I breastfed Tai until he was two and a half. At first, I was shy about feeding my baby in public and tried to cover up, so as not to offend anyone. I quickly learned that Tai hated being under a shawl or blanket when he was eating-- he preferred to look up at me and touch my face, or look around at his surroundings-- and who would blame him??So I ditched the nursing covers and steadied myself for any criticism that might come my way. No one ever said anything rude to me or asked me to cover up, thankfully. They did, however, get very uncomfortable. As soon as I would get Tai in a position to nurse, all eyes turned the other way. Conversations stopped abrubtly. People literally turned their backs to me. I felt invisible.
At first, I welcomed this "invisibility." I understood why people turned away-- I'd done the same thing when friends breastfed in front of me--in part to "protect" their privacy, but mostly because I was unaccustomed to seeing bare breasts and it made me uncomfortable.
That interaction set the tone for the rest of the trip. I gained the confidence to nurse Tai freely wherever and whenever, and I was never given the "invisible" treatment I was so used to at home. Men, women, even teenage boys, would talk to me and Tai while he fed. They would gently ruffle his hair or tickle his toes while he was at my breast, and would maintain eye contact with the both of us. No one cut conversations short when I lifted my shirt to feed, nor did they turn their back to us. Breastfeeding was treated the same as bottle feeding-- I didn't feel shamed or embarrassed that I was somehow offending people with my bare breast.
|Nursing Tai on the beach in Peru|
It's frustrating and depressing to me that anyone would flag one of Daughter of the Sun's pictures as being inappropriate-- she has one of the most natural, beautiful, inspiring feeds I've ever seen. And yet, I'm not surprised. We must come together as mothers and women and stand up for our right to feed our babies as we wish-- to let them play free and naked in nature without being labeled as "inappropriate" or "offensive."
Thank you Daughter of the Sun for your inspiration and beauty!! I know you will continue to awe and inspire us from another platform. It's Instagram's loss....