Is it me or is breastfeeding a hot-button issue right now? I feel like every time I turn around, there’s some outlandish story about the perfectly natural act of a mother providing nourishment for her child. For instance, about a week ago, I received the following email from my mom:
Have you seen this Oreo ad? Thought it might provide some fodder for a blog post. Just saw it on CNN.
I have to mention that my mother raised me to see breasts as an instrument for mothers to feed their children, not as part of an arsenal of sexual weapons. So it cracks me up when people get incensed over a bare breast or even a nipple in the context of breastfeeding, when so few people bat an eye if these same parts are exposed in a more sexual context. Personally, I think this Oreo ad is awesome, but the commentary surrounding it is just part of what I believe is a broader obsession with breastfeeding.
I scoured the Internet for news on breastfeeding to confirm my suspicion and came up with some fascinating results. Let’s consider the above advertisement Exhibit A (a.k.a. #1), followed by stories on celebrities, and then regular moms.
Celebrities Breastfeeding: The Good, the Bad, and the Judgmental
2. I feel I have to begin with the obligatory Salma-Hayek-breastfeeding-an-African-baby story. Then, just for good measure, there’s also a strange story about her being addicted to breastfeeding. Huh?
3. And of course, I would be remiss not to mention Gisele Bundchen’s famous proposal that there be a law requiring mothers to breastfeed for six months. Yeah, that was a big hit.
4. Just in case you weren’t feeling like your old self, here’s a saucy commentary on Beyonce’s statement that she “lost most of [her baby] weight from breastfeeding.” Apparently, the author feels she “could breastfeed the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Lord would not bless me with that pre-pregnancy body.” Love it!
5. Whoopi Goldberg offers a scathing criticism of New York City’s breastfeeding initiative that would encourage women to nurse by educating them in the hospital through visits by lactation consultants (among other things), who she refers to as “boneheads.” Just a little intense.
6. And finally, a photo gallery of celebrities who breastfeed in public or choose to be photographed doing so.
“Normal” Women Breastfeeding (Also, Apparently, Controversial)
7. Can you believe a Utah woman found the Division of Child and Family Services at her door because she had not taken her pediatrician’s advice to give up breastfeeding when her daughter wasn’t gaining weight fast enough, according to the doctor, even though she was supplementing with a “prescription calorie enhancer”?
8. Here’s a story about a Michigan mother who was scolded for breastfeeding her sick five-month-old, fully covered, in a courtroom. You’ll also find a photo/video gallery of women who have been kicked out of a variety of other places for nursing. Not cool!
9. What about the drunken woman who broke into a home to try to breastfeed a two-month-old? Do you think she has “baby” on the brain??
10. And last but certainly not least, an Islamic fatwa has resurfaced that advocates women breastfeed their male colleagues in order to “establish maternal relations” and ensure that a strict law forbidding mixing of the sexes not be broken:
“The man should take the milk, but not directly from the breast of the woman. He should drink it and then becomes a relative of the family, a fact that allows him to come in contact with the women without breaking Islam’s rules about mixing.”
At least the men don’t have to drink directly from the breast. How awkward.
What do you think? Is there something to my suspicion that breastfeeding is a touchy topic right now?
P.S. Thanks, mom! XOXO