The independent student news organization of Nicholls State University

Photo by: Rachel Klaus

FEmale: Do what’s breast for you

October 3, 2017

Modern society has some obsession with breasts. For some reason, this
ridiculous fascination tends to sexualize women and their bodies. From television to
magazines to social media, breasts are everywhere. They’re not to inform, but to
entertain and sell merchandise, mainly to men. Over time, it all became about
cleavage and most seem to have forgotten about their natural, biological purpose.

During puberty, females develop breasts so that they have a way to provide
for their young. Unlike other primates, human females always have full breasts once
they develop. Nonhuman primates, such as apes, only have full breasts when they
lactate (The Guardian). The breast is home to mammary glands, milk-producing
glands, that mature by the end of puberty; they develop with parturition so they can
produce milk.

Colostrum, the early milk produced by the breast, is provided to the infant
within the first few days of life (CPMC). This milk produced by the mammary glands
is designed to satisfy the needs of the infant. The milk produced after that is not
always as yellow or thick, but it still contains the necessary nutrients for infant

World Health Organization recommends that women breastfeed their
newborns strictly breast milk for the first six months. Afterward, they suggest
continuing to breastfeed with appropriate complementary foods up to age two. That
is when a young infant obtains the nutrients he or she needs for healthy growth and
development (WHO).

Surprisingly, 70 percent of women in the United States don’t breastfeed long
enough because they don’t receive the social or workplace support (ABC News). It’s
difficult for the working mom to find time in her schedule to pump milk. It’s also
difficult when a woman is out running errands and attempting to feed her crying
child becomes a controversy. Imagine trying to feed your hungry infant with
constant stares of judgment.

The breasts on a Victoria Secret angel are deemed acceptable, but a mother
breastfeeding her child in public isn’t. What type of logic is that? I’m not saying that
there’s anything wrong with a woman showing off her breasts, because with your
body comes your choice. At the same time, I just can’t understand why a mother is
shamed for feeding her child in public, which is the natural purpose of breasts to
begin with: benefiting both a mother and her child.

Breast milk contains antibodies which will protect the infant from bacterial
and viral diseases. It’s also easy to digest so the chances of a baby becoming
overweight decreases every month that they are breastfed (CDC). Breastfeeding
lowers the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and increases the
probability of an infant’s survival for the first year (NIH). For mothers who
breastfeed, the risk of ovarian cancer and certain types of breast cancer decreases
(CDC), the possibility of post-partum hemorrhage is reduced (UNICEF) and the
likelihood of developing type two diabetes is limited (Women’s Health).

Instead of telling a mother what to do, we should support her decision. This
is not only for the moms who chose to breastfeed, but also for the women who are
shamed because they don’t. Some women are physically unable to breastfeed or the
process is simply too painful for them to go through it. Breastfeeding is emotionally
and physically draining, especially for new moms, and it isn’t for everyone.

Life and decisions aren’t always black and white. We cannot judge someone
for their choices and situations if we are not apart of them. Women are given their
breasts for a reason, therefore they can decide what they want to do with them.

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