Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Baring It All

Breastfeeding in public has become a very hot topic recently.  A couple breastfeeding things, actually.  But specifically, the blogosphere is battling it out regarding this topic.  So it got me thinking.

And in case you are wondering, my views on this have not changed since becoming a BF mom, they have become more deeply rooted.  Just want to put that out there.

Many, many, MANY people, men and women alike, are put off by breastfeeding in public.  Specifically, breastfeeding in public without covering up.  There are a myriad of reasons for this.  And, everyone is entitled to their opinion.  I want to share some posts with you:

This is a post about why we should cover up: Because my husband likes boobs. 

This post talks very rationally about the hangup: Breastfeeding in public makes me uncomfortable.  *I loved this post.

I wanted to hop on my soap box and shout to the world just how ridiculous I thought some of the
reasoning was.
But I remembered that A: I am uber-liberal and should remember that others aren't always as open.
B: I have seen things that many have not, and very little makes me uncomfortable.
So, I won't lecture, rant, or rave. But I will ask you to consider the following things:
  • It takes a lot of courage to BF in public in our society with its myriad of hangups about the female body.  
  • Like Julia Roberts says in "Notting Hill", "They're just breasts.  Every 2nd person in the world has them.  Your mother has them."  In many cultures breasts aren't sex objects, thighs are.  Breasts are biologically functional, with sexuality being a side benefit.
  • Do we ask people in uber-revealing clothing to cover up?  Generally not.  
  • What do you do if you are at the beach and women are wearing thong bikinis?  You ignore them.  Or you stare.  But you don't tell them to cover up.
  • If someone in a restaurant has horrid table manners and the way he/she eats makes you want to give up food, do you ask them to eat elsewhere?  Nope.
  • Have you ever tried to nurse under a cover?  It's not easy.  Even the ones designed specifically for such a task still cause difficulties.  And my baby at least, grabs at it, making it that much more difficult.  Plus, I end up fumbling, which frustrates an already hungry babe.  Covers are really designed for the comfort of mom, not others.
  • Would you want to eat separate from others in some little room you need a map to get to?  Or worse, on a public toilet?  Probably not.  It works for some.  But not everyone.  
  • Think about WHY it really bothers you.  What is the trigger?  If it is the "modesty" imposed by our media and society, take a look around you at what little girls and teenagers are wearing and ask yourself which is more modest: discreetly breastfeeding where very little shows, or the clothes we wear. 
  • Yes, nursing is an intimate act, but so is holding hands or kissing your significant other in public.  I think those acts are more intimate.  But that's just me.
  • Breastfeeding has been happening since before we stopped using our knuckles to walk.  It is one of the most natural things out there.  And one of the healthiest for babe.  Not everyone can do it. But for those that tread that road, remember bullet point #1.
I shall leave you to consider these things.  Maybe if you are one of the people discomfited by public BF, you can consider these things before you turn your head in embarrassment or disgust.  

As for me, I'm going to nurse wherever necessary.  And that's just me.  It's what works for me.  


  1. It's weird, I am not against public breastfeeding. And I would never tell someone not to do it. And in theory, I am all for it. But I wouldn't do it. I am a naturally shy-er person and don't like to be stared at/ etc... so it's not for me. And in fact, when people whip it out and I can see the boob, it can be a little distracting for me. I usually just deal and move on. The thing is I know it is MY issue. And I can't even really say it's an issue... just a "discomfort"? And I don't know where it really stems from. It's interesting to think about it.

  2. You go girl. I use a cover but Jellybean pulls it off - often. Or sticks an arm out or something else. If I'm sitting in my car or such. I don't cover up! :)

  3. I've had my boobs exposed in more public places than I care to think about. I've learned that Bubba will not eat covered up and lately he's started to flirt with his surroundings while eating! I try to pick secluded spots and choose a good bf top so I don't have to show the whole belly AND boob area, but ultimately it's a good thing I'm Swedish and was born with no body shame :)


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