Yet again, the topic of breastfeeding has been discussed in the mainstream media and — not surprisingly — was depicted in a less-than-factual way. It seems every few weeks these stories surface, and usually it’s a mom who’s been shamed for nursing in public. It happens so often I have almost stopped paying attention because they are so equally infuriating and repetitive.
This time, however, it was the hosts of The View who had their say about nursing. This isn’t the first time these ladies have discussed breastfeeding with a negative spin. They do it so frequently it almost makes you wonder if they realize their audience is mainly women, many of whom are of childbearing age.
The topic that started it all off was a discussion of two moms who help each other out with breastfeeding their kids, also known as wet nursing. I get it — this practice may seem even more “out there” than nursing in public, so I am not going to try to sway everyone to think that this isn’t that strange (even though it’s been done by humans since we’ve been in existence, but I know it’s not as common a practice in this country today).
What really set me off this time was the comment made by host Whoopi Goldberg, when she said, “If they’re old enough to have teeth, they should not be breastfeeding.”
Oh, Whoopi. Please stick to the acting and leave the medical advice to the professionals!
The truth is, some babies are born with teeth. Do they not get to nurse? Some babies get their first teeth by the young age of 3 months. Are they cut off too, Whoopi? Or should we stick with what leading organizations such as the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics say and let these babies nurse exclusively for 6 months, and continue for at least a year or more?
Hopefully, most moms will go with what the trained professionals have to say, but sadly many won’t. Many moms watching this (and hearing the applause from the audience that followed Whoopi’s off-base comment!) will feel shamed. They will think, Maybe I shouldn’t be nursing my child for this long and, Hmm, I thought things were going OK but now I’m embarrassed.
Overall, the comments Whoopi and the majority of the other hosts made (and have made so many other times regarding breastfeeding, nursing in public, and the fear of showing breasts to men who might just think of sex) shows a complete lack of woman-to-woman support. For a show that allegedly is by women, and for women, and is about the female perspective and view, why are they so consistently coming down on the side of women-shaming?
Listen, if you don’t want to breastfeed, then don’t. If you don’t want to see a woman nursing in public, then don’t look. But don’t take advantage of a huge public platform and dispense ridiculous opinions that shame women for using their breasts exactly the way nature intended.
Whoopi: Please stop telling moms how to feed their babies. And to the other hosts: Please stop portraying a beautiful bond between mom and babe in such a negative way. In this world, do we really need more inaccurate, disparaging views about women? We’ve got enough already.
Jennifer Lincoln is an obstetrician-gynecologist. This article originally appeared in Bundoo.
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