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What an eventful day. Today a photo from the TIME Magazine surfaced for all the world to see. The photo was of a woman proudly standing while breastfeeding her 3 year old son, who was standing on a stool to reach her breast. The headline read, “Are you mom enough?” You would have thought that photo was of something more provocative than anything you could think up. The uproar it caused was unreal. Of course, TIME got what they wanted, lots of attention. And I will admit, a ton of it was from me. I heard attack, after attack, and I had to write down ALL of my cooped up thoughts before they grew, festered and got me into trouble.

I am proud to be a breastfeeding momma, who is also a Certified Lactation Educator. I will stand for all to see and boast the benefits of breastfeeding. I will offer support, encouragement, teach about the topic, and just basically be apparently what is called “obsessed”. All that trickled out of me today. All. Of. It.

I’ve heard so many different remarks today regarding this. I’ve heard people that were disturbed about the child’s age. I used to be one to say that after a year, it was just way too old to be doing something like that. But now I view it so differently. It is the MOTHER’s business how long she decides to breastfeed. It is so much more than nutrition. It is about your child being made to feel secure, warm, and comforted. I came to the conclusion, that in this specific area of the topic, there is nothing you can say to someone to convince them of this. We all want to be accepted, normal. And normal isn’t necessarily feeding your child by the breast well into the toddler years as it is in so many other places. We are basically the ONLY country who doesn’t automatically feed our child breast milk until at least the age of 2. Yep, the only one. So because we aren’t accustomed to seeing that every day, we cast judgment and say it’s weird or they’re too old or call it sick. Hmmm, maybe we are missing the mark?

I heard someone say that it’s fine as long as we breastfeed discretely and cover up. Well once again I used to agree with them there. That is until I heard about poor women who couldn’t even do that without being asked to leave public places, get weird looks, or just basically be talked to like they were disgusting. So let me get this straight, we can put bare breasts in movies and expose one by “accident” with a pastie over the nipple and call that ok. We can adorn them with lace and place them on a Victoria Secret’s billboard. We can show our extreme cleavage with basically everything showing. And we can get beads for flashing them but if one is just a little exposed doing what GOD CREATED them to do, it should be covered with a large piece of fabric so no one will know what’s going on? Yea, I’d say we were missing the mark. I’ll let you know that I think I should have respect for my husband and keep that same level of respect for other men around me but come on, if they weren’t viewed to be so sexually than most of this wouldn’t even be a problem. Like I said before, they were food long before they were play things…right?

I also heard, and this is my ultimate favorite, that we should not disgrace the womanly race and go into a bathroom or to a car or something and not do it in front of anyone. I will admit, I had to seriously bite my tongue at his one. Oh buddy, you need to know that I will NEVER, EVER, EVER feed my child in a bathroom. How bout you eat your dinner in a bathroom. We’ll leave it at that.

It boils down to this. I am not a fan of “how” TIME went about the approach of the topic. I wish that breastfeeding could be promoted without a woman feeling or looking cheap, “natzi-ish”, weird, etc. I feel as though TIME, knowing that they’d get a lot of attention, would have sought after that attention with the importance of breastfeeding in mind, rather than wanting the drama. Breastfeeding is an EXTREMELY important topic. It is something that we desperately need to raise awareness of. It is a topic that could potentially save millions of lives in many ways. Statistics prove that breastfeeding lowers the risk of diabetes, heart disease, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer in women, and does the same plus lowers obesity, the risk for certain childhood cancers, along with so many other things for babies. I am worried people for and not-so-for breastfeeding are definitely missing the mark. To me the photo isn’t about who she is, how old the kid is, what she is wearing, or her history. To me when I see it it is about breastfeeding. It is about a human’s natural instinct to provide for their young. An instinct that is instilled from birth. You can’t get around it, there is no denying that breastfeeding is the absolute best. Education is key to mommas everywhere, awareness and encouragement are essential for women to accomplish this phenomenal journey. Let’s not belittle it and let’s not pretend that it’s not an extremely important topic. And in the words of my cousin, let’s not act this is new, like we invented it or made it up. Let’s realize that it’s a natural occurrence to continue life. Breastfeeding is at an all time high. But it’s not high enough because when we see that type of thing we are still missing the mark. We are worried of what others are thinking, busy judging, and simply being ignorant.

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