I was at our public library the other day. My two boys are pulling books off shelves left and right, big "WOW's" exuding from their mouths as they came upon Curious George, miscellaneous truck books, and If You Give a Moose a Muffin. Needless to say, we always wreak havoc through the silent library. I tried to shush them the best I could, specifically considering the other patrons and the nursing mother on the nearby couch. Her toddler seemed quite entertained with my two and not so much the book anymore that his mum was trying to read him. I was just trying to put the books back in the right places.
Wait a tick. Go back three sentences. Did your eyes deceive you? Did I say a mother was nursing in a library?
Yes. I. Did.
And by the way... BIG DEAL?
Come on people, what is the big deal? It is our God-given gift to be able to nurse our children when we can, so if you mum's can and are willing, by all means, please do so. Nourish your bundle. Feed them. Satisfy them. Have the knowledge, peace of mind, and loving assurance that you are giving your child what they need from you secondly, after love.
Today's society of scandal and shock and ratings is making a very natural thing something to be ashamed of, something to be questioned, and something, worst of all, not done. Do you see Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashians stopping their actions for the shock and uproar their previous actions have produced? No, you don't. You actually, let's be honest, see them do more or say more for the frenzy it creates. That's what they want. They want the attention.
Nursing mothers do not want the attention. They want to feed their hungry child. Don't get me wrong -- making the decision to nurse your baby is one that you as a mother must make on your own and by your own. It is a commitment. You must be dedicated to it. Don't let ANYONE or ANYTHING deter your decision. Secondly, do not feel bad or guilty if you decide to not nurse your child or are physically or mentally not able to nurse your child. Some women just can't do it for whatever reason. Too many mothers want to, but cannot. Many mothers do. Many mothers don't. But do not let society make that choice for you. Be confident and strong in your reasoning and stand by it. Your child will. God will.
Before I gave birth, I decided I would nurse not just for the nutritional benefit to my son, but for myself as well. This was time for my son and I, no one else. We entered our own little world. If I wanted to watch TV, I could. I could read. I could talk on the phone. I could play with my dog. It was not always the easiest. The long nights were exhausting, especially since I did not overproduce, so pumping was out of the question. It was all me. It was painful. I bled. My sons bit... A LOT. But I would never take that time away I had with them. I nursed in my car, on park benches, amusement parks, in restaurants, city streets, church nurseries, etc. I was decent and discreet about it. No one ever told me to stop, told me it was disgusting, told me I was not allowed. Why all of a sudden has it become such a -- "gasp" -- awful thing to be seen doing?
Let's glorify this, as a British Pub recently did by telling "breastfeeding mums" to stop by, have a cup of tea, take a load off, and NURSE.
How about such celebrities as Beyoncé Knowles, Gwen Stefani, and Alicia Silverstone posting pictures over Instagram or nursing in public themselves?
What about the brave young man who defied a Starbucks customer's request and apologized instead of stopping a nursing mother who was told what she was doing was disgusting?
Even the Pope told mothers to satisfy their infants in the Sistine Chapel. God wouldn't mind. He believes the children to be the most important.
What all these mothers are doing is natural. It is needed. It is the more popular choice. Let's leave them be.
This post is part of HuffPost Parents' World Breastfeeding Week series. For more from the series, click here.