Here We Go Again, Another Breastfeeding “Controversy”

If you read or watch the news, I’m betting you’ve heard about the latest breastfeeding brouhaha. Once again, critics are in a tizzy about a photograph of a nursing mom. In this case, it’s actually two military moms in uniform nursing three babies (left). The pic was captured as part of a local breastfeeding awareness campaign by Mom2Mom of Fairchild Airforce Base, a support group launched in January by Crystal Scott, a military spouse and mother of three, according to Yahoo Shine.

“People are comparing breastfeeding in uniform to urinating and defecating in uniform,” Scott told Shine in an interview. “They’re comparing it to the woman who posed in “Playboy” in uniform [in 2007]. “We never expected it to be like this.”

Are these people serious? Ah, let us rehash the old arguments and explore the new.

There are those who say that you sexualize breastfeeding when you depict beautiful moms doing it. (Sound familiar?) In this photo, the women are both are pretty.  And the one with twins appears to have near-perfect boobs even though she’s nursing. The horror! How lewd. Unless you’re like me and you simply see two women feeding their children.

Other people are angry that these women are breastfeeding in uniform. But why? Is it the symbolism? Women can be tough and fight in the military (ie. do a man’s job)–and then go home and perform the role of a traditional, soft mother. Is it unsettling that they have the capacity to fit into both roles, while a man’s stereotypical role is so much more narrow? Puulease.

And what about those people who insist that breastfeeding is private, not public. As a super-modest person I can understand where they’re coming from. However, every mom who has ever breastfed knows that there are times when you don’t expect to breastfeed and then suddenly you need to and there’s no private room or cover in sight. I found myself in this position when Mason was nursing, and I didn’t care at all what anyone around me thought about it.

Whatever your rationale is, if you’re a critic, I say get over it.

In my opinion, this photo represents pride more than anything else. When I think of the people who serve in the military, I think of heroic men and women who make our country proud. For many moms, breastfeeding successfully is something to be proud of. So it makes total sense to me to juxtapose women in uniform and nursing babies.

Furthermore, as Terran Echegoyen-McCabe (above, left) points out in an MSNBC article, there is no military policy against nursing in uniform. So I would imagine that a lot of military moms have fed their children in uniform before. Are we really to believe that they come home on a break or after work and make their hungry child wait while they change into different clothes? C’mon.

Seems to me like this “controversy” doesn’t have legs.

Photo: Brynja Sigurdardottir