What matters? Does it really matter?

Breastfeeding Poster V2I had no plans of writing a post about this topic as it is one that really divides the ranks. And even as I write it the tune of a solemn nature echoes in my head as I fear that with my words I might be burying myself in murky waters. Gasping dramatically for air, here goes: so the discuss on discreet and indiscreet breastfeeding in public has become a reoccurring motif through the script of normalizing breastfeeding campaigns.

While everyone chants in unison ‘power to the breastfeeding mum, let’s normalize breastfeeding.’

Silent whispers rumble ‘normalizing breastfeeding doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be discreet.’

Silent whispers rumbles  ‘normalizing breastfeeding means we shouldn’t be discreet.’

Prior to writing this post I would probably have fallen firmly on one side of the divide, now I ask myself, what really matters here?

The underlying debate rises from our personalities as individuals which doesn’t change a whole lot with the advent of breastfeeding. Some mums are extremely private people and some are not, this has nothing to do with confidence and everything to do with their personalities. Some mums prior to baby had no issues with showing some flesh; some found a flash of skin a little off putting, and for some it’s the other way round; breastfeeding and motherhood doesn’t rid us of those traits, if anything it further compounds them. For all I know and can remember mothers have breastfeed their young in different places (on the farm, at the market, on the buses etc.), in different ways (covered with a wrapper, shawl, uncovered, breast out, breast underneath etc.) you get the picture.

So why the chasm and why is it widening?breastfeeding 2016

Social media: thanks to this fascinating tool of modern day life which makes it possible to share my thoughts with you, the same tool has the abilities of exaggerating the acts of everyday living into catastrophic levels. Throw social media into schools and kids start to pull all sorts of pranks including online bullying to get attention, throw it into politics and leaders say one thing to be politically correct and recant it via tweeter, throw it into entertainment and the most ludicrous or horrendous actions become entertaining.

With the advent of social media we have all become extremely socially aware. And that’s the essence of social media; to be social with the media and with others who use the media and to unknowingly empower the media that uses us (Ezinne Ukoha). We can now create our own media stories, sadly the media only celebrates or recognizes extreme issues, no one wants to watch normal life on the media. Sadly no matter how awesome and widespread media is, it will always remain a snippet of reality, and though it seems intrusive we must remind ourselves that some of our own works,pictures etc might also seem intrusive to another person.

Secondly the breastfeeding cause is a cocktail of causes as it is a cocktail of personalities: breastfeeding and motherhood generally is a very empowering process. It makes us fierce as tigers, we not only want to feed our children in the best way possible but we also want to give/leave for them a world with equal rights and privileges for everyone. And it’s on this second note that we start to differ a bit. The picture of what the best world is differs for each of us, not in the all so big details but in the tiny ones that become obvious on closer inspection. It’s like those spot the difference puzzles, the general picture looks the same, some of the differences jump right out at you, others take a while to spot, some matter, and others don’t. More importantly each person takes a different amount of time to solve the puzzle.

What is the point here? We have mums who are activists, feminists, conservative, naturist, and so many other terms which describe people. At the end of the day the common thread between all of them is that they’re breastfeeding mums and that’s all that counts.

normalizing breastfeeding 2016

Best way forward:

Stick to the cause that matters to you per time; for this week and beyond its breastfeeding. Strip off all the other labels and find the common ground – we want more breastfeeding mums and there is no single format for reaching out to everyone because there is no single format for being the best mum except putting the well-being of your child first.

We are all making statements on a daily basis with our choices, breastfeeding is no different; discreet/indiscreet you’re telling /showing the world how nature intended for us to feed our babies in way that suits you best. Doing what makes you comfortable, working at your own pace and a healthy baby is all the empowerment you need.

Whatever cocktail you make of your motherhood journey if you can remember where you came from, where you’re and most importantly where next you want to go I say rock on.


6 thoughts on “What matters? Does it really matter?

  1. Hi Chioma,

    The immense benefits of breastfeeding can’t be disputed, its superior advantage over tinned formula cannot be overemphasised, which is why I am highly amused by the ongoing hullabaloo over private or public breastfeeding, especially on social media.

    I think that it’s because we live in an era where even the most trivial matter is highly sexualized.

    I once saw an advertisement for a fizzy drink in a magazine. It had a naked female model with the requisite sensual expression on her face, holding a can of the beverage. “Exactly what sort of thirst did this advert seek to quench?” I wondered.

    It’s laughable that breastfeeding has also been included in the group of topics that divide the ranks. The natural act of feeding a hungry baby quality nutrients?! 😀

    You are right, it’s best to stick to what works for one- discreet or indiscreet, either way the baby gets the nutrients that it needs and deserves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My dear the thing tire me too. You said it just right everything is highly sexualized’, the lines have become so blurred and purposes so mixed up, we don’t know what is selling what and what exactly is being sold.
      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hehehe … me and my breastfeeding matters.
        I have just taken a look at it, and I understand her sentiments but at the end of the day one will never understand how wriggly children can be about being fed under a cover. We wear more cleavage exposing clothes even to church so ….

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I read this post with interest. When I breastfed all my children, social media didn’t exist, nor was breastfeeding seen as overtly sexual – at least, not that I’d heard of. I never fed my babies in public, being one of the more ‘private’ people you mention. 🙂 But, as you say, it depends on the mother’s personality. Nevertheless, breastfeeding is such a natural thing and should never be included with anything that could be classed as offensive to anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree with you Millie it should never be classed as offensive and each mother should choose what works best for her.
      Social media has blown up the number of breflies (breastfeeding selfies) and this is what people seem bothered about.

      Liked by 1 person

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