Food for Thought: Is Breast Feeding More Than Feeding a Baby?

By Sterling Martinez

Breastfeeding is a natural way that most mothers not only feed but bond with their children.

Today, many people have many different thoughts and feelings about this traditional and necessary feeding process causing it to be controversial. Some people say it is really private and intimate and should definitely be kept between a mother and her child. Some feel that it is the same as bottle feeding and should be accepted as natural and shouldn’t be made taboo; it is simply a task that has to be completed as a mother. Some people view breastfeeding as something that should be kept modest by using a blanket or cover of some sort. I personally think that women are criticized too much, but in this case, it is for the wrong reason. A woman is not being indecent when she breast feeds, covered or not. People in general should let people be and be themselves.

Actress Alyssa Milano has been repeatedly making headlines for breast feeding her new-born baby girl Elizabella Dylan; Milano and her husband David Bugliari welcomed Elizabella in early September of this year. Milano first posted a photo of her feeding Elizabella on Instagram and had a breast feeding quote by Milan Kundera. The second photo she posted was of her breastfeeding while preparing for a photo shoot and was captioned: “First day back at work!” Milano has gotten a variety of responses on social media, including praise from her fellow mothers, scolding from many for not “covering up,” and some disturbing sexual innuendo from some of her male followers.

Personally, I feel that too many people have had something to say about the photos. Milano has every right to share her motherhood, and any mother should not have to be subject to the judgment of others. Milano is no stranger to judgment; being a child star who grew up in the industry, she has received criticism for exposing her breasts on camera, marrying a man eight years her junior and, like many other middle-aged mothers, having a baby at 38 and now 41.

Milano's first photo posted to Instagram.  Do you think she went too far?
Milano’s first photo posted to Instagram. Do you think she went too far?

I happen to think that she and breast feeding are two things that don’t deserve judgment She is a positive role model not only for people in the industry but to people in general. She has openly admitted that being a mother and wife are her first priority. She has campaigned and backed UNICEF for many years, and she is very involved in the world around her. She is one of those celebrities who uses her position in the public eye to help change the world we live in. Breast feeding is neither sexual nor something to be ashamed of.  Breasts that were originally created for feeding babies nutrients, have become so sexualized by society that we would rather look at leaked photos of them than see them being used in a nonsexual way.

I do not understand why it is more acceptable to see debatably sexy photos of Kim Kardashian than to see Alyssa Milano being a mother and a celebrity. And although Milano agrees that Kardashian has a nice gluteus, she doesn’t agree with society on the fact that Kim’s photos have been accepted more than Milano’s. And Milano isn’t ashamed of her photos she is trying to shake society from the notion that breast feeding needs to be kept a secret. She isn’t afraid of what people think. She is a woman that cares more about being true to herself and being a good person.

Breast feeding is very natural, and I do not find anything uncomforting about it. I think that a mother caring for her child is more important than what people may have to say about her being partially exposed. People should feel worse for a woman having to breastfeed in a dirty bathroom and stop focusing on how terribly uncomfortable it is for them to have to witness a child eating or worse, seeing a woman with her breast out of her shirt. Personally, I have more respect for a mother breast feeding than a girl simply letting her “aspirations” hang out of her blouse. The only thing that mothers should have to worry about is how modest they think they are being. I am not saying that they should just be inconsiderate of the feelings of others, but if a mother truly isn’t trying to offend someone, she isn’t doing anything wrong.

Milano multitasking before photo shoot.
Milano multitasking before photo shoot.

What’s wrong is making nudity such an issue. People should be mature enough to see a breast and go about their business. Europe is very accepting of the human form and they have a maturity and tolerance that frankly Americans don’t have yet. But it is Milano’s hope that one day, sooner or later, America will get to a place where woman can breast feed and people will stop feeding into society’s issues with nature.