Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Monica & Brandy "Debate" Breastfeeding

I typically listen to the Rickey Smiley Morning Show on my way to work, but I missed an episode recently when R&B singers Monica and Brandy were in the studio and discussed nursing in public (shout out to my friend Kate for the heads up).

After listening to the short segment, I'm glad I didn't catch it while I was driving. The foolishness on that show can be hard to take on a good day, but two nursing moms being judgmental idiots about breastfeeding in public before my coffee fix? No, ma'am.

I'm not sure how the conversation got started, but in the clip, the first thing we hear is Brandy saying that she nursed her daughter Sy'rai until she was 13months old and "That's a little long...." She goes on to say that her friends thought she was crazy and Monica says, "Yeah, if you can walk and get your juice? You better walk and get that juice, honey!"

Sigh. Where do I even begin? Thirteen months is NOT, I repeat, NOT a long time to breastfeed. A thirteen-month-old is very much still a baby in every sense of the word. And it is worth noting that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers nurse for a minimum of 12 months, and as long as mutually desired thereafter. Of course 13 months doesn't even come close to the recommended two years of breastfeeding per the World Health Organization. If Brandy breastfed for 13 months, she did so for only a few weeks longer than the bare minimum recommended amount of time. And please believe that that's not to put down any mom who doesn't make it that long for any variety of completely valid reasons. I just can't believe that we're supposed to think that just over a year of breastfeeding is "too long."

And should we break down that "walking and getting your juice" comment? Because it's tired. These arbitrary timeframes for when it's no longer appropriate to nurse a baby or toddler? I'm over it. Whether it's walking or talking or teeth....it's all bullshit. Nurse your child for as long as you want to! My son walked at 8 months. Should I have told him, "No, you can't have the best source of vitamins, proteins and fat available to you when you're hungry...please go grab a glass of juice instead." He also had teeth at 10 months, so I guess since he was such a "big boy" at that age, the only logical thing to do would have been....to give him a bottle. I mean, does this make ANY SENSE?

The rest of the audio, posted below, gets worse as they then discuss nursing in public. We're supposed to believe that they're on different sides, with Monica stating she would never nurse in a public place, while Brandy saying it's just fine as long as you use a cover. We're supposed to think Brandy is this earthy, crunchy weirdo because she put a blanket or nursing cover over her baby's head to completely cover herself while Monica is a respectable modern mom because she would leave and go hide in the car.

They're both assholes.

Hear me out. I know plenty of wonderful, breastfeeding (and formula feeding) moms who are lactivists and fully support a mom's right to nurse her baby in public, whenever, wherever, however, who personally use covers for their own comfort. I wish that we lived in a world where moms didn't need to be embarrassed to nurse in public, but I know we're not there yet. Those moms say it's not for them, but they are making decisions based on their own comfort levels, not on anyone else's, and want you to be able to do the same. Brandy and Monica are not those moms. Requiring a mom to cover up to appease your own discomfort with her breastfeeding is not support. Requiring a mom to leave a picnic in the park with her family to breastfeed her baby in the car is not support. If you say you support breastfeeding and add a disclaimer about privacy or covers or pumped milk in a bottle? You don't support breastfeeding.

I'm so tired of women holding themselves up as model breastfeeders because they do the "decent" thing and cover up or hide when they need to feed their babies. I'm so sick of celebrities, particularly black women, who could be fantastic role models for breastfeeding blowing it over and over. I'm so over folks acting like how or when a woman breastfeeds her baby is an actual question that is up for debate. It's your legal right to breastfeed your baby in public. At what other time do we slap up polls on websites and TV shows and discuss whether or not people should do something they already have the right to do?

I'm done with the nonsnse. Thankfully we won't have to hear much more debating from these two since they couldn't even get along long enough to go on their scheduled tour. I can't say I'm disappointed.

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