So saith the Pope.
Actually, it makes me a little teary to think about it. I do not consider myself a “lactivist” or anything, and in my 20 months of breastfeeding, and meeting dozens of other breastfeeding moms, I have yet to meet the one who is just “whipping it all out for everyone to see”. We are just feeding our kids. Not trying to make a statement or piss you off or turn on your husbands. I can barely manage sex with my own, trust me, I don’t give a rat’s ass about yours.
So when the Pope says this today, I really appreciated it. And I’m not going to get political here. The Pope has said things I don’t appreciate sometimes, and I’m not trying to have the discussion about how he thinks and feels about whatever social issues. The point is, breastfeeding is the most normal thing to do in the world. Don’t you get hungry in church? So do babies. And there’s nothing wrong with stopping your baby from crying by a nice big boob full of milk.
Can you imagine back then – over 2,000 years ago, before formula and bottles, no less, Mary, mother of Jesus, being shamed and told to go find a bathroom to nurse the Christ child? Come off it. And I will tell you – I have heard the biggest arguments about breastfeeding in public from religious people, saying how it is indecent and exposure to have a baby on a breast without being covered up.
The Pope says, without fear. So all these folks who are telling moms to cover up need to knock it off. It’s biologically normal. It’s what breasts are for. Like feet, lips, butts, hair, legs, eyes, and other physical features, it is a side effect that they are found sexually arousing. For that matter, not only is hair sexy, but the color of hair matters for some guys. Hello, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
Someone like me who is 20 months in is not necessarily worried about breastfeeding without fear, where ever I am. But I can tell you that there are many like me who wouldn’t nurse in public for a long time. I hid in the back seat of our car for months. One day, I was out with a friend and my baby was hungry and crying then. Not only did I nurse her in public but did so in the baby carrier, which was a game changer of a different sort. But I lost my fear. It changed for us after that. I gained something.
I hope that the Pope’s comments resonate in mothers who are new at this. If you want to cover up, fine. If you want to find a quiet space away from others, believe me, I get it. Distracted babies suck. Or if you’re just shy, or whatever. Like, you don’t even need me to give you a reason! But let it NOT be because someone made you feel badly or inappropriate for nursing your baby where ever and whenever your baby needed it. Nurse your baby as the Virgin Mary nursed Jesus. Give your sweet milk to your baby whenever you need to.