Friday, November 17, 2006


Ok, I advocated adoption last post, let me drag out my soapbox for another fave topic of mine: Breastfeeding.

Let me say right up front that I am totally for CHOICE. A mother should have the right to choose any parenting style that suits her. Each of us makes our mothering choices based on what's convenient for us, perceived to be best for our family, etc. This is our right. I'm a firm believer in this. I am NOT flogging breastfeeding as the be-all-and-end-all-do-it-or-you're-a-bad-mom sort of thing.

I only draw the line in things that might endanger your child (like not using a carseat) or might endanger MY child (like not vaccinating your child) - but these are hot topics for another post.

Today let's talk about BOOBIES!

Have you heard about this? A mom was supposedly removed from a Delta flight after refusing to cover up with a blanket while breastfeeding her 22 month old. Vermont (which has some of the most liberal breastfeeding laws) mothers staged a 'nurse in' at the airport in protest and fascinating discussions ensued on the MSN boards, and the Babycenter feeding choices board.

What's your take on it? I agree that we might not be hearing the whole story. Several suggested that the baby was screaming disruptively, (although the Delta rep didn't say this) while some felt mom might have been exposing too much. Hold that thought. I'll come back to that.

Others mentioned that the child was almost two years old and that's 'too old to be nursing'. This is patently absurd and a prime example of warped societal brainwashing. Uhm, who are you to say that age two is too old to nurse when the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding "up to two years of age or beyond"?

I read a few replies on the MSN board (all from men) who said that the woman was 'combative' and 'looking for a fight' by not covering up with the blanket and they all asked why she just didn't cover up.

Well, to use a good analogy from someone else: how would YOU feel if a bunch of vegetarians claimed to be offended by your eating a steak in a restaurant and asked you to just cover yourself with a handy blanket? Wouldn't you be outraged? But, hey, veggies and vegans are totally repulsed at seeing us carnivores shove animal flesh into our gobs. Would you eat under a blanket to keep the peace?

I didn't think so.

So here's MY thing: Who decided that the human breast was obscene? WHY is the human breast considered obscene? WHY is a man's nipple perfectly acceptable seen in public but a woman's nipple cause for hysteria? Because it produces milk? Where's the logic in that?

It wasn't long ago that the female navel was considered taboo, and before that, the leg. Isn't it about time to admit that there is nothing inherently dirty or lewd about a damned breast? If you say: well it's also sexual or is used for sex, yeah, well, so is a woman's MOUTH. Let your nasty mind dwell on that one for a bit. Should we also ban kissing? Or just make all women wear veils?

What sort of pathological mind looks at a nursing baby and thinks of sex, anyway? A nursing mother is feeding her child not performing a hootchie-cootchie dance. If female nipples offend you so badly, why are you looking at them?

I hate the argument of "I shouldn't have to see that".

Yeah, well *I* shouldn't have to look at white trash women smoking in their cars with the windows up and children inside. *I* shouldn't have to look at suburban women heading to the Old Navy in their obscenely huge SUVs whilst simultaneously yakking on their cell phones and failing to use their turn signals. *I* shouldn't have to look at prepubescent girls wearing flesh-baring low-slung pants with words like 'sexy' and 'hot stuff' written across the arse. *I* shouldn't have to look at pregnant just-barely-teenagers in bedroom slippers and too-tight clothing scuffing around my local Wal Mart.

We have a truly effed up conception of sexuality in this country today. We sexually stereotype our children - especially our girls, allow them to watch the STUPIDEST things on television. We honour and adore criminals and low-lives, women abusers and deadbeat dads, who happen to be musicians or sports figures, eat up sex-gossip about complete wastes of DNA like P*ris Hilt*n and K-F*d.

But a mother putting her child on her breast to eat is a scandal?


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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 8:43 am   10 comments


At 2:44 pm, Blogger Mrs.Chili said...

Let me be the first to holler "AMEN!"

I nursed both of my babies and, thankfully, I was never chastized for it - though there was a rukus raised at the health club one day while I was nursing Beanie - in the NURSERY, People! It never amounted to anything, really - I made the point that I was in the NURSERY - you know, where they keep the babies? - and to back off my Mama-Bear self. They did, but when they built the new child care rooms, they added a small "nursing room" so mothers could have "privacy." Ugh.

I'm right with you on what we should consider obscene. I was in a store today, as a matter of fact, and came across a holiday dress, in the children's department, that was come-and-get-me red and strapless. STRAPLESS! It was a size 7! THAT'S obscene.

At 3:02 pm, Blogger Tina Rock said...

