Dear Anti-Lactivist: You’re the Ignorant One

I don’t know this woman, but a link to her public Facebook post was emailed to me by a friend over the weekend. Here it is:

Anti Lactivist Letter

My response to this:

Yes, you are wrong to include human milk in the same category as human feces.

You’ve just insulted me repeatedly. I am one of these pro-public breastfeeding women you’re raving about. According to you I’m rude, ignorant, immature, and lacking in all dignity. But you don’t even know me. I repeat: you’ve passed judgment on me, and you don’t even know me.

I’m actually really nice. I’m passionate and empathetic. I’ve had complete strangers write to me and tell me my honesty helped them through difficult times. I’m also smart. I’m so smart that I know it’s spelled “deuce” not “duce.” On that note, I’m also very witty. ☺

I’m a GREAT mother. I’m a devoted wife. I’m a loyal friend. I’ve been told I am wise beyond my years. I also like to think I have dignity and class. All of these traits I possess…. Yet I also breastfeed in public. {GASP!}

The irony of your rant is that it only shows you are, in fact, the ignorant one. Every single line in your above post comes from a lack of maturity and life experience.

You have no children yourself yet you have passed judgment on a woman’s situation that you could not even begin to understand. Why?

Because breastfeeding makes you uncomfortable. Not breasts, but the act of breastfeeding itself. I know this because of the cleavage-bearing, bikini-wearing photos you share with the world on your public Facebook page.

So your breasts can be exposed in public, your breasts are worthy of cell phone pictures, your breasts can be all over Facebook…. But mine can’t be because they are being used to feed a baby?

Really, think of the hypocrisy of it.

Anti Lactivist Woman

Sorry I have offended you by exposing my breasts in public! I can see why it bothers a modest woman like yourself.

On the extreme end of the pro-breastfeeding movement are lactivists. Lactation + Activist = Lactivist. Get it? I believe it is this group of women you hate the most. They are the ones working most passionately to bring attention to our screwed-up society’s view of breastfeeding. Which is this: “Breast is best! We just don’t want to see it.”

I’ll be honest with you. I only breastfed my first son for six weeks. I was so uncomfortable breastfeeding in public I felt confined to my house. Yes, I tried to use a cover. It’s hard to get a good latch when your main concern becomes keeping your squirming, frustrated baby from kicking off the cover and exposing you. Depression due to the isolation I felt as a confined breastfeeder set in very quickly. So I stopped. What a weight off my shoulders that was! Then the next wave of judgment came: formula-feeding. If anyone reading this thinks public breastfeeders have it bad, try publicly formula-feeding your baby. We just can’t win.

Well we can. If we stay home and quietly and discreetly breastfeed our babies.

My next son I breastfed for five months. I was still uncomfortable with public breastfeeding. I also had an energetic two-year-old that needed to get out of the house. So I pumped and took bottles with me everywhere we went. It was exhausting work and I ended up feeling like a dairy cow attached to my pump every spare moment I had. Again, depression set in. So I stopped. And I went back to the judgmental formula-feeding world.

When I had my third son five months ago I had the most overwhelming desire to breastfeed him. I pushed through those first few difficult weeks and suddenly I felt this connection with him I always dreamed of having with my other children. It changed me. I was so happy about this, my fear of public breastfeeding eased. I became brave enough to venture out in public with a nursing cover. It was as awkward as it was with my first son. He didn’t like being under there. It was dark, hot and stuffy. He would kick and thrash and expose my breast anyways.

I’m a few years older now and a much more confident person. My “ah-ha” moment came sitting on a restaurant patio one day with my husband. I was trying to feed my son under the nursing cover. He was having trouble latching and started thrashing about. His cry started to pick up steam and I knew that if he didn’t latch in the next five seconds it was going to be an all out bawl-fest. So what did I do? I threw off the nursing cover, latched my child to my breast, and fed him. And guess what happened? Nothing. Nobody seemed to care. I think people are more likely to be offended by my screaming, hungry baby squirming under a nursing cover than my happy, quiet baby nursing from his uncovered mother.

I don’t think I’ve ever put that nursing cover back on. Bit by bit I became more comfortable nursing openly. This has given me a sense of freedom that I cannot describe. And yes, it helps with the bond I have to my baby because I am a happier more whole mother when I feel free to leave my house and feed him where I please. I still pump occasionally but only if I need my husband to take over the feeding duty so I can have some time to myself.

Breast is best they say. And the whole world can see me doing it for all I care.

The support has been unbelievable. Through my blog I’ve connected with so many like-minded women and the #normalizebreastfeeding movement is one I now feel passionate about. In five months I have not had one negative thing said to me about it… Until you.

The truth is you are uncomfortable with breastfeeding because you’re not accustomed to seeing breasts used in a functional way. You’re accustomed to seeing them and using them for attracting sexual partners, selling products, power, superiority, etc. I actually feel sorry for you. You are a product of our screwed-up society’s values. I know where that attitude will get you when you become a mother for the first time. Breastfeeding can be very difficult, especially for those who cannot disassociate their breasts with sex and/or see it as an act that needs to be hidden away. The way you compared breastfeeding to going to the bathroom, masturbating, and having sex says it all. I’m afraid that, like me, you may find it very unnatural when you have to do it for the first time.

So that is why I do it (besides the fact that when my child is hungry I feed him). The big picture for me is that by normalizing the sight of breastfeeding I can help other women to connect with their children the way I have. And that includes you. My hope is that my sons will grow up in a different world than I did. A world that doesn’t consider public breastfeeding as undignified.

