Breastfeeding is, for reasons that are both baffling and infuriating, still a controversial and constantly debated activity. Sadly, when you breastfeed for any length of time, you have to brace yourself to endure all kinds of comments, questions and potential criticisms. It's kind of like being a feminist, actually, which is why there are lots of reasons being a feminist prepares you for breastfeeding.
For me, the actual process of getting pregnant and giving birth cemented my full entrance into feminism, so I was still kind of new at being a proud feminist when I started breastfeeding. I was still struggling with body positivity and, while I tried not to worry about being judged if I had to feed my daughter in public, I was still a little worried about what other people thought. As I raised my daughter, my values surrounding what it means to be a woman who is equal in every way to those around her, crystallized.
By the time I had my son, nearly three years later, I was ready for anything when it came to breastfeeding. I was also willing to support, and go to bat for, any other woman's choices regarding breastfeeding, which is part of why I love writing about breastfeeding so much. To me, being a feminist means being an advocate for every woman's rights, and breastfeeding is and should definitely be included in those rights. Here are 10 more reasons being a feminist prepares you for breastfeeding:
You Know How To Advocate For Yourself, As A Woman
As a feminist, you understand that women are still struggling to achieve equality, and have likely spoken up in situations that are unfair. This is going to come in handy if you're planning on breastfeeding anywhere outside of your home, since it appears that the world is still filled with people who don't think it's an activity that should be done in public.
You're Prepared To Stand Up For What You Believe In
When breastfeeding, you may find yourself in a situation where someone is questioning your choice to breastfeed for more than a few months, or at a restaurant, or any other number of scenarios. Most feminists have encountered someone who has challenged their beliefs, and it's great practice for when some judgmental person tries to shut you down.
You Aren't As Concerned About What People Think Of You
Don't get me wrong; I would be concerned what people thought if I was walking around for an entire day with one boob hanging out of my tank top. But seriously, I don't even care a little bit what people think of me breastfeeding my baby, because it's normal and it's what mothers do for their babies.
You're Comfortable In Your Own Skin
OK, that may be slightly inaccurate, especially if you're struggling with postpartum body image issues. Personally, though, I find that being a feminist goes facilitates the ability to accept your female body and all that it does, and not feeling any shame from it or because of it.
You Believe In A Woman's Right To Make Her Own Choices
Feminism is about equal rights for women, on all fronts, and so a woman's right to choose whether or not she breastfeeds should be included under that umbrella of potential decisions. And hey, that means you should be defending women who choose not to breastfeed as well, for whatever reason.
You're Prepared To Have People Disagree With Your Decisions
We all know, sadly, there are plenty of people out there who don't consider themselves feminists, or even fans of feminism. I'll go out on a limb and say that the myths surrounding feminism are to blame. Still, it's kind of the norm for feminists to expect disagreement with their decisions, or to even be outright verbally attacked for proudly identifying as a feminist. If you can learn to not give a damn, it will be much easier to not give a damn if someone doesn't think you should be breastfeeding in public. I mean, honestly, who cares if you think me breastfeeding in public is gross? Can you just hush so I can give my kid their lunch, please.
You (Hopefully) Have A Support Network In Place
Chances are, if you're a feminist, you're not completely surrounded by misogynists (although I guess that's entirely possible, and if that's you, I'm sorry). Whether it's your partner, your family, or some of your friends, the support network of like-minded people in your life will be able to support your choice to breastfeed, as well.
You're Body Positive, And Not Ashamed Of Your Body
Being body positive is something I think all feminists want to achieve and constantly advocate for. That means not being ashamed of your body in any way, including its natural function as a source of food for your baby.
You Don't Believe In The Sexualization Of Women's Bodies
You Understand You Don't Need To Make A Martyr Of Yourself
Listen, breastfeeding is hard for a lot of women. It doesn't always work out, and feminists understand that you don't need to sacrifice your mental or physical well-being in order to provide sustenance for your child. Formula is OK, too. Especially if it saves your sanity, in the end.