’t suffocate (hear head was soooo tiny!!). I also had to guide the nipple into her mouth. Trying to hold a blanket in place over a screaming wiggly baby while guiding (if it wasn’t in the right place she wouldn’t stay latched) a boob with the other hand, well, I don’t have enough hands. I tried to cover my head as well as the baby’s and then I realized that I couldn’t breathe. It was hot an stuffy. How’s the baby going to feel?? I don’t want to suffocate my baby! Now that she is older, she doesn’t like the blanket at all and has a hard time breastfeeding with it in her face.
Now with all the experience, I cannot for the life of me understand why people are not more understanding toward women who breastfeed, covered or no, because it is hard.
I am in disbelief about the woman whose temple recommend is being threatened if she doesn’t stop nursing in sacrament meeting. Something is wrong here. Women are given the ability to sustain a life besides their own with heir own bodies, a gift given to us by God. But this God given responsibly is something we are supposed to hide? At a GREAT inconvenience and impracticality?
I prefer to keep my business private because that is how I was raised but I can’t tell you how many sacrament meetings and other meeting I miss it on due to getting up to feed my hungry/fussy baby. Sure there is a speaker in the nursing lounge, but there is usually always other mothers in there talking to each other or myself and sometimes there is not enough seating for all of us. How awesome would it be if I could just feed my baby whenever wherever without being judged or scrutinized for taking care of my God given responsibility?
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To submit your own stories about breastfeeding, email me at experimentalcritic(at)gmail.com