On April 13, 2017, singer Pink shared a breastfeeding photo from a hike with her son, Jameson.
I couldn't agree more.
Here is my open letter to thank Pink for freeing the feed:
Dear Mama Pink,
I thank you sincerely for lifting the covers. One year, eight months and 20 days makes for a total of 529 days, at an average of five hours a day, equaling 2,645 hours -- or 158,700 minutes. That's a whole lot of "mimi, please!" from my daughter. (My Ella can't say milk and thus says "mimi" and signs "milk" and "please." And, yes, I still nurse.)
That's an incredible 9,522,000 seconds I could have spent hiding in a fluorescent-lit nursing room, under an uncomfortable boob tent contraption or simply away from conversations and fun that I should be engaged in.
Instead, I chose to enjoy this most nurturing of times with my darling girl out in the wild. Boob and nipple exposed. Watching her little lips suckle my white nectar, batting her eyelashes up at me while making the most satisfied smacking noises reserved for Michelin-starred feasts as she twirls my other nipple between her dimpled little fingers to cream the milk and perhaps to make that first sip taste frothier and sweeter once she switches breasts.
Why do I have to coy away from the public eye to nourish my little human just because it makes THEM uncomfortable?
We've done it while prepping family meals, flying above the clouds to sooth her earache, in a bath tub to recover after a long sleepless night, in cafes, at bus stops, in a NICU bed, in the ocean, on fairies and certainly in more than one fancy restaurant.
If whales can do it under water and bats do it upside down, why do I have to coy away from the public eye to nourish my little human just because it makes THEM uncomfortable? Why, in 2017, do THEY still exist?
There was that one time, when the lady pushed from the back of the bus to throw her shawl over my breast, because she must have sincerely believed I wasn't aware of my exposure. Or that time the appalled mother killed me with her gaze and threw her hands over her son's eyes after disembarking Disney's Alaska cruise.
How can our public nursing offend most humans more than the content of the Grand Theft Auto video game series? Isn't nursing mothers' societal exclusion the true theft committed, and the one that needs addressing? Why do we live in a world so far removed from the evolutionary purpose of breasts that we have alienated our own gorgeously nurturing body parts in a way that makes many of us uncomfortable (or even embarrassed) to publicly nurse our children?
Breastfeeding is the most personal of choices and I hear and read too much judgment around it -- doing it or not doing it, doing it for too short or doing it too long, doing it in public or doing it in private. Can't we just all do it the way we choose to do it, without someone's unsolicited opinion? Some of us can't do it. Some of us won't do it. Some of us can't stop doing it. Kangaroos do it in pouches, mice do it in groups and polar bears do it on floating ice (hopefully for long into our children's and grandchildren's future).
Thank you, darling Pink, for sharing your beautiful picture nursing young Jameson. It's everything that's right with the world.
Guess what? In the end it's one of the most personal choices you'll make with your baby. It is NONE of my, yours, theirs or your own mama's business how you like to do it. So let's dish a little more understanding, a lot less opinion and a whole lot more respect. We've all got this and we all give it our best shot. Your preference on doing it is yours and yours ALONE. We need to free the feed and nix the stigma.
Thank you, darling Pink, for sharing your beautiful picture nursing young Jameson. It's everything that's right with the world and I hope that more women will feel comfortable in following your lead to enjoy their feeds in the bright light of nature and out of the spider-webbed darkness of the broom closet.
Linnie von Sky
Nursing mama to Ella Elise and children's book author of The Birds and The Bees Don't Do It -- A Milky Tale
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