- breasts aren't inherently sexual; they're for feeding a baby
- nursing in public is actually fairly discreet most of the time; often you can't even tell the baby is nursing unless you look closely
Last month, TopHat related her experience with someone wanting to look over her shoulder to figure out how to nurse correctly:
A lady at church yesterday came up to me and apologized for watching me breastfeed...she was afraid that her watching made me uncomfortable. I don't even remember this, so that'll tell you how uncomfortable I was. :) She had been struggling with breastfeeding and was at the end of her ropes and going to switch to formula that day or the next. She wanted to see a good latch and watch someone who has done it. She did go to a lactation consultant the next day (or soon after that) and her baby is now 100% breastfed. Yay for her!It doesn't help that, with our overly sexualized culture, videos of women latching babies on--such as one that I posted on Youtube when Zari was a few weeks old--are removed for their supposed "pornography or sexually explicit content." This particular video showed a real-life attempt at getting a newborn to latch on: it included a demostration of a cross-cradle hold while my other hand supported my breast, little hands that kept waving around and poking in her mouth and getting in the way, and multiple attempts at getting her mouth to open and her hands out of the way before the magic opportunity presented itself. These are things you can't see or understand from reading a book. You need to see them in action.
I think this exemplifies a lot of the problems we have in our culture with breasts and breastfeeding. We just never see breastfeeding--we don't know what it looks like and we don't know how to do it. We really have to go out of our way to see it. I went to 5 months of LLL meetings while pregnant to learn what a good latch is--and I'll even admit to trying to see a latch over someone's shoulder. I remember even contemplating, "Should I just ask her if I can watch her latch the baby on?" about a woman in our playgroup.
Jack Newman, a leading expert in breastfeeding, is fond of saying "Babies learn to breastfeed by breastfeeding. Mothers learn to breastfeed by breastfeeding." I suggest that we add: "Mothers learn to breastfeed by watching other mothers breastfeeding."