We say we support and accept breastfeeding as the best means to feed a baby, but it would seem that support and acceptance is conditional. A photo of a mom nursing her working friend's child caused all hell to break loose online during World Breastfeeding Week.
According to the post by blogger Mama Bean, Jessica Anne Colletti began caring for her friend's son - then five months old - while the mom went back to work. Colletti was breastfeeding a three month old of her own, and suggested nursing her friend's son, too. The working mom raced to accept Colette's gracious offer because hey, it beats expressing and bottling every day.
"My friend struggled with breastfeeding in the beginning and succeeded for nine months," said Colletti. "She was always very happy that her son had the nutrition and comfort he needed while she was working. Being able to breastfeed her little boy has created a special bond between us all, a bond I will always cherish."
And even though the concept of a wet nurse is far from new, not everyone was a fan of the #MilkSiblings moment. "Gross." "Inappropriate." That was the overriding tone of dissenters, but I would dig a bit deeper and add a touch of "bitter" and "squeamish."
The idea of a wet nurse may be old as the hills, but the fact is, it's not part of our current culture. It feels foreign, and therefore wrong.
Breastfeeding is so emotionally charged these days. It has become about so much more than simply feeding a child. We have turned it an expression of love and intimacy and a source of deep pride, so no wonder we have reservations about another woman sharing that bond with our kid. It's a kind of misguided possessiveness. If I can't feed my baby with my own body, no one else will!
Those who can't do it, feel like we have failed at Motherhood. We nurse bitterness, guilt, and even an element of resentment toward those who manage to feed their babies so effortlessly. If breast milk is the best source of nutrition for babies, then what parent wouldn't want that for their child? I couldn't nurse, and that incredible feeling of failure actually contributed to my postpartum depression.
Until and unless we drop the emotional baggage from the act of breastfeeding, we aren't ready to truly accept breastfeeding in all its forms.
Image Source: Facebook