Mind Your Business | Giftie Etcetera: Mind Your Business

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mind Your Business

I just read this article because it appeared on a working moms blog I subscribe to. It points out that media keeps asking whether Jennifer Lopez is breastfeeding her twins. And then it questions whether anyone should care?


A lot of people do care. You'd be surprised at how many people...friends, family, internet stalkers ;), and random strangers...comment on breastfeeding. (This is, like last time, becoming more common as my belly expands rapidly.) It goes both ways, of course. Half the people say, "well, if you are even thinking about breastfeeding, you should try it. Breastfeeding is best." (At which point Kristy doesn't hesitate to give her "breastfeeding is best, except when it isn't, so why do you just spit out trite sayings that you've heard" speech, which is only fun, let me assure you, for Kristy. LOL.) The other half wince. "You aren't going to nurse, are you?" These people inevidentally use the word nurse, because, presumably, they believe that if they say the word breast, they will picture my breast, and then they will see my breast in real life (they won't...but they "think" they will), and breasts might, I don't know, bite them? Scar them? Give them hives?

I've never been one of those people who believes you never talk about religion, or politics, or money. I do believe you can decline to talk about sticky subjects, but open conversation is not harmful by nature. (This does not excuse rudeness. "How much do you make?" is pretty rude. "How much do you make?" in the context of sharing salary levels in a particular field or at a new job, forgivable. "How much do you make?" in the context of helping your friend make a budget, at her request, is great.)

But I do think the breastfeeding conversation causes damage. (This doesn't mean I'm not guilty of it. You think I don't consider, with some horror, fear, and TERROR, that in October, a baby will likely suck the life out of my already too big and too painful boobs? I consider that 20 times a day. So it's on my mind. I talk about it. This is about whether I should, not whether I do.) Either the woman is planning to breastfeed, despite the real obstacles that exist. (And don't get me going on the "any size breast" can breastfeed, so size is not an obstacle. WARNING TMI AHEAD...At the end of Ander's pregnancy, I wore a G-cup and my nipples flattened out to virtually nothing. Virtually nothing. I could breastfeed - well, except for the cancer scare and heart issues, but size did matter, people. It did. That stupid "size doesn't matter" saying refers to SMALL size. Large size does, in fact, affect breastfeeding success. It also affects modesty. Sigh.) And when you say, "you're not, are you?," you hurt mom's confidence. Or she is not planning to breastfeed, when you say "you should," she digs in her heals, asserts her independence, and doesn't even consider it...because then she would give power to the know-it-all who told her what she "should" do. Either way, the unsolicited comment is useless at best, and harmful at worse.

On to J Lo. Did she breastfeed? Really, who cares? Why in the world would anyone care? If we are worried about the welfare of her twins (and really, are we truly worried...yes, I'm talking to you), are we asking if she is driving the absolute safest car, using the topnotch car seat, hiring extra people to supervise her children, hiring a driver so she doesn't crash from the exhaustion of being up all night, having food made by a nutritionist who specializes in baby food and breastfeeding moms, sleeping with baby in the room but not in the bed as doctor's recommend...I could go on and on. Even if you truly believe breastfeeding is best (again, shudder at that silly saying), there are lots of things that are best for our kids that we don't do, because of patience, or time, or money constraints. (And don't even try to tell me that patience, time, and money don't affect breastfeeding. A working mom, to truly breastfeed well, sacrifices time pumping or staying home and money while staying home or not getting promoted because she is busy pumping. A stay-at-home mom is never totally patient with breastfeeding. Every breastfeeding relationship, with all its benefits, has negatives.) I'll exempt from the criticism that all parents sometimes don't do the "best" for their children any parent who has never raised their voice or said something negative to their kid. What's that you say? You've raised your voice? Maybe, that once, you didn't do what is best for your kid.

Of course, a weak argument for leaving other parents alone about whether they breastfeed (and this post is about leaving parents alone...it is not anti-breastfeeding at all) would certainly be that there are worse things they could be doing than bottlefeeding. But not breastfeeding is not killing babies. Not putting babies in a car seat? Yep, we can show, statiscally, that no car seat kills babies. Still, a car seat is only best WHEN IT'S BEST. If Ander is bleeding and I can only choose between getting to a hospital without a car seat or letting him continue to bleed, we're going without a car seat.

J Lo's boobs are fascinating to some. Fine. But how she uses them ain't our business, people. Her kids will live through whatever she chooses.

And my boobs...well, despite my public rants about them, which might suggest otherwise ;)...they ain't your business, either. And there's no waiver just 'cause I grew a belly.

Peace out.



Frog said...

Well said!! I agree totally!

Rachel said...

Just wait till you need to breastfeed in a public place. Complete strangers will feel the need to come up and comment on it. Even when they say nice things, that still freaks me out.

Stac Cole said...

but how do you feel about cloth diapers? Seriously! I hear alot of new moms talking about them and I think that if I were to have kids again I'd definitely try them out. Since we're both from the "laziness" family, and Ander is way younger than mine, I'm just wondering what you think about that!

Miss-buggy said...

Stac....I cloth diaper. I love it.

OPer....YOu have such great points. Although I tend to be one of those people that wonder why people don't BF when I see a bottle in the babies mouth or something I realize too that I am not in the place to say anything. I don't know what is in those bottles. LOL. Also I LOVE to see people nursing. I just walk by and smile to myself but in the same respect it is not my place to say anything.
It is your choice. I have heard arguments about the breast being best because kids don't get sick and blah blah blah. But mine gets sick and he was EBF for 15 months. I don't really think it is people's place to be nosey (like in regards to JLo and stuff) you can choose to do what you want. It would not be my place to give you my two cents on why you should or shouldn't do something.
I don't think I make sense. But this post seems dead on for me. And size does matter. Too big and the baby has issues latching. You try to latch on a watermelon. And no breasts can do the same thing. There is advantages and disadvantages. To say size doesn't matter is like saying air doesn't matter.