Yep. I have waited a decent amount of time for the rage to settle so I can write this and sound open minded and accepting of all opinions etc, but it is time to talk about Olivia Wilde and breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is highly encouraged during pregnancy, you are bombarded with images of mothers in clean clothes feeding their sweet new cherubs, you are told that breast is best and in turn this equates to formula = failure. There are never images showing a first time mum with blocked milk ducts and a topknot, unless you’re reading a mastitis leaflet!
Is this the ugly reality of breastfeeding? No, not always. I did not enjoy breastfeeding, it was painful, my baby was a relentless feeder and it all went on for far too long because I was told it was best for the baby etc. However I have pals who loved breastfeeding, could do it without creating a milk stain and make me a tea at the same time, but breastfeed in public…no way! I understood/understand…I was the same. I had no breast finesse and could not feed without exposing my belly button, but it wasn’t just that – it was the looks, the judging stares and disgust on surrounding faces. This made me exclusively breastfeed at home, which was tricky with a bambino who fed every 2-3 hours. It meant for the first year of Max’s life, we were mainly at home, which was incredibly isolating and not healthy.
Actress Olivia Wilde was recently photographed for a glossy magazine and in one of the shots she is breastfeeding her 5 month old baby. The backlash has been incredibly sickening with comments like “indecent” and “its not natural”. Apparently everyone wants mothers to breastfeed, but to go and sit on a public toilet and shut ourselves in a cubicle to do so. The other side of the backlash was that Wilde’s photograph paints an unfair image of a first time mother and that it is a ‘slap in the face’ to those with topknots and milk stains.
Am I the only one or does this read like no one is winning? You cannot please everyone, but I cannot believe that these comments and insults are a reality and or relevant in 2014. It saddens me to think that anyone who is struggling with breastfeeding in the privacy of their own home has to also struggle in public. We are encouraged to breastfeed, but to do so in the shadows like we are strange monsters from a Buffy episode. This makes no sense to me. Can’t we all just get along?
To all the breastfeeding mamas – you will never see that judging stranger again and you’re amazing so get your tits out!