I was chatting with the FANTASTIC Elizabeth Esther on Twitter yesterday about breastfeeding and stigmas about it.
I’m SO sick of people acting like breastfeeding is abnormal and “ew.”
@elizabethesther I was abused as a child and breastfeeding still holds a stigma for me somehow. I wish I was more comfortable seeing it.
@elizabethesther It is sad how we’ve been raised to see something natural as unnatural. It is sad how abuse of sex has warped it too.
@abourland Yes! And oh, I’m SO sorry something wonderful is so hard for you! ((hugs))
That was a great conversation and I’m glad I jumped in. It’s nice to have someone who is open to hear reasons why some women who are moms may struggle with the function of breasts in the context of motherhood. I do think breastfeeding is natural and that women who breastfeed should be free to do so when and where they need to so their precious child can be naturally fed.
Today I went to Elizabeth’s blog as she shed some context on her tweets yesterday and why she began the conversation with some other tweeters. It turns out someone was calling a children’s toy doll that mimics breastfeeding “ew”. Well I won’t call it “ew” – again, we were born to eventually (key word EVENTUALLY) birth children and breastfeed them. If you want this doll you should feel 100% comfortable getting it. But I wanted to share my thoughts on why I would never get the doll for my daughter.
I can appreciate the stance presented by Elizabeth and the other moms that it’s natural, etc because IT IS natural for a mother to breastfeed her children – totally 100%. And I agree, if there are dolls with bottles, why not breastfeeding? I get that.
However, I cannot change society. I feel I have no choice but to deal with how society is. And the truth is there are sick people out who will see my daughter lifting her shirt to hold that dolly to her chest and try to do or say something inappropriate. I wish I could change that in my lifetime. I’m sorry, but child molesters are all around us – I worked with one for years and didn’t know until he was arrested on his 2nd offense. Whether we like it or not, people are out there who get off on this stuff, and our little girls should be keeping their shirts down for now, thank you. It’s not about making breastfeeding unnatural at all.
I should say that the breastfeeding doll is not my “target” because I don’t really agree with any of the overly “realistic” dolls out there. I don’t mind my daughter having a baby doll to hold and play with (Scarlet calls her doll her “little sister”), but having all the stuff to pretend she’s a mommy – I think it rushes everything and makes it too much like a fun fantasy. Well what happens when she’s old enough to make that fun fantasy a reality? Enter the show 16 and Pregnant.
Everything in our life has a time… when it’s time for my daughter to be a mommy, she will do mommy things. Nurturing does not have to be taught or forced; she will learn by example and I will teach her, and answer all her questions. Just like I do not want to rush her into wearing makeup, having sex, or anything not age appropriate, I won’t rush her into acting like a mommy in all these ultra realistic ways.
Why are we rushing our daughters? Encourage nurturing behavior, sure. My daughter is very nurturing at 3 but she doesn’t need to pretend to breastfeed. Disagree with me? Fine, but let’s rewind to pre-baby and breastfeeding – would you buy your daughter a toy set called “Mommy to Be” that allows your daughter to strap on a “baby bump” and wear maternity clothes so she can pretend to be pregnant? Not me. Why encourage all this behavior with babies so early?!
See, first my daughter will have to go through puberty and recognize that she even HAS breasts (and I’d like to think she has a lot of time between now and then). That is part of a natural life stage. It isn’t until later that she will come to understand all the joy that is having her own children and nurturing them through breastfeeding, changing diapers and everything else.
So all the “Baby Alive” genre of toys and now this toy – forget it for me. I hope my daughter never gets something like that as a present – she’s 3 and she doesn’t need to learn to be a mommy in that kind of a hands-on sense at this age. No way.
I want to clarify since the Internet can be a snarky place that I think Elizabeth ROCKS and this post is in now way aimed at her. In fact, what Elizabeth did is make me THINK. And she reminded me to think twice before I have an internal reaction to seeing a mom breastfeed. That mom is doing something natural – it’s not about my past abuse, I need to move on. She presented STELLAR information on her blog (and kicks ass on everything she puts out there) and I agree with her points. I just have these reservations about these types of toys in general and this doll just brought it all to the surface. Please subscribe to Elizabeth’s blog while you’re over there!