I cannot open up Yahoo News or Facebook without seeing a story about the latest person to whip their boobies out and breastfeed their hungry baby in public. People have been breastfeeding their babies since the beginning of time, but now we have to make it a huge social statement.
It may have all started back in 2008 when Angelina Jolie was on the cover of W Magazine. She was pictured relaxed and happy, breastfeeding in her luxurious home while Brad snapped pictures of her.
Then supermodel Gisele Bundchen tweeted that picture of herself breastfeeding while someone was doing her nails, makeup, and hair, with the tag #multitasking and #gettingready, to really prove that supermodels can do it all.
Recently, I saw on social media a beautiful picture of Alyssa Milano who was also doing this thing called #multitasking for the rich and famous. While breastfeeding, she was getting her hair styled and makeup applied. Celebrities get to be primped and pampered, with the perfectly perky breast exposed. The content look on mom’s face as she is doing it all.
I’m beginning to feel like these breastfeeding shots are part of a new marketing campaign. Famous people are using breastfeeding as an opportunity to show the world their boobs, their beautiful babies, and that they are important enough to be styled by five different people simultaneously. And they must also be wonderful mothers since they’ve chosen to breastfeed.
As a regular non-famous mom of triplets plus one, my breastfeeding shots didn’t look anything like that. My idea of #multitasking and #gettingready was very different.
This is what breastfeeding triplets looked like:
While sporting my baby barf-covered sweats, I took my baby and put her to my breast to feed. While she suckled, I daydreamed about my next shower. I wondered if I would be able to apply makeup again before it dried up. I would notice my dry cracked cuticles and jagged nails and think that I’d better do something about them before I slit one of my children with one by accident.
Then my older daughter would yell at me that she was thirsty and needs water NOW. So, with a baby still latched onto my breast, I would walk to the kitchen. With one arm awkwardly holding a nursing baby, I would retrieve water for my older child.
Once comfortably established back on the couch with my nursing baby, another baby would start to cry. Again, baby still attached, I would get up and walk over to turn that baby’s mobile back on so I wouldn’t have to listen to crying the entire time I was nursing.
The third baby would start to cry that hysterical “I am hungry and need food now or I am going to get all hysterical on your ass” cry. Now, this part was really tricky because it really required having a third limb. Sometimes I used a leg or a foot to pitch in and help. I’d get my Boppy pillow and arrange the two babies across it so they could both nurse at the same time, at which point I felt like a real sow.
This would’ve been my glamorous Twitter photo. This is the only photo I could find of myself breastfeeding. My hashtag would’ve been #minivanfullofshit, #ihavemyhandsfull and it appears that this photo may be worthy of #multitasking. If you look closely at my cleavage area you will see I am flashing the peace sign even though I don’t recall feeling peaceful at that moment. And no, I was not living out of this minivan at the time.
I really don’t expect my boobs to look like those of a supermodel. I don’t get paid to look good and be in the public eye. Most of my friends and family still loved me even when I didn’t fix my hair or wear makeup while caring for newborn triplets. But more showers would’ve been nice.
While I complain about how my breastfeeding days were less glamorous and devoid of beautiful nursing pictures posted on Twitter, I strongly feel that these famous moms have done society a great service by touting the importance of breastfeeding. Whether their photos are captured for a positive PR moment or they are true breastfeeding advocates, they have helped support a campaign that women SHOULD breastfeed, that they CAN be beautiful nursing mothers and that breastfeeding in public MUST be socially acceptable.
When I was breastfeeding my first baby back in 2004, before the great fall of both of my nipples, I would whip those boobies out in every public place in the world: restaurants, Nordstrom’s Brass Plum section, parks, the gym and my car. It never even crossed my mind that someone would be offended that I was feeding my baby nutritious food that my own body produced.
Then I started seeing these things called Hooter Hiders and Udder Covers everywhere. I began to hear murmurings of breastfeeding mommas being harassed while trying to feed their babies in public. I felt confused. Should I have been more modest while breastfeeding in public? Did I really piss people off with my breastfeeding? We are all subjected to Kim Kardashian’s boobs everywhere we turn, but breastfeeding moms are made to feel inappropriate?
While I do not think breastfeeding while being pampered qualifies for #multitasking, I thank famous women everywhere for reminding us that breastfeeding is important. I say whip those beautiful breastfeeding breasts out wherever and whenever you want, moms. You are rad. #keepcalmandlatchon
This post originally ran on BLUNTmoms.
Megan Woolsey, the co-editor of Multiples Illuminated: A Collection of Stories and Advice from Parents of Twins, Triplets and More, lives in Northern California with her family of six, including 7-year-old triplets and a vivacious 11-year-old big sister. She has been authoring her blog, The Hip Mothership since she was in the hospital on bedrest pregnant with triplets eating copious amounts of jello. The Hip Mothership chronicles life raising multiples as well as general parenting and social topics. When Megan isn’t busy writing or blogging, she loves hot yoga, long walks and dinner with friends that includes good bottles of wine. Megan has been published in Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, XOJane, Mamalode, BLUNTmoms, Bonbon Break, Role Reboot, Great Moments In Parenting and Erma Bombeck’s Writer’s Workshop. She has an essay published in the hilarious anthology, It’s Really 10 Months Special Delivery.
Check out more of Megan’s writing!