On Breastfeeding, Exposed Nipples, and Displaced Judgment

Breastfeeding bashing is foolish in the age of Rihanna

Breastfeeding beauties around the web

Let me get this straight… Rihanna can flaunt her practically naked body with nipples exposed at an awards event and be praised as the hottest thing since sliced bread, but a college graduated mother breastfeeding her hungry baby is ridiculed and subjected to disparaging comments. As much as I enjoy reading about Rihanna’s brash style and youthful follies, I am more overjoyed to read about mothers attaining educational and professional endeavors. Even more touching is watching a young and accomplished mother share the accolades with her new bundle of joy.


Rihanna at CFDA with nipples exposed.

As a society, I really think our priorities are skewed and judgments displaced. How can we support over sexualization of the female body by praising celebrities such as Beyonce, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, and Madonna? It is well-known that this very tactic is detrimental to the well-being of young girls who find themselves desperately trying to manufacture beauty. With plastic surgery, hair extensions, and a myriad of other false accouterments, young girls are struggling to compete with society’s false idea of beauty. How can we also then support the viewership of reality shows highlighting teen pregnancy and memorialize the experiences across magazines covers. There is no research indicating the benefits of sensationalizing teen pregnancy. We have it all wrong.


Karlesha Thurman at her graduation on May 22nd

Images of breastfeeding mothers does more good than harm. If anything, it encourages mothers at any age to ensure the health of their child and reap the benefits. Breastfeeding helps babies build a stronger immune system by ingesting colostrum, which is rich in nutrients and antibodies. Breast milk is easy to digest and helps the baby grow. Breastfeeding helps mothers save money and feel more connected to their newborn. It also has health benefits, as it is linked to lower risks of type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression.

I wish there were positive images of breastfeeding when I gave birth. Though I managed it with my first two children, it was only for a very short period of time. It was tough to be pregnant, give birth, and breastfeed. I faced common challenges such as sore nipples, breast engorgement, and back pain. By the time I had my last two children, I opted against breastfeeding but was always proud to hear of friends who stuck it out. As mothers, we should tell the stories of breastfeeding and share the images because it will help to encourage an expectant mother to make the healthiest choice for herself and her baby.

Karlesha Thurman has it right, and we should take a note from this young, accomplished, breastfeeding mother.

I honestly thought that as a society, people were more understanding to breast-feeding and understood the importance of breast-feeding. It’s not disgusting, it’s not a bad thing, it’s not a negative thing. It’s the best thing for my daughter. More people should do it.


How do you feel about mothers breastfeeding in public? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.




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