It’s August, which means it's National Breastfeeding
Awareness Month! Woot! Breastfeeding! Party time!
Actually, National Breastfeeding Awareness Month is a
campaign funded by the US government to encourage women to breastfeed their
babies by highlighting the research showing that babies who are breastfed for at least six months are less
likely to develop ear infections, diarrhea and childhood obesity. But in honor
of National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, I’d like to encourage you to celebrate
a different way.
As the mother of two, I made two very different choices with each of my
children in regards to breastfeeding. I
breastfed my oldest exclusively and formula fed my youngest exclusively. Both
my kids are healthy and happy. In fact, my formula-fed baby gets ear infections
and colds far less often than her breastfed older brother. Go
I tell you this because the mere mention of the word
breastfeeding usually starts a heated debate between anyone within earshot, as
if motherhood is a breastfeeding boxing ring and we all need to take sides. We
don’t. We just need to make the right choice for ourselves and for our
families. Sometimes that means breastfeeding
our babies and sometimes it doesn’t.
I’d like to encourage you breastfeeders and future mommies to find your inner Jane Birkin and make nursing your baby feel glamorous.
One of the reasons I opted not to nurse my youngest was the
sheer isolation that I felt while breastfeeding my oldest. He was easy to
breastfeed, but I often felt isolated, even lonely. I didn’t enjoy sitting half
naked alone in my car, a restaurant or a friend’s house, trying to hide my
overflowing breasts and my still not flat tummy that had recently housed my son. To me, breastfeeding meant being alone. And doing
it again was something I chose not to do.
Recently, I came
across this gorgeous photo of British actress Jane Birkin, taken in Majorca in
1967. Now a director and actress, Birkin
is also the muse who inspired the famed Hermes Birkin bag that so many
fashionistas covet. But what’s notable
about the photo isn’t who is pictured, it’s what she’s doing. Jane Birkin is
breastfeeding her daughter Kate out in the open while wearing a bikini. Yes, a
I can tell you that for the 12 months I exclusively
breastfed my son, I never did it in a bikini. Usually, I was wearing some form
of sweats with one of those nursing tanks with the flip down nip cover, which
are made of material just slightly less comfortable than a scuba suit. I felt
chubby, my exposed chest and body a constant reminder that my post-baby tummy
looked more like a Charpe dog than my pre-pregnancy flat tummy. Breastfeeding
exposed my body, which I desperately wanted to hide.
So in honor of National Breastfeeding Month, I’d like to
encourage you breastfeeders and future mommies to find your inner Jane Birkin
and make nursing your baby feel glamorous. Put on a bikini, a pair of heals or even
your comfy sweats and nursing tank. Just don’t do what I did and hide yourself
while hating your body. You may not be a European actress sitting on the beaches
of Majorca while feeding your baby, but there’s no reason you can’t feel like
one. Every new mom should feel like a movie star, whether she breastfeeds her
baby or not.