Cross-Cultural Breastfeeding and The Boob.

Mommy and Son getting a snack together in Brazil

I keep stumbling across articles about mass breastfeeding sit-ins. Women all over the US fighting for their right to breastfeed without discrimination. I find this mind boggling. Never in my experience as a Mother in Rio de Janeiro have I felt discriminated against because of my breastfeeding.

In actuality, I was quite encouraged. Hell, anyone who has seen pictures of the Carnaval parade know that Cariocas aren’t afraid of a little boob.

I never even got a sideways glance. Actually, they stared full on. The comfort level was so high that I thought they were going to come and introduce themselves to my girls, give them a high five, and take a picture.

Everyone from the Grandma to the parking guy to the best friend to some random old lady thought it was the most beautiful thing in the world. Whenever my boy was working the boob people felt the need to come and congratulate me. Not only this, they wanted to stroke the nursing baby’s head and give him a kiss. Women would actually take a peek to see if he was a good latcher and then congratulate me more.

Honestly, it was a bit much. Then again, support is support even if it’s in the form of a nosy cheerleading squad.

When I finally brought my almost 6 month old bundle to the states for a visit I was prepared to be a bit more modest. I knew the population there preferred their breasts size DD and on anorexic actresses as opposed to on a Mother feeding her baby. I even picked up one of those obnoxious blanket things. But it wasn’t enough for some people! Even when I would find an isolated area in a food court and cloak my child like a Middle Eastern woman, I still got crap!

It was such a wake up call for me. On one hand a 15 year old girl could be wearing clothes that would make a tranny hooker blush but what I was doing was inappropriate.

I wanted to take me and my breastfeeding baby back to Brazil where he could eat in peace, but that wouldn’t have accomplished anything now would it. Instead I breastfed more. I thoroughly pissed off an older woman at a makeup counter in Nordstrom when I stayed in the little seat and let my boy use my boobs in the way God intended them to be.

Regardless of my defiance, it comes down to education. At some point we Americans decided breastfeeding was indecent. Old men can ogle overly-developing teens but Mothers using them to feed their children are just crossing the line.

Where on Earth did we Mothers get the idea that breasts belong in a baby’s mouth?! The insanity! Personally, I blame rap music.

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