I nursed for a year with my daughter and I am fortunate that no one ever had the nerve to say something to my face about it. First off, I don't see how you can be exposing too much while breastfeeding! The baby's mouth is usually covering up the nipple unless it slips off. I always used a weighted nursing blanket to cover up and sometimes my baby would move it out of the way so that she could see HER world while she ate. So a nipple pops out for a moment So what! I get so angry when I hear these things. I think that as long as you aren't going around shirtless who is really paying attention. I had people who wanted to see the baby and sometimes they were so oblivious to what was going on that they didn't even realize the baby was eating! I can't imagine that the woman was sitting there with her shirt off. I have had to wait before to breastfeed because of my location and I can say from experience that it isn't possible to make the baby wait through an entire flight. As for the comments about the child being fussy, the kid probably just needed to eat and it isn't possible for a child to cry and nurse at the same time.

At 3:30 pm, Anonymous AJG said...

Just found your blog today, and I'm in total agreement that there shouldn't be (and isn't!) anything obscene about breastfeeding. Or breasts period, for that matter.

This situation is a prime example of how difficult it is to create a balanced set of social standards in a society that values both personal freedom and tolerance. People feel entitled to live life on their own terms but also to demand protection from the ‘life terms’ of others. Those two pursuits, though stemming from the same ideals, can crash together like a train wreck in public arenas, like say, when people are squashed together on a plane for six hours.

While the "I shouldn't have to see that" argument is often cited by puritanical idiots too out of touch with their own bodies to appreciate that lactation is NATURAL, it can also come from those whose religion or culture views the body as too sacred for public spaces (evidenced by Orthodox Jews and Muslims covering their hair, Fundamentalist Christians wearing modest dress styles, etc) I seriously doubt the plane was exclusively populated by people on the ‘sacred body’ side of the fence, but it deserves mention that the impulse to hide something from sight can sometimes come out of respect instead of shame. (Ok, you could argue that the ‘respect’ angle is really just a front for institutionalized shame, but that’s another issue entirely…)

At 7:47 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember taking my nephew to a kid-friendly-pizza-establishment several years ago and seeing a mother breastfeeding. It really freaked me out, and I was taken aback to see someone doing that in public. She actually had a blanket over the child and was very discrete about it.
Since then, I have had a baby and breastfed for a year, and my views have totally changed.
Thinking back, I knew nothing (nor cared) about breastfeeding. Now that I have done it, I have no problem with it. I guess a little education on my part changed my skewed views.

At 7:11 am, Blogger Mrs.Chili said...

p.s. - let me know when you do your vaccination post. I posted a bit about my getting a flu shot about a week or so back, and I was plenty surprised by the reaction a lot of people had - both to the post and to my getting vaccinated....

At 11:59 am, Blogger Meredith said...

Definately seconding the "AMEN!!"

I just booked a flight on Delta and let me just say that it's no suprise they're bankrupt and in the midst of a hostile takeover.

Oh, and you're very welcome for pointing out National Adoption Month.

At 6:33 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tandem my twins on a flight before and I thought that I was going to get comments for that. Luckily I didn't. I never used a blanket to nurse because it was more difficult for me to nurse that way. I also loved going to "mothers rooms" where I would be nursing where other woman were nursing. I was in one at a Babies R Us and a woman actually asked me questions about feeding twins. People need to get over themselves. It's just boobs.

At 9:08 am, Blogger macboudica said...

I breastfed my twins for over a year and it was impossible to be descrete about that even if I had wanted to. I have never understood what was so obscene about nursing? It is a child eating. Who cares? Rediculous. I saw a mom breastfeeding in a the Starbucks/Barnes&Noble the other day and I wanted to go up to her, shake her hand and tell her You Go Mommy!

At 12:45 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i realize this is way out of timing with the posting of this but i have to comment. Thank god there are real people around that realize that there is nothing obscene about brest feeding a baby. As far as those that consider it obscene grow up for heavens sake. The baby needs to eat. If you want to see something like that dont look no one is forcing you to stare at a mother feeding their child. I'm sorry but i have issues with those people in this world who figure everyone else should bend to their sense of right and wrong. Granted some things are wrong in my opinion also but i will not force my opinions on others. I expect the same consideration. Breastfeeding is a wholy natural experience and better for the baby when at all possible and if the mother wants to do so. As far as the out of respect thing well you know what if the mother doesnt have issue with feeding her child in public respect the fact that she feels no shame in doing so and she shouldnt have to be made to feel its wrong to take care of her child regardless of where she is...basically i g uess what im saying if you dont want to see something DONT LOOK....thats the long the end and the short of it, dont expect to have the world your way people there are some things in this world we have to accept as sure as we have to accept the fact that one day we will all leave it.

At 5:22 am, Anonymous Kurk said...

I wonder if nipple covers are okay for lactating moms. I don't know if there's such thing adhesive enough because of some momentary outburst of excessive milk out of the bosoms.


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