Pissed Off Mother Alert. If you visit this blog to learn about writing, blogging or marketing, move on to the next post – this is about none of those things and shouts a very strong opinion.
I just saw a horrible snippet from The View where Whoopi, of all people, and Joy Behar were talking about how ‘disgusting’ it is that women are ‘cross nursing’. Cross nursing means that you nurse someone else’s baby and vice versa. Oddly enough, Elisabeth Hasselback was okay with it.
Grow up, ladies. Or maybe ‘go back’ is more appropos. Women used to raise their children in communities – the women supported each other and worked together…I’ve no doubt in my mind that this didn’t include cross nursing.
Breast milk is the absolute best thing in the world for babies. It provides antibodies, builds their immune system, has the perfect ratio of protein, carbs, fat, is full of essential, developmental vitamins and minerals and delivers enzymes and good bacteria that builds the intestinal flora – all in a perfectly, literally, digestible fluid. The act of breastfeeding promotes bonding, social and emotional development, helps develop clear communication, reduces crying and aids sleep. Being close to another loving body actually teaches the baby’s system how to breathe and survive. I could go on for days.
In today’s world, women are literally forced to choose between being mothers and having a life outside the home; being with their children and having financial and social independence. If a woman has a community of women that she feels safe with, and can ask them to nurse their child while she is at work or simply taking a walk by herself – this is a godsend; if you’ve raised children, you know the value of this sharing. If my child is inconsolable or hurt and my friend’s breast will soothe her, what a lifesaver. What about the mother who can not physically nurse, but understands the importance of breast milk for her baby? What about the orphaned infant or the infant rescued from a dangerous situation now in the arms of a foster family?
When my daughter was born early at 2lbs., she couldn’t nurse immediately because her intake had to be monitored, so I pumped and froze gallons of milk until I could nurse her completely. I figured we would use it someday, but we didn’t. We heard, through a friend, about a baby living in our town with foster parents – she had been taken from her crack-addicted mother. And we gave her my milk – something I was so thrilled to be able to do. There are milk banks springing up around the world to help these types of situations.
Women are most often mistreated in the name of mysoginy, sexism…and beyond. Our ability to produce milk that sustains and builds life is a super power. A SUPER POWER. The sisterhood is strong and sharing our milk is a positive way that we build this women’s world of solidarity and support. Do you really not see that women were virtually separated from each other when we started living in separate homes while our husbands went off to work? And, that we need to work hard to band together?
Whoopi and Joy – you should know better. Don’t bow down to the rant that breast feeding is gross or sexual. Don’t jump to that place where cross nursing is ‘disgusting’. This is a woman thing, and a gift to us, don’t paint it any other way.
Update: Please cross nurse responsibly. Make sure that the health status, diet, body care products and moral code of the person who generously nurses your baby for you, if the situation calls for it, is to your liking. And know that the birth mother’s milk is the absolute best choice for the baby – it was created specifically to support that baby by the body that made that baby.