I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
January 24, 2011
A few days ago, I wrote a post on The Stir about some of the more ridiculous breastfeeding t-shirts I’ve seen on the market. From a woman’s t-shirt bearing the phrase “Nipple Lickin’ Good” to a ball cap for dads that says “I play with my baby’s food,” I questioned whether some of the pro-breastfeeding t-shirts out there, rather than raising breastfeeding awareness, simply made the men and women wearing them look like tacky, tacky fools.
Some readers agreed with me, some didn’t– which I expected.
But the real controversy came over the fact that I wrote these words:
“I considered breastfeeding to be a very private burden I shouldered for the sake of my children, and while I was honored to be able to do it, you can bet I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a t-shirt bragging about it.”
OMG SOMEONE CALL THE BREASTFEEDING POLICE. WE HAVE A TRAITOR IN OUR MIDST.
“I NEVER considered BFing ‘a private burden a shouldered for the sake of my children.’ Maybe you’re so against pro-BFing shirts because of your views on nursing…” sniped one reader.
“I agree with some of the other commenters who stated that you may have an issue with breastfeeding because of your “private burden” comment,” wrote another.
“I’m more concerned with your describing breastfeeding as ” very private burden I shouldered for the sake of my children”….wow sounds like you have breastfeeding issues that have absolutely nothing to do with a silly T-shirt,” added a third.
And this is what breastfeeding has become. Even if you yourself breastfed, if you’re not waxing rhapsodic at all times about the glorious wonderment of nursing your child, then you have ISSUES WITH BREASTFEEDING and/or (I’ve gotten this one in the past) YOU WERE DOING IT WRONG.
So I’m just going to say it here publicly because I believe I’m speaking for a group of women out there who’ve breastfed and been scared silent about the fact that it was not entirely a positive experience.
I hated breastfeeding.
I HATED it.
I tried to stay positive both times I did it, and yes, of course I had those rosy, treasured moments of bonding time with my children as a result of breastfeeding (although I don’t believe they were any more special than they would have been if I were tenderly giving my babies a bottle), but overall?
Breastfeeding was a burden. And while I’m totally okay with the fact that many of you out there loved/love breastfeeding and didn’t/don’t consider it to be a burden at all, I believe there’s something wrong with the fact that a mother is judged for admitting that it was a burden for her.
So in the interest of getting real, here’s why I hated it…
Despite all this, I’m pretty proud of myself for getting through it. Yes, it was a burden. It was an imposition. It wasn’t my thing. But I did it because I was able to do it. I did it because my pediatrician recommended it. I did it because I loved my children so much that it seemed entirely reasonable to endure something that (FOR ME) was at times painful, inconvenient, and embarrassing. (But I think bottle-fed babies are just fine, too, mind you. Heck, I’m one of them.)
I did it and I hated it.
And guess what? That is totally, completely okay.