First, a few caveats: I am not a mother. I have never breastfed anyone. This is all just an opinion: mine. I don’t expect you to agree with me but that doesn’t mean I’ll allow abuse here either. No mean comments are allowed, and rudeness (unless it’s funny) isn’t allowed either.
A brouhaha started on Twitter because of a random tweet from this kid NASCAR driver (He barely looks old enough to shave, who’s taking him or his opinions seriously?) about how nasty it was that this woman was breastfeeding in the grocery store. Then he was rude to another tweeter, calling her a nasty name (I don’t know what it was; I’m coming in to this whole thing at the aftermath) then the internet blew up and he did the apology thing I hate. You know, the “I’m sorry if you were offended blah blah blah…” rather than a full on “I’m sorry. I was rude and I apologize.”
Outside of his rudeness, there stands the question: IS IT okay to breastfeed in the grocery store? Should it be okay? Should I be able to describe your nipples to my friend later? Isn’t this meant to be an intimate act between a mother and a child? Should it really be shared with a hundred strangers waiting to buy groceries? Is it really comfortable to be carrying your baby, breastfeeding and trying to push a grocery cart at the same time? And if you’re with your spouse, why wouldn’t you find a quiet corner (the pharmacy has nice chairs to rest on)?
I think my question is more: Why? Why do women breastfeed in public? Why do you, as a woman, choose to bare your breast as a food-giving tool to the public? Please explain this to me. Outside of “because I can” or “because I should be able to feed my child wherever I choose”, none of which is an actual answer (imagine your child giving you this as an answer to why they’re doing something. How quickly would you shut them down?).
To me, breastfeeding is a private act. It’s a way for a mother to build a connection to their child while nourishing them with milk and antibodies created through the mother’s body and her own health experiences. I think what I object to is the mothers who whip out their boob in the middle of any and every situation, treating their bodies like a fast food restaurant. Have some respect for your body and for your role. How do we teach children at a later age to respect and honour the food they put in their bodies when we treat the nourishment we give them when they are babies and our own bodies as nothing more than garbage?
Then there are the women who choose to breastfeed in public as a demonstration of something but then cause a scene when not everyone is on board with what they’re doing. It’s like the people who choose to dress outside of societal norms and then cause a scene when someone does a quick double-take. Look, you’re allowed to do what you like. However, I’m ALSO allowed to be surprised by it. I don’t HAVE TO treat everything you do as though it’s something I see in my life every day. My double take isn’t a judgment (mostly), it’s just SURPRISE.
There are few things as beautiful as a woman who is serenely sitting with her child, feeding him/her, saving this moment for a select few. There are few things as obnoxious as a woman popping open her blouse and bra while in the middle of a conversation. Am I wrong?