This article originally appeared on Breastfeeders in Australia and has been republished here with permission. By Lauren Elise Threadgate.
Hi. My name is Lauren and I’m a Peaceful Lactivist.
I can hear your surprise at my label. It almost feels like an oxymoron. Lactivists aren’t peaceful. The stereotypical lactivist is often out looking for a fight against medical professionals, formula manufacturers and anyone who doesn’t do it HER way, which is obviously the RIGHT way and the ONLY way to do things. She believes everyone should breastfeed at all costs, and if you don’t you are inferior. She is smug, aggressive and probably has hairy legs. Well actually… I do usually have hairy legs.
I am the silent majority
The silent majority of women who have successful breastfeeding journeys, and who meet (and even exceed) their personal goals are happy and proud. I don’t want to make anyone breastfeed if they don’t want to. But if you want to breastfeed and you need help, you can ask me and I’ll tell you whatever I know. If you look interested enough, you might not be able to shut me up. A woman’s body’s ability to nourish her baby amazes me and I’m always delighted with the opportunity to help someone else see that.
Breastfeeding is amazing, and I am grateful my body, in this instance, has worked the way it should. I’m thankful for people who helped me get through. I’m inspired by the way it’s made me feel as a woman and mother, and I’m blessed to see it help my babies grow. I don’t want to be on a pedestal, and I don’t want to put anyone down. I feel I am doing as I should. My body is working the way it should. Nothing more, nothing less.
I can’t get angry about breastfeeding
I’m disappointed that women are systematically let down by a society that doesn’t place enough value on the power of breastfeeding. It makes me sad that not everyone gets to feel the joy I feel about the way I feed my babies. But don’t mistake my lack of anger for apathy. I am passionate about normalising breastfeeding.
A very experienced lactivist recently scoffed at me and told me it’s because of the love hormone, oxytocin, and that when I’m finished breastfeeding, I will be angry. Maybe so. But right now, I am a peaceful lactivist.
Lauren is a 31-year-old mum breastfeeding both of my kids (sometimes even at the same time) and am passionate about breastfeeding education, normalisation and advocacy. You can follow her on Instagram or via her blog.