How Millennials Can Change The Perception Of Public Breastfeeding

by Jennifer Landis

Boobies, knockers, bazongas, fun bags: Call them what you want, but in today's society, you can’t go a day without exposure to imagery depicting women’s breasts of all shapes and sizes selling all sorts of things, including fancy lingerie, cologne and even burgers and fries.

So, tell me why it’s cool to use boobs to sell burgers, but not to feed a baby? Go ahead, I’ll wait.

For whatever reason, boobvertising is still considered socially acceptable,the Kardashians are still relevant and always naked and public breastfeeding is still a hot-button issue. To be honest — and we’re all friends here, so of course I’ll be honest — I think it’s f*cking nonsense.

At 27, I am lucky enough to say that I had the opportunity to nurse my baby girl for the first 18 months of her life. Like most women, I can say that I’ve had my share of negative self-image issues throughout my life.

After giving birth, my body had been through hell and back. I was pretty squishy in most places, and I was feeling a little less than gorgeous most days.

On the occasional outing when my infant decided she couldn’t wait until we got home to eat (which — for the record — was every outing), I assure you, I took no pleasure in whipping a breast out to satiate her. We live in a society where, as a nursing mother — which is already an incredibly stressful time in one’s life — we have to live in fear of the passerby who decides it’s his or her business to tell you to cover up.

While some days I’m not sure how I feel about technically being classified as a “Millennial mom,” I do think that it has its advantages. The ladies and gentleman of Gen-Y are all about equality.

We are past the point of discriminating, and we are all about acceptance and inclusiveness when it comes to areas such as race, religion, gender and sexuality. So, my Millennial brothers and sisters (and mothers and fathers), I don’t think it’s that outlandish to tack hungry babies and stressed-out mommies onto the end of that list, do you?

While Millennials may be waiting until later in life to have children, roughly one in five mothers these days is a Millennial. As a generation, I say it is our responsibility to take back our breasts.It’s all good when we want to #FreeTheNipple, and it should be just as good — if not better — when those nipples are being used to nourish our growing babies.

In a recent interview with Wendy Williams, celebrity breastfeeding advocate Alyssa Milano shut down Williams, who said, “I don’t need to see that,” in reference to Milano’s “brelfies” on Instagram. Milano made an excellent point when she referenced an image that had been circulating of Miley Cyrus with suspenders covering her breasts at the 2015 VMAs. I can tell you with absolute confidence that you see way less breast while nursing than Miley shared at that event.

The latest data from the CDC suggests that 63 percent of Americans believe mothers should have the right to breastfeed their babies in public. That's awesome, considering that by law, regardless of opinion, mothers can breastfeed their babies wherever, whenever they want everywhere in the US (except for Idaho, which still has no laws protecting the rights of breastfeeding moms).

As a generation, we need to come together and find that happy place where — gasp — we let each other live and make our own choices for ourselves and our families without judging each other for it. That being said, folks, it’s important to also support mothers who choose not to breastfeed. It’s not for everyone, and it’s no one’s decision but your own.

In conclusion, my friends, my breasts were not made for your viewing pleasure. My breasts were not made to sell things. My breasts were made to feed my baby.

And so are yours, if you so choose. And if you don’t so choose, that’s cool, too.

Let’s take back our breasts and use them as nature intended: to nourish our babies when they are hungry, no matter where we are. Or, you can nourish your tots with formula and feel just as empowered.

There's no judgment here. I hope you’ll say the same.