Formula for infants was a great invention for moms unable to breastfeed. It became not so great when companies like Nestle began pushing it as more healthful than breast milk, and encouraged a whole generation of mothers to buy their product and deny their children the once in a lifetime benefits of breastmilk. Recently, there’s been a backlash against formula, with lots of people breastfeeding and subsequently lots of people judging those who don’t or can’t breastfeed. But now there is a backlash against the backlash, and people are hating on breast-feeding again.
Take the recent flap over Madison Young, a real life MILF who makes a living at it: being a pornstar. She has been seen breastfeeding her baby at a restaurant, while being interviewed, and in a photograph, prompting criticism from a colleague that she was harming her child. Why are people so offended? The baby has to eat too!
I have noticed a trend in my own neighborhood: breastfeeding women using elaborate cover-ups that look like slings to cover their breast while they breastfeed. Seems complicated. But though I was definitely one to pull out the boob whenever my baby squawked, I sometimes felt uncomfortable. Breast-feeding in public can be hazardous.
First of all, some men really do take the opportunity to stare. It seems so obvious not to, but I guess they can’t help themselves. I even noticed that some men seemed to be waiting for that moment, just so they could catch a peek.
Women will stare too, and sometimes even ask very personal questions. One of my friends, not a very proficient breast feeder but the owner of gigantic boobs, was approached by another woman in a restaurant, desperate for extra breastmilk. I think it’s strange that just because you’re feeding your baby, people think they can invade your privacy with intimate questions. Isn’t that what La Leche League is for?
And then finally there are the men and women who are offended by the sight of the boob. Boobs are great! Everyone loves boobs! I’ve heard the argument that children shouldn’t be exposed to breast-feeding – even if they were breast-fed!
Underneath it all, what really seems jarring to people is the concept of American motherhood combined with sexuality. While MILF is a relatively new term, and porn sub-category, the concept therein has yet to gain wide acceptance. In reality, people don’t want their images of mothers sexualized (exhibit A: the Virgin Mary), and breasts are inherently sexual. But as one writer points out, sex is how we get babies in the first place.