Why I openly breastfeed in front of my older children

It is World Breastfeeding week! So, in honor of that, I thought I’d write a post.

A slightly controversial post, perhaps.

You see, I have older twin sons who are almost 7 and I breastfed their brother (weaned at 21 months) openly in front of them.

Like, I am not “modest” around my sons at all while breastfeeding.

Well, come to think of it, I’m not THAT immodest while breastfeeding
(Nursing one of my twins: 2008)

They have seen the boobs.
They have stood inches from me while their little brother frantically rooted around and then blissfully latched on.

“Is he drinking chocolate milk, Mommy?” asked Micah d the first time he saw Silas nurse.

Now THAT would be special, right?

But beyond the delightful idea of chocolate milk, I think that allowing my older sons to see me breastfeed is pretty special in and of itself.

And it is a decision that I made on purpose.

I could have used a cover, excused myself to another room, or shooed them away when it was nursing time. But I didn’t.

I wanted them to see what a woman’s body could do: feed, nourish, and nurture a baby.

Breasts are so over-sexed in our culture. We’ve all seen the meme or heard the tongue-in-cheek comparison about the breastfeeding woman who is publicly shamed for feeding her baby while grocery store magazine racks showcase models whose breasts are displayed for public consumption. How’s that for irony?

In contrast to society’s views about the female body, I want my boys to have a healthy view of breasts. While they can be sexually alluring, I don’t really want breasts to be mysterious or a body part to be ogled. My sons have seen my breasts used in a non-sexual way as I have fed their brother and will feed our new baby in the near future.

A healthy view of a woman’s body is, in my opinion, a holistic view. Breasts are beautiful but they are also useful and, in our family, are used to feed and nurture babies and toddlers.

I hope that by normalizing breastfeeding and breasts for my sons, it is one step I can take while they are young to guide their hearts and minds to view woman respectfully and holistically in the future, and push against the cultural idea that women are simply sexual objects.

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