Saturday, February 13, 2010

"Discreet ?"

Who defines “discreet?”
In the world of breastfeeding, special attention has been given to the idea of “discreet” nursing. Marketing giants have picked this as an area to mass market the “newest, latest, trendiest idea” to help mothers achieve this goal.
First – lets look at the definition of the word – discreet.
Miriam-webster defines discreet – as being unobtrusive, unnoticable.
So let’s think about this, breastfeeding being unobtrusive – NOT in your face; or unnoticable – Not drawing unusual attention. I suppose those are not unreasonable requests. But I don’t think that is where the problem lies. It is not with the word “discreet.”

OK… now – let’s look at our society in general.
Breasts are EVERYWHERE!!! Magazine ads; television, movies, manequins in the mall. Have you seen the window displays at Victoria’s Secret? I feel the need to cover my six year old’s eyes!
And how about today’s fashion? Low cut tops & dresses; workout clothes are now a pair of “hot pants” and a ‘sports’ bra??? And should we even approach the subject of bathing suits?
My point is this… our society does not have a problem with breasts. They have a problem with breasts being used for the purpose in which they were created. (Remember…we are mammals…we feed our young from our mammaries.)
But why??? Why is it such a big deal to see a mother feeding her child the way God or Nature (depending on your beliefs) intended? Is it because the breast is no longer functional? It is only a symbol of sexuallity? Who decided that? (The sex who doesn’t feed from their mammaries?) The other sex, to which I belong, provide the first 9 months of nourishment internally – while dealing with nausea, vomiting, backaches, heartburn, labor and birth. You tell me who gets to decide what the function of our mammaries are for!
So if we are focusing on the function of mammaries – it is pretty obvious if you’ve ever been around a pregnant woman. Those mammaries begin to grow during pregnancy. In preparation for their functional value after birth. (And yes, they continue to expand in girth and volume after birth.) So this is their function… to produce the hydration and nutrition required to feed our young. (Nothing sexual about that!)
So what is the problem?
At some point, we discovered that an alternative might exist. Is this alternative superior? No. Not by a long shot. Even the producers of the alternative admit it is not by any means superior, they don’t even claim it to be equal.
But the alternative exists. Now what? Why would one choose to use a suboptimal alternative? Perhaps it is cheaper…nope. The original is free! Perhaps it has fringe benefits…maybe. Depends on your point of view. Perhaps it is just a matter of choice. I think this is it for most. Now – is it possible the original function can be flawed? Of course, there is always the exception to the rule. For which – we are lucky an alternative exists. Otherwise – the survival of the fittest would include the functional ability of the mother’s mammaries.
So if the alternative – is mainly attractive because it is a ‘choice.’ And that makes it acceptable societally… Shouldn’t the original option (nature’s intention) be at least equally acceptable – if not slightly expected?
Back to the idea of “discreet” nursing…
My point is this… if what you are doing is the proposed function of feeding your young, why should one feel they need to not acknowledge that is exactly what they are doing?
Ok – so you really think that covering your baby w/ a blanket, or a trendy “large bib” or even a large sombrero on the baby’s head – is really being unobtrusive or unnoticable? You really think that it is drawing LESS attention to how you are feeding your baby?
I think it is more like the blinking neon sign you see in a bar window – instead of flashing “Budweiser” it is flaching
Let’s try a different approach.
You are going to lunch… you have two choices for lunch –
a healthy salad full of greens, veggies, and healthy protein of grilled chicken – OR- a deep fried plate of greasy potatoes, and a slab of ground beef smothered in high fat cheese, bacon, and other condiments.
You realize that other people around you may be watching. Do you make a choice based on their potential opinion? Do you make a choice – but then hide behind a menu or under a blanket, so they can’t see? Or heaven forbid, take your food into a bathroom stall?
No, probably not.
And this is for YOU. Not your child. We do all kinds of things for our children, make all kinds of sacrifices for their benefit. Despite ourselves.
I still don’t get it.
What makes us feel that we need to cover up one of the most beautiful things on earth? Women, mothers, sisters, husbands, fathers, brothers – embrace the beauty of a mother and her child. If you see a woman feeding her child with the mammaries she was given – simply say “Good for you.”
I guarantee she will know what you mean, and appreciate it!
And keep the blankets, bibs and sombreros to shield the sun from their delicate eyes.

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