Did you know that it used to be scandalous for a woman to wear make-up? If a hundred years ago a woman looked as you do in your profile picture, people would accuse you of being a prostitute. Women way before your time marched, protested, refused to stand down, took EXTREME ACTIONS in order for you to have the rights you have today. To wear what you want. To receive the same pay as a man. To have access to birth control and other family planning tools. Lactivists are activists. Activism comes from oppression. They are working to make our world a better place like other women did before them. Some day, you may thank them. Certainaly your daughter or son will.

In my opinion, if you have a problem with public breastfeeding, then you have a problem with breastfeeding. Period.

It’s not my job to support those who feel uncomfortable with breastfeeding. It’s my job to feed my child. It should be society’s job to support me in that.

It’s just a breast.

Repeat after me: it’s just a breast.

All together now: IT’S JUST A BREAST!

Normalize Breastfeeding

 

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  1. Amanda says

    This is AMAZING. I think you’ve said exactly what many of us thought when reading her post! I will be coming back to your words when I begin to feel awkward breastfeeding our second in public as I did our first.

    I want my children to grow up knowing what breasts are really made for – nourishing our babies.

    Thank you!

  2. Nicole says

    Great response! Revenge at its finest… An articulate, well written rebutal. I feel sorry for this women’s children if she ever has any…. Doubtful as she would have to birth in a closet to hide the sheer unaturalness of it all!

  3. says

    When I had my first child I had no idea just how EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS my body was about to become. Who knew it was so scandalous to feed your child in public? Whether breast or bottle…people are judging you constantly. And then this silly bitch posts this rant when she has absolutely no idea what she’s talking about. That’s disgusting. She’s disgusting. And you, as always, are fabulous. ;) Thanks Jen,

  4. Marlo says

    Thank you for writing such an amazing response to her ignorance. One cannot speak of something they know nothing about. The day she becomes a mother she will look back at this post with shame and guilt and will hopefully realize her mistake. As a new mom who is passionate about breastfeeding my baby, I have struggled, felt awkward and shy in a public place because of our society. Women should be supporting women, not passing judgement. Today I think it’s one of the most beautiful acts of love we can do for our children and ourselves. Lastly, those darn coverups really are just a pain in the a**…ripping them off is really a feeling of freedom and liberation! So thanks for shedding support for us moms, we’ve got to stick together!!!

    • says

      Women should be supporting women…. Society should be supporting women! When a woman has a baby she should be cocooned in love and support not fear shame and judgement. Thanks for commenting Marlo! Love your passion!!

  5. PrimalMamma says

    Thank you for this. I only breastfed my first son for 3 weeks. I’m now breastfeeding my second. He is 2 1/2 years old. And I still breastfeed in public. I DARE someone to come & tell me to stop!

  6. Marianne Kane says

    I find it fascinating how people project their own insecurities onto others and are completely blind to their own hypocrisy. Actually, it’s quite funny how this woman ended up being the rude one. Thank you for exposing her (pardon the pun).

  7. Ashlee says

    I literally laughed out loud! This women… excuse me, girl is so beyond ignorant! To compare breastfeeding to squatting and defecating on the floor in public is truly sad…. I don’t care if feeding my beautiful daughter in public offends anyone…. Don’t look! Instead of being ridiculed people, they should be impressed. Breastfeeding is hard, it’s painful, it takes a lot of commitment, and it is incredibly selfless! So happy to see women who are standing up for what’s right! Please keep spreading your positive message… now I must go, my 7 month old is hungry… for the boob;)

  8. Mom of Mama Lion Strong says

    Hey Honey, I am proud to see you that you have grown into a fine, strong, independent woman that advocates for herself and on behalf of others….you are your mother’s daughter!

    You are a great daughter, wife and mother! Those boys are lucky to be growing up in home where their mom will teach them to be kind, caring and sensitive to the needs of other. And, Jon, isn’t it “fun” to have a strong, independent wife! Hugs and kisses to my grandbabies! Love you lots and lots!

  9. allie says

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I feel so strongly about it, and it’s so wonderful knowing other feel the same way. I breastfeed in public, and I get such mixed reactions from people. I’ve never understood why dressing inappropriately was okay, but breastfeeding was not. I am proud to be a breastfeeding mom!

  10. Amanda says

    I must admit before I had a child I was ridiculously uncomfortable seeing someone breastfeed their child (I don’t actually know why I felt this way), I used to think ‘why not just cover yourself up with a blanket, no one wants to see your big milky boobs hanging out all over the place’. Because of this since I had my child I’ve always had a problem getting him to attach in public and I put it down to the way I used to feel about it and I think if I used to feel this way surely there are so many other people who feel this way hence the reason it makes me nervous, I’m slowly getting better at not caring what others think. I feel really silly now for having the views on breastfeeding that I did before I had a child. It really is sad that simply feeding a child can cause so much controversy and discrimination.

    • says

      Yes it is sad Amanda. And hey, you’re doing well. It took me until my third child to become comfortable feeding in public. Today I nursed at a cafe and noticed two older women dining next to us acknowledging me with smiles. When we were getting ready to leave they said hello and had a look at my baby. I wonder if seeing me nurse took them back to nursing their own babies… I think some day I’ll feel quite nostalgic when I see a mother breastfeeding her baby. It truly is such a short but special time.

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