By Maria de Lourdes Campos |Staff Writer|
We live in a time where everything and everyone is under a microscope which makes us accessible to public scrutiny.
When we see a mother breastfeeding in public daylight; we look at her with disgust.
The initial reaction is disbelief and confusion, simply because she’s doing something that doesn’t comply with normative standards.
Why should she be judged for simply exercising her biological rights as a woman to tend to her child?
Breastfeeding is now viewed as a double edged sword.
Companies like Target and Walmart do not feel comfortable seeing female customers pull out their breast as a means to feed their hungry child.
These two major retailers have begun to enforce a new policy, stating that anyone who is, or wants to, breastfeed can no longer do it in the bathroom.
They must now breastfeed in a designated area or room, where they are away from other customers.
This is an attempt for retailers to provide their customers with a comfortable environment where they can breastfeed.
This new policy is designed to enforce the preservation, privacy and integrity of mother and child.
The policy will also protect other customers who might feel offended when exposed to the intimate, yet natural act of breastfeeding.
In the 1800s, writers encouraged women to breastfeed, according to Nora Doyle’s article entitled, ”Pushing Breastfeeding in Early America.”
It was believed that breastfeeding was a women’s route to fulfilling her God-given role as the ‘nurturer of family life.’
However, throughout history, breastfeeding has always seemed like a social taboo.
“During the 17th and 18th Century, the only woman who exercised their right to breastfeed were royals and even then, they would hire a wet-nurse [servant] to do the job for them,” stated Doyle.
In the 18th century, women lacked what Doyle called, “the sentimentalization of motherhood, because they weren’t encouraged or informed of all the nutritional values that breastfeeding has.”
As a result, many children lack that heart to heart bond with their mothers.
However, things changed in the turn of the 20th century.
Many women have begun to see the benefits of breastfeeding, such as the bonding experience between mother and child, the nutritional value from breast milk (which is loaded with vitamins and nutrients), and the cost efficiency.
“The reason why many women did and do breastfeed is because of the cost. It doesn’t cost a dime to breastfeed, whereas, if you opt to supply your child with formula, you’re looking at an extraordinary expense,” said student Marlene Jones.
“Just walk into a Target or Walmart, you’ll find rather quickly that formula is not cheap nor beneficial for a baby, because it’s loaded with chemicals and fillers that have side effects like constipation, colic, and fever,” said Jones.
“Although sometimes breastfeeding can be difficult due to inverted nipples, latch issues, and mastitis, you should still do it, because there’s no greater reward and satisfaction than to have that one on one with your baby,” added Jones.
Therefore, breast is best.