Coaching is what I do, not who I am. I am a father, husband, son, brother, teacher, and coach. Most importantly I am a father and husband before I am a coach. Part of my job as an educator who coaches is to break stereotypes. Many feel that coaches are not good teachers and are meatheads. My job is to break that stereotype. Through this blog I want to share my thoughts and opinions while hopefully enlightening others on various topics dealing with athletics, education, and family life. This week we’ll take a break from sports and discuss something in the family life arena.
I believe part of my job as a husband is to support my wife in everything she does; especially as a mother. This week I’d like to discuss an increasingly hot topic that’s important to us as a family since we have a two-month old son…breastfeeding.
You would be amazed at the reactions and looks of disgust my wife receives while breast feeding our son or using a pump in public. By the way, she wears a nursing shield. It’s something that is really quite shocking and just doesn’t make sense. Why are people so offended at the site of a nursing or pumping mother? Is it really that offensive? I personally don’t believe so, but you’d be surprised how easily people get offended over this topic.
Across the country in grocery stores and restaurants, women have been asked to either stop breastfeeding or leave the establishment. In Warrensburg, MO (the college town I went to) they recently passed a measure banning mothers from nursing near public pools. The policy was put into place out of fear of children getting sick near the pools; however, breastfed babies are less likely to regurgitate than formula fed babies. All 50 states have laws protecting women’s right to breastfed, but it appears there is still a rather large public sentiment that is against it.
Men especially seem to have a problem with mothers breastfeeding in public. I’ve witnessed the reaction my wife gets in public, and she’s wearing a nursing shield. Breastfeeding is not an opportunity to be an exhibitionist; it’s a time to feed your child. Society has progressed on so many levels and it’s hard to understand why this topic continues to be such a big issue. By now, it should be a non-issue. Who is breastfeeding hurting or posing a threat to? What makes people, mostly men, so uncomfortable about it? Guys trust me when I say that women don’t breastfeed for pleasure. It’s often very painful and it’s never convenient.
One of the problems with our society today is that people are too easily offended. More than that, people feel they have the right to be offended over small things. People are looking for something to be offended about. It seems there’s a large chunk of the population that is not happy unless they’re unhappy, and have something to complain about. If something offends you don’t look, mind your business. If it doesn’t affect your life, mind your business. If it’s not hurting others, mind your business. Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean it’s right. It’s time to let go of the ignorance and backward thinking which permeates our society.
I believe this ignorance comes from insecurity. Giving a nursing mother a dirty look, asking her to leave a store, and banning nursing around pools is small-minded. Let’s go back in time, before formula based milk was created. How did babies survive since? Breastfeeding has been around since the beginning of time. It’s a natural process but for some reason public opinion has been swayed against it. It’s time we desexualize breasts when it comes to nursing. It’s a part of life. We should all remember the benefits associated with breastfeeding for both mom and baby. According to www.womenshealth.gov, breastfed babies have lower risks of SIDS, ear infections, asthma, diarrhea, vomiting, and childhood obesity. Breastfeeding mothers have a lower risk of getting type-2 diabetes, certain types of breast cancer, and ovarian cancer. With all of these benefits, why do we publicly frown upon breastfeeding?
As a coach, if I’m not a teacher I’m not anything. So I bring this topic up to support my wife and make others aware that breastfeeding is a good thing. Men need to eliminate their insecurity and begin to appreciate the sacrifice women are making in order to help their child be the healthiest baby it can be. All of us came from our mothers, and many of us were breastfed. It’s time that we start fully appreciating all of the mothers out there and the sacrifices they make for their children. In our home, we make sure we explain to our oldest son what mommy is doing, that it helped him get big and strong, and that it’s doing the same thing for his brother. It’s on us as parents to educate and enlighten our children so they don’t have the same misguided and ignorant views that many in this generation have.
Men, let go of the insecurities. Breastfeeding is not a threat to you. It’s not hurting you. Instead of frowning upon, giving dirty looks, and making women feel shameful, let’s support them. If it’s something you don’t agree with, look the other way and mind your business.
In the words of Tupac, “So will the real men get up? I know your fed up ladies, but keep your heads up.”
As always, thanks for reading, have a great week and be an RGP today!