July 8, 2013 at 10:57 AM ET
A passionate ode to breastfeeding has turned into an online viral hit for a woman who decided to vent about feeling self-conscious about nursing her baby in public.
“Embarrassed,” a three-and-a-half minute spoken word poem posted last week on YouTube by British artist Hollie McNish, has already been viewed more than 200,000 times and garnered hundreds of comments.
McNish said she wrote the piece in a public bathroom, where she felt banished whenever she wanted to nurse her infant daughter.
“I was in town on my own a lot with her and the first time I fed her someone commented that I should stay home,” McNish wrote in the description of the video on YouTube.
“I was embarrassed and for six months took her into toilets when I was alone without the support of boyfriend, friends, mum etc. I hate that I did that but I was nervous, tired and felt awkward.”
The poem skewers a society that celebrates female breasts – “low cut tops cleavage and skin” -- in magazines and on billboards, but feels uncomfortable when a woman exposes a bit of flesh to nurse her baby. McNish also wonders why moms are paying for formula when their bodies produce the ideal baby nourishment for free. In the video, she recites:
“And I'm sure the milk makers love all the fuss
All the worry and stress and looks of disgust
As another mother turns from nipples to powder
Ashamed or embarrassed by comments around her”
McNish said she finds it “weird” that women nursing their infants are rarely shown on television or anywhere else in the media.
Breastfeeding rates in England have dropped for the first time in a decade, prompting a British journalist to urge Duchess Kate to set an example and openly breastfeed the royal baby when it arrives.
The trend is actually the reverse in the United States, with breastfeeding rates on the rise, according to the CDC.