Breasts on Sale Above Breasts on Tap

Picture the scene...two enormous breasts, almost-contained within pink underwear whilst a pair of faceless hands struggle to prevent a nipple from peeking through...A group of three 30-something women, whispering and sneering as they the mother and toddler beneath the billboard.

Yes, my little bean had happily pointed to the bench below the 10-foot lingerie advert and eagerly said "mik, mik mama!"  She had seen the lady in the picture and could think of nothing else.  You see, in her eyes, boobs equal one thing and one thing only: milk.  So there we sat and I breastfed my toddler, softly and quietly in our own peaceful bubble; until the sly murmurs and disgusted glances caught my attention.

I wasn't actually going to mention it; I was honestly going to let it go.  But then my friend called.  My wonderful friend, upset and angry, phoned to say that her daughter's nursery had taken her aside to ask that she no longer breastfeeds her little girl each day when she collects her.  She called to let me know that the other children had started asking questions of their parents when they got home and that the parents weren't comfortable.  

All this got me thinking; so what, exactly?  So what if the lady in the picture pays her mortgage by flashing a bit of flesh?  So what if that bit of flesh happens to be between her chin and her navel?  So what if a mother gives her child a drink of milk?  So what if that drink of milk happens to be delivered by a sippy cup, a beaker, a mug or a breast?  So what if one or two anonymous adults can't seem to put the words together to explain to their children that humans are mammals too, just like the cute baby giraffe at the zoo, and that mammals are DEFINED by drinking their "mama mik"...but I'll stop there.  Because within all of these 'so whats', nestled against a two-finger salute and alongside simple indifference, there is actually a big, capital-lettered 'What'...

What if these inquisitive children were answered truthfully?   What if their questions were met with an unbiased, guilt-free, account of the benefits of breastfeeding?  Would it, could it, shape their landscape and go some way in softening the edges of the all-encompassing doctrine of formula feeding?  Because drip by drip, the formula companies, our governments and the 'Powers That Be' have ensured that a mother feeding her child modified cow's milk using a bottle is safer than a mother feeding her child her own milk using her breasts.  Of course, neither should be banned from feeding their little one, neither should be verbally abused or how exactly is it accepted that a breastfeeding mother is subject to such challenge?  Oh yes, that's right, it's because formula has become the norm and simultaneously, breasts have become nothing more than sexualised sales tools.

Imagine if every toddler had the chance, the opportunity, to just see a mother and child breastfeeding.  Imagine if it wasn't banned from daycare, if it wasn't scorned in public.  Imagine if it was so normal and accepted that those who had already weaned, or those who hadn't ever tasted the good stuff, were given the REAL answer when they asked their parents about the scene before their learning-eyes.  Because children are sponges, they are innocent canvases to paint....wouldn't it be nice to shape their landscapes with our biological norm?  Or, as a first step at least, to metaphorically dilute the all-empowered formula bottle with a few drops of breast milk...

Because this is our norm.  Our norm is the breast.  Our norm is the nipple.  Our norm is milk at the right temperature, with the right antibodies, at any time of the day and night.  Our norm is simply that; the norm.  You see, some may take a bottle, but my girl likes hers on draught.

Like what you read?  If you'd like to receive new posts from Mama Bean Parenting straight to your inbox, just click here

You can also find Mama Bean on Twitter and Facebook