When people who are in the public eye make uneducated, ignorant comments about breastfeeding, it kind of annoys the hell out of me. When I read this article about a televised debate over brelfies (a selfie of yourself breastfeeding) today, for a moment I could literally feel my blood pressure go up. Let me explain why…
If we’re allowing brelfies to be debatable, we have to remind everyone that we have bigger fish to fry. Because when brelfies are debatable, we’re turning the conversation towards the image of breastfeeding, and making that imagine a negative one instead of a positive one. When images of breastfeeding are debatable, we aren’t talking about why more women are not breastfeeding, or why women aren’t breastfeeding long enough. We’re not talking about the huge disparity in breastfeeding rates.
NBC’s “Today” hosts Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford recently said on television:
Gifford said, “There are two types of people, Hoda — those who feel the need to share their most precious moments and those who’d like to keep it private like I prefer.” Kotb responded, “I say breastfeeding is beautiful and natural, but sharing it on social media: TMI.”
Maybe they don’t understand that we, as women, have an obligation to support other women—especially when it comes to something as vital as breastfeeding.
Maybe they don’t understand that the negative comments they perpetuate in the media contribute to the negative connotations associated with breastfeeding.
Maybe they don’t understand that if we don’t normalize breastfeeding, women may believe that there is something dirty, shameful, pointless, irrelevant, or “TMI” about breastfeeding. Maybe they don’t understand that SOME women are able to detect the subtle cracks they’re inadvertently making in efforts to normalize and promote breastfeeding, but maybe they don’t understand that OTHER women may be influenced by their ignorant remarks. Maybe they don’t understand that not breastfeeding can have lifelong maternal and newborn impacts.
What I really wish is that people who are blessed to be in positions that add weight to their words choose their words more wisely. Support women. Support babies. And be mindful of the impact your words may have on other people. Think about how the words you speak may influence someone. Do you want what you say to have a positive impact, or a negative one? I know which one I want to be… 🙂
p.s. Me, breastfeeding my preemie. One of my favorite pictures ever 🙂
Until my next delivery ❤