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?

This entry was posted in breastfeeding, brouhaha, help a sister out, twitter, women. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Breastfeeding

  1. robpixaday says:

    Not a mother, either.

    I don’t like seeing ANYONE eat in public, much less tiny humans attached to naked female body parts. It can be noisy, too. I don’t like hearing grown men eat oysters, teenagers crunch popcorn, or infants do that sucking thing that they do. I don’t think people should be jailed for it; I just don’t want to be around it. Any of it.

    I suppose that after a while the serenity/beauty aspect gives way to the drudgery of having to provide balanced baby-friendly meals non-stop to another person, one who can’t hold a knife and fork and who doesn’t undertand that Mom Needs a Break.

    And then there are breast pumps…last time I worked in an office there was a lady there who took one of them into the restroom (which was tiny, badly soundproofed, and in the immediate vicinity) at least once a work day and did her thing. Yowee! Even people on the phone knew what was going on. She might as well have been slurping raw meat off a shish-kabob, for the racket it made.


  2. Steph says:

    Cue Steph’s rant!

    Ok, I breastfed my kids in public, even pushing a grocery cart. Those cover things? Might have well as been peek a boo games with every old man who was looking at me funny (Kid goes Peek! Hey old man! These are my mom’s tits and they are grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat!”) I was pretty subtle about the whole thing, usually they would be in the sling and I would be all covered.

    I was always more concerned about people seeing my belly than my boobs because after 3 kids, I assure you that is the nasty part of the equation

    Why did I do it? Because my kid was hungry. Not hungry in 5 minutes. Not hungry when we get to the car. hungry NOW. So I fed the kid. Can you imagine what would have happened if I had sat down for 20 min to feed my 3rd with the older 2 in tow in a grocery store? It would have been a disaster. Also, if the kid is eating, the kid is quiet.

    Know what happens if you don’t feed that crying kid? Ok, yes, they continue to cry. That’s obvious. But even worse, when the babies cry, the milk lets down. It’s an automatic function of the body. Yaaaaaaaaaaay! Milk everywhere! So much more embarassing than a flash of boob in public

    In conclusion: I didn’t do it to piss people off or make a statment. Just feeding the kid in the way that is actively encouraged by most people involved.

    Also, it sucks that someone would have to pump in the bathroom. It’s way nicer to have aquiet place (boss’ office? Unused meeting room?) to pump in because you probably won’t be bothering anyone there. And yes, the co-worker probably did have to pump. Breasts don’t have an off button, if you don’t pump for 4 hours, not only does it HURT, it’s also a good way to get mastitis.

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