In a world of diapers and toys that are way too loud, the fabulous mommies of today can handle anything...and we do so in heels.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

To feed or not to feed...publicly

First off, apologies. This is my first post in a very long time. I have been so distracted lately that I've been neglecting this blog but I have so many thoughts/rants going through my head that I've definitely needed to write them down. The first is one that has been a sort of "hot button" topic for a while and probably will be for some time.

Breastfeeding in public.

Now I know that 44 states have laws with language allowing women to breastfeed in public ( and in California, for instance, women are allowed to breastfeed in public whether they are covered up or not. As a mother of two who was fortunate enough to be able to breastfeed her children, I think that this is fantastic. In the past 30 or so years, there has been a return to breastfeeding and doing things as naturally as possible for your children. And as we all know, prior to formula being invented, women breastfed their children for thousands of years. It's the way our bodies were created - to carry, then nurture, and feed our children. So. Why the animosity towards breastfeeding in public? I can understand in 1800 when it was indecent to show your ankles, that a woman would feed her baby in the privacy of her own home or tucked away in private.

However. It is 2010. Boobs are everywhere. Maybe it's that people are uncomfortable with seeing a whole breast, nipple and all, all of a sudden. But still. This is a BABY. A baby needs to eat and a mother is the source of that baby's food. Why not allow a mother to feed her child when he/she needs it? Nursing a child is not a sexual use of a boob - believe me. Is it really that wrong and offensive to nurse a child in public? I think it's amazing that in our world today where so much is tolerated and a person is considered "close minded" if they don't agree with a certain lifestyle or religion that seeing a woman simply nursing her child could cause so much raucous. I found an article about a woman in Michigan nearly being ARRESTED because she was nursing her baby in a Target ( There is a video about the story too. All I can say is that opponents of public breastfeeders had better stay out of their local Babies-R-Us stores - there are tons of women walking around feeding their babies and they would probably join forces and gang up on any opposition.

Now, a question I have is this: even though we have a legal right to nurse in public, would people really be so up in arms if the breastfeeding mother was covered up? I have a nursing cover which I use whenever I'm in public or around family or friends who I want to be modest in front of (I know my sister who doesn't have kids appreciates it!). I've seen other women at stores or restaurants doing the same. I have, though, seen women just "whip it out" and begin nursing their children. Sidenote: I don't have a problem with this, but I know that before I had kids, I was a little anxious about it (not a PROBLEM - just anxious). I was a bit anxious because I was afraid that the woman might be embarrassed if her breast was suddenly exposed when putting baby on and off. Recently we were at a museum and there was a woman sitting on a bench feeding her baby and she wasn't covered. When the baby was done, she was laying the baby down in the stroller and messing with blankets and such but her boob was still hanging out. Some teenage boys were just watching at her, not saying anything, and the woman looked up, realized they were looking at her naked boob and snapped at them, something to the effect of "you're such perverts...wait until you have a kid of your own". Could she really blame the boys? They're young and hormonal and this was a real live boob out for all to see. All I'm saying is that if she had a cover, all of that could have been avoided. I know that when I would see a woman nursing in public with a cover, I never got anxious as I knew I wouldn't get a "show"...

Anyway, could all of this craziness with harassing breastfeeding mothers be avoided if women were covered up? Not that nursing without one is wrong, but could it? I know some people are just very modest and don't want to see someone's boob, no matter what, just because of that modesty and I think that that should be respected. Note that these people don't have a problem with a breastfeeding mother nursing in public, they just don't want to see boobs. Now I'm not telling anyone what to do, of course, but perhaps just being a little more discreet, whether by using a nursing cover or just by not letting your boob hang out ten minutes past when baby is done feeding, there might not be such an uproar about it all. But whether we're discreet or not, the bottom line is that breastfeeding anywhere is a right a mother has for her child she should never be told she can't do it.