Katie Feavel

WHY IS THERE A BOOB ON MY SCREEN? June 26, 2014 01:04

You may have seen this or similar images floating around your Facebook news feed...Private Dining 

It's a part of the "When Nurture Calls" campaign put together by art students at the University of North Texas, meant to bring awareness to issues surrounding breastfeeding in public (Velez, 2014).

Actually, there's a nice little social trend towards "normalizing" breastfeeding that's been gaining recent momentum... and I'm a fan.... partially because it seems to have remained separate from the awful mommy-bashing going on in the formula-breast debate.

It's about removing judgement rather than adding it on. It's simply a push to make breastfeeding normal again... To take something that has become a source of contention (breastfeeding in public) and make it a non-issue, in hopes that more women will be able to successfully breastfeed their infants if that's what they choose to do.

The uproar over breastfeeding in public hasn't been around for long. Check out these awesome 25 Historical Images that Normalize Breastfeeding.

Even the "as long as you cover up" mentality is relatively new. I won't get started on nursing covers today, but I'll ask you this... would you want to eat with a blanket over your head? Doubt it. If a cover makes mama and baby more comfortable, then awesome! If not? Feeding your child should not have to be an under-cover operation.

Anyways... similar to its relative newness, the contention surrounding breastfeeding in public is also an overwhelmingly American issue. According to the Office of Women's Health (2013):Troloca, Breastfeeding in PublicActually, one study found that rates of breastfeeding in immigrant groups decreased with each subsequent generation in the United States, as social pressures became more ingrained in those generations (Office of the Surgeon General, 2011). Our society treats breasts as sex objects, rather than a source for sustenance, bonding and optimal nutrition. It's unfortunate, really, because this can create social barriers to successful breastfeeding. In fact, a 2011 study conducted by the Office of the Surgeon General found that less than half of women felt it was appropriate to breastfeed in public. The study also found that a perceived inconvenience to the mother, as well as embarrassment due to social norms can pose a barrier to successful breastfeeding.

Even though a variety of evidence indicates that breastfeeding reduces many different health risks for mothers and children, numerous barriers to breastfeeding remain—and action is needed to overcome these barriers. - Office of the Surgeon General

So here's my first little contribution to normalize breastfeeding... actually the pictures I have of Sam nursing are some of my favorites... He's always so calm, peaceful, content... secure.Samuel nursingI'm one of the lucky ones. I have a husband, family and friends who are all supportive of me feeding Sam whenever and wherever he needs. I had some good role models for breastfeeding well before I had my own child. Few women, however, have such support.

So, when it comes to taking action to overcome some of the barriers to successful breastfeeding... When we're talking about "normalizing" a means of feeding our children... I'm officially on the bandwagon... I'm an advocate... I'm a fan. 

That's why there's a boob on your screen. 

References: Barriers to Breastfeeding in the United States (2011). Office of the Surgeon General (US); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US); Office on Women's Health (US). The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding. Rockville (MD): Office of the Surgeon General (US). Office on Women's Health (2013). BreastfeedingDepartment of Health and Human Services. Trocola, M. G. (2005). Breastfeeding in PublicNew Beginnings, 22(6), 238-243. Velez, M. (2014). What you're really saying when you tell moms not to breastfeed in publicThe Huffington Post.