Kelle Hampton enjoys the small things, unless the small thing is the word “breast.” She wrote that on her blog. I’m not making it up. Her need to buy a breast pump because she was away from her nursling led to what she termed an uncomfortable discussion about her cans and how much milk they do or don’t make.
I’m glad that she has nursed Nella for two years. Bravo! All children benefit from breastfeeding and I imagine it’s even more important for special needs children to get all the mommy goodness they can. I don’t get her sudden squeamishness, though. She has even shown pictures of herself nursing and made reference to it many times. So why the icky wiggles over a little titty?
In a most Victorian manner, Ms. Hampton finds the word “breast” oogie. Maybe she would prefer “white meat.” Whatever she chooses to call her dirty pillows, I wish she wouldn’t help perpetuate the idea that discussing breastfeeding is unseemly. Additionally, she admitted to pumping her girl spheres in a public bathroom. I would like us nursing mothers to collectively refuse to go anywhere near a toilet in order to pump or nurse. Toilets are for urinating, defecating, vomiting, and if you’re a Hollywood starlet, snorting coke.
Sunday I was at the Aquarium of the Pacific and I had to nurse. We were waiting out front for our friends with the discount passes, and I sat on a concrete bench next to a large group of differently-abled adults in wheelchairs. Using a technique I saw on a YouTube video, I tucked my daughter into a fold of my Moby Wrap, turned her sideways, whipped out a mammary tip, and fed my child.
Just a quick digression: I have decided that I am in favor of the Oxford Comma, so I will be using it henceforth.
It wasn’t so long ago that people like the ones in wheelchairs beside me were hidden away from public view because of shame and discomfort on the part of the general public. There is still strong sentiment from non-lactating people that chestglobes should be similarly hidden away, lest anyone be made uncomfortable.
Even some mothers who give suck to babes will disdain moms like me who feel perfectly entitled to pull out a boobie whenever my kid needs it, whether I’m at home, in a restaurant, in my car, at the park, at Disneyland, or waiting outside of the Aquarium of the Pacific. More modest women will say they cover up their gazongas in public. My response to that is, why should I? To make you more comfortable? Why are you uncomfortable? You’ll see more of Kim Kardashian’s sweater meat on the cover of US Weekly than you will of mine while I feed my baby. She won’t tolerate a blanket over her head, and who can blame her? And I will not go sit on a toilet or even near one so that strangers don’t have to feel uncomfortable.
I breastfed three month-old Viva in the restroom of the Museum of Modern Art here in L.A. because I didn’t want to embarrass my mother-in-law and her husband. Even Odie was a bit squeamish of stray areola in those early days. It was a terrible experience that involved most of my senses, and I vowed never to put us through it again.
I make an effort. I don’t seek to make anyone uncomfortable. All through my twenties people wanted a glimpse of my melons, and now that I have need to bare them, nobody’s interested. Still, I have some modesty. I don’t just flop out a knocker, shoot out a practice squirt, and smoosh a baby onto it. A person would have to try hard to get a glimpse of my nipple in the split second it’s bare to the world before Pringles covers it with her mouth then conceals it with her head. The problem is that people see me and know that’s what I’m doing, even though they don’t see my udder. It stirs up all of their institutionalized and cultural disgust for breastfeeding, despite the fact that they don’t actually see anything.
Why don’t I just pump milk and give Pringles a bottle in public? Why should I? Again with the comfort of strangers? Pumping is difficult. I only ever do it when I need relief from engorgement. Ms. Hampton was talking around this very thing when she wrote her post about her dislike of the word breast. She needed a breast pump because she was engorged. Her umlauts were uncomfortably full of milk that her body in all its wisdom was accustomed to feeding to her daughter. But, ew! The woman who isn’t allowed to cuss on her own blog because of her daddy gets “uncomfortable” writing about how much milk she produces for infrequent feeding of her toddler. Her level of “ew, ew, ew!” makes one think she were talking about vaginal discharge or anal seepage. Nursing is not an elimination function like pissing or crapping. It isn’t drainage like pus. Breast milk is not santorum.
Another reason it’s difficult for me to pump is that Viva insists on helping. And she sucks at it. Horrible, unintended pun and it stays.
Naturally, people who follow a blog are fans of the blog, so no one criticises KH about her dislike of “the word rhymes-with-detest.” Many of them agree and think it is hilarious that she cannot discuss what comes out of her nipples without blushing for shame. “Hey, I too despise my own body! High five!”
Without overtly criticising lactivists, she pokes fun at the women who work in the store where she bought her breast pump. According to her, when you tell baby boob sucker enthusiasts you are going to discard your pumped milk, they all reach for their smelling salts.
When are we just going to get over this already? They’re just boobs. In France, they’re featured in shampoo commercials. Here in America, we have restaurant chains named after them where you can get the best chicken wings (ironically, they do not make them out of breast meat). The waitresses will have those hooters popping out the top of their tank tops, but put a baby’s face on one and it’s offensive.
Let’s do it. Let’s stop being ashamed of the words that describe the bodies Dove soap ads tell us we’re supposed to be so proud of.
There is nothing wrong with making milk. Cows do it. Goats do it. I’m pretty sure even unicorns do it.
(I stand corrected. Unicorns bottle feed -fast forward to 3:48)