i fear the wrath of mothers everywhere…

I grew up in a home that was often overrun with pregnant women and babies. Mom was a Bradley natural childbirth instructor and a card carrying member of the La Leche League – information and support to breastfeeding mothers. So I’ve seen a fair share of breastfeeding in my time… fully respect and concur with the American Academy of Pediatrics urging mothers to breastfeed for at least a year, if not three… and am all for Va. Code § 18.2-387 (1994) which exempts mothers engaged in breastfeeding from indecent exposure laws.

But I must admit I was a bit put off by a nearby diner in the Lebanese Taverna who ended her meal with breastfeeding rather than baklava. At the risk of sounding like a spokesperson for Freedom Airlines, I think my better half put it best when she said "C’mon now… no one wants to see that."

It’s not that she shouldn’t feel free to breastfeed her child in public. Rather, it was the fact that she had made an effort to cover up what was going on with a small cloth – which fell off about 10 seconds after she put it on – and made no effort to re-cover.

Perhaps I shouldn’t assume, but it seems to me that if she made the effort to cover-up, than either (a) she understands that some people are uneasy when exposed breasts accompany their dinner or, (b) she wants to protect herself from voyeurs from making the experience uncomfortable.

So, if my assumptions are correct, but by not-recovering she either (a) decided she didn’t care or, (b) decided that she liked it. Regardless, it just seems rude, especially when her girlfriend seemed more than willing to lend a hand.

5 Comments so far

  1. Tiff (unregistered) on November 30th, 2006 @ 10:25 am

    What exactly are you seeing that you don’t want to see? There’s no breast in that picture. She’s clearly using her shirt to cover up as much as possible.

    I see more boob standing in line next to the tabloids at the supermarket than I do with a breastfeeding mother.

    I love this schizophrenic relationship we seem to have with motherhood- Get out of the house! A woman’s place doesn’t have to be in the home! Have a life and a career if you want one! But don’t you DARE feed your child outside your own home or a nasty dirty public restroom… Oh yeah, and don’t ever expose any part of your breasts unless it’s for men’s enjoyment.

    (I don’t have kids, but I’m really tired of the boobie double standard.)

  2. chris (unregistered) on November 30th, 2006 @ 11:03 am

    I’ve always been one to take the road labeled, “if you don’t like it, don’t look at it.” I don’t think other people have to live that way, but it seems like it may cut out a lot of undue stress in people’s lives.
    Personally I don’t see anything disgusting or indecent about a woman breastfeeding her child and I’ve never understood the hang-ups people have about it. Besides, the woman’s nipple is being covered by the feeding child, isn’t that the dirty nasty part that nobody is supposed to see?

  3. Victoria (unregistered) on November 30th, 2006 @ 1:18 pm

    I personally don’t have a problem with women breastfeeding in public, and this photo looks like she was being somewhat discreet. It’s entirely possible that she has one of those babies that don’t like to be covered. Given the fact that she originally attempted to cover herself, and was unsuccessful, I’d cut her some slack.

  4. Carl Weaver (unregistered) on November 30th, 2006 @ 2:27 pm

    I’m all for public breastfeeding. I think it’s unhealthy to say that the only place you can feed your baby is in private, as if it were some dirty deed or sexual act. We aren’t talking about smoking opium here, just doing something nourishing for the baby and fostering a close connection between mother and child. I think it’s a beautiful thing.

    That being said, I am a little uncomfortable with it but that’s my personal issue. I used to get a little weird and worry that it was obvious I was looking away, but also didn’t want to look on. I am also just a little uncomfortable with people making out in public, guys holding hands and street mimes. but should we ban those things? Certainly not.

    Well, maybe the street mimes.

  5. becca (unregistered) on December 1st, 2006 @ 10:37 am

    I breastfeed my 12 month old son. Ever since he was old enough to have an opinion (about 2 minutes old), he would take whatever cloth I was trying to cover his head with and push it away as violently as he could. He HATES having his head covered, by anything, but especially when breastfeeding. So ya know what? I don’t cover it. It’s more important that my baby gets the nutrients and comfort that he needs than that you have a boob-free meal. I’m not going to intentionally flash you, but he’s gotta do what he’s gotta do.

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