Posted by: Jenny Everett King, CYT
The cover of a well-known magazine this week featured a well-known actress performing a well-known activity: breastfeeding her child. Now, just like when another magazine’s cover portrayed a breastfeeding mother and baby in 2006, people have complained. There are, apparently, many adults and teenagers who are uncomfortable with images of nursing mothers.
Breastfeeding is one of the few practices left in our culture that is inherently natural. It also happens to be healthy for both mother and baby (physically and emotionally), convenient, and economical. (Stressed about the expense of having a baby in the current economy? Breastfeed, and you could save thousands of dollars a year!) Most of us know, intellectually, that breastfeeding is the ideal means of infant nutrition. Yet many still don’t like to see it in action.
Consequently, many breastfeeding mothers feel uncomfortable nursing their babies in public. Numerous women have commented, “I just don’t want to make anyone else feel awkward.” A mother may not mind being seen nursing her baby, but still mind the disapproving looks she gets for doing so. The majority of restaurants, shopping malls, and airports do not offer an area that is comfortable, clean, private, and otherwise appropriate for breastfeeding. Many women feel that they are left with a choice between hygiene and privacy . (Public restrooms are very often not an option. )
If we as a culture truly believe in the benefits of breastfeeding for all babies, then we must show our support for nursing mothers. We should encourage them to feed their babies in the area where they are most comfortable, physically and emotionally. We certainly should never make them feel awkward or embarrased.
At Healing Hands, we offer a comfortable and private sitting area where we invite women to breastfeed. However, mothers are welcome to feed their babies wherever they prefer in our office. We believe that both mother and baby benefit immeasurably from the act of breastfeeding, and we are committed to encouraging this aspect of natural health and well-being.