I just got an alert to a Huffington Post article that compares sex to breastfeeding.
I can see where it could be funny… but for me, a breastfeeding mother of a toddler who has been given the side eye, asked to feed my baby something else “besides boobs”, and told that I’d probably more comfortable in the bathroom, it missed the mark of funny and crossed into the realm of not being helpful at all.
It’s true, there is a movement of sorts going on. There are mothers who are being covered by strangers, touted as heros or whores for breastfeeding, attention grubbing women who just want to show off their boobs.
Honestly, in college, no one complained when I showed them off, but now that they’re more covered than ever, everyone and their mothers have something to say.
The comparison to sex, which is (or hopefully is) an act of love between two consenting people concerning sex organs, has nothing to do with breastfeeding. First, breasts are not sex organs. They are not even, by nature, sexual. Their purpose is to feed babies.
Let me address some of the other issues I have with this article.
I’m not speaking for everyone, but for both of my hospital births, the first time I attempted to breastfeed, it was not dark and I was not fumbling blindly. The room was pretty bright, in fact, and my partner was my newborn child to whom I had nothing to prove and everything to fear. In these moments, I was wearing less clothes than usual, yes… but my children were both more covered than they’d ever been. For the first time in their lives, they were covered at all. In my womb and upon entry, babies are naked. At birth, they are diapered, swaddled, given hats and some mittens… and then we are to somehow bring them to our breast in a whole new environment.
Breastfeeding can be awkward at first, sure. Trying to find the right position to get the correct latch, but I’m not quite sure how that compares to sex… at all. There are no parts to fit into slot A or B. That comparison is just crude. My first time breastfeeding was strange, sure, not even remotely close to the strange of taking my pants off with another person, however. Not even on the same plane of emotions. My first time running a half marathon was strange, too- I wasn’t sure I was wearing the right shoes or had eaten the right breakfast. A bikini wax, a massage… also both personal, intimate moments lacking clothes… not sexual in nature. And those activities are certainly not breastfeeding- or anything like it. Awkward, sure. The first time I went to school- both awkward and terrifying. Where would my backpack go? What if I didn’t fit in? What if I answered a question wrong? What if I got hurt? Is the first day of awkward, sometimes emotionally painful, school also comparable to sex?
Let me answer for you: No.
Here’s another cool thing about the female body: we can produce milk without birthing a baby. There are multiple cases of lactation coming from pure emotion- mothers who have adopted or have a lactating partner. There are also medications that can bring about milk. And, did you know that you don’t have to have sex to have a baby? In these cases, we cannot say that these women have had sex, nor is it our business. I mean we can assume, but why does it matter?
And tired?There is no tired like parenthood. Click To Tweet
Nothing like it. But when your child needs to eat, the emotions and desire to feed are not similar to the I’m not sure I want to have sex tonight feelings. Not even close.
The article is crude, comparing sex positions to those in breastfeeding, leaking of vaginal secretions or semen to the milk from breasts, the shunning we’ve all gotten from a sexual partner post-coitus to that of not feeling an immediate bond with our breastfed baby.#Breastfeeding is not sexual in nature. Sex is. There is no comparison. Click To Tweet
This article is fuel to the fire that’s been burning up the internet; The argument that breastfeeding is somehow shameful or sexual in nature. This article is certainly thought provoking, but do we need more comparisons to sex and breastfeeding? Does the pro-hide-breastfeeding-moms-away movement need ammo that says sex = breastfeeding? I truly don’t believe so. So read it… and let me know. What do you think?