Friday, June 17, 2005

The Right To Bare Breasts

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I am a WOMAN! And I'm a MOTHER! And although they are enjoyed by men around the world, boobs were intended for FEEDING BABIES!

God did not create women with boobs merely for male fantasies and public outcry over costume malfunctions- they really do have a purpose. Breast-feeding your baby is one of the most natural things a woman will EVER do. I'll admit... seeing a woman breast-feed in public is a little shocking at first, but then you realize that she's not flaunting her sexuality- she's simply being a Mother.

I breast-feed both of my boys, and I'm glad I did (even though Thomas got his first tooth at 10 weeks and had a hell of a bite- I have the scars to prove it). I knew exactly what they were getting to eat and where it came from until both were about 6-9 months old. I could have gone longer, but they were both eating baby food and took bottles just fine by then (and Kevin refused to go back to the breast after I finally got him to take a bottle).

I wasn't one of those "whip it out" Moms. I was discreet. I usually fed them in dressing rooms, or back corners of restaurants, and even in bathrooms (really gross, let me tell you). And I always, without fail, covered us up with a baby blanket. Why? It was my personal comfort level with breast-feeding in public. I knew that I was simply feeding my baby- not flaunting titties around in public, and I didn't want people staring at me while performing this natural act. It's not indecent- it's simply food for my child. GET OVER IT ALREADY!

On Tuesday Ohio Governor Bob Taft signed a bill that allows public breast-feeding. The law will go into effect in 90 days. It's ironic, because just a year ago Ohio courts sided against a local mother who wanted to breast-feed her baby in Wal-Mart. She was told to either use the bathroom or leave immediately. She sued. She lost. Since then, however, Wal-Mart has had a change of heart, and has a national policy allowing the breast-feeding of infants in their stores. A woman in Nebraska was breast-feeding her baby at a concert in January, and was asked to cover up- while women throughout the crowd were FLASHING the band without any repercussions from the police. How fucked up is that? Hopefully her recent testimony in front of the Nebraska legislature will help make them the 36th state to pass a law protecting the right to bare breasts for our babies.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends vaccinations... so we get our children vaccinated. They also recommend breast feeding. So let me get this straight... it's ok to follow your doctor's orders regarding vaccinations against illnesses, but it might be illegal to follow their suggestion on how and what to feed your baby? Makes perfect sense to me. 35 states have now joined the AAP and have passed laws allowing public breast-feeding of infants. Thank GOD Ohio is now one of them. It is medically proven that babies who are breast-fed for at least six months have fewer health problems, including ear infections, diarrhea, food allergies and urinary tract infections. The antibodies the mother has built up over her lifetime are transferred to the baby through the breast milk, making them less susceptible to any bacterial infection. There are many health advantages for the mother as well, including reduced blood loss after delivery, reduced risk of developing breast cancer, and increased bone mass. Not to mention the financial burden of formula, which can cost hundreds of dollars per month.

Now please don't take this the wrong way- not all mothers are able to breastfeed for many reasons. However, for those of you who have that option, I would highly recommend it. It's sad that we have to press our legislature for the right to feed our children in public, but thank GOD this right is finally being protected across the majority of the United States.


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