I realize this topic is everywhere and I probably don’t need to add my two cents. Moreover, if you’re reading my blog, you probably already agree with me. Still, I cannot help myself. Deep breath. Climbing on the soapbox.
The NY State Museum–a place I’ve visited several times–recently required a woman who was nursing her 2 month old to either feed her baby in the bathroom or leave. In NY, as in most states (including SC), a woman may breastfeed in public anywhere she is permitted to be. Why is this civil right so difficult to understand? I’m blown away that this basic human survival mechanism is even an issue. Then I read the comments in the news post. They are always the same. And they always indicate a profound misunderstanding of the incredible way human babies have eaten since the first baby was born! Before I breastfed, I might have thought this way, too.
Why doesn’t she bring a bottle? Well, perhaps her baby won’t take a bottle. Perhaps she is concerned about nipple confusion. Perhaps she doesn’t want to worry about pumping, milk storage temperature, and finding a place to warm a bottle. Perhaps she knows that breastfeeding leads to better oral alignment than bottle feeding. Perhaps she knows that breastfeeding is better for maintaining milk supply than pumping. This list goes on.
Why doesn’t she feed her baby at home? Well, 2 month olds eat frequently. The NY State Museum has a cafe on the 4th floor for the patrons. Why shouldn’t the 2 month old eat? If the mom is to feed her baby at home only, then she has a small window of time she can leave the house!
Why doesn’t she feed her baby in the bathroom? Um, gross. Would you eat in a public restroom? Do bottle-feeding moms have to feed their babies in the bathroom?
Why doesn’t she cover up? Well, this mom was covered up. But she didn’t have to be. The law does not require her to cover up. Some babies won’t tolerate a blanket covering them while they eat (case-in-point Norah). I keep hearing the phrase “whip out a boob.” I’ve never seen a mother breastfeeding in a public place who whipped out her breast. Most moms are trying not to call attention to what they are doing. The baby typically offers plenty of coverage. Still, even if they “whip out a boob,” they are within their rights to do that.
Why is she so uncaring of my poor husband’s/teen son’s sensibilities? This comment really bugs me. It is this “sensibility” that keeps perpetuating the argument! Moms breastfeeding in public provide a perfect teaching moment for you to remind teens that the primary function of breasts is to feed babies. Breastfeeding is healthy for both mom and baby in so many ways (101, in fact). And if the sight of a lactating mom sends your hubby spiraling into sexual fantasy–well, maybe he needs some counseling.
Did I miss any of the common concerns that the uninformed have regarding feeding our babies? I remember reading the story of a doctor working in a non-Western country. He walked into a room of mothers nursing their babies. There was a flurry of covering up. Only…the moms were covering their heads; not their nursing babies.
very well articulated, hot stuff. i sometimes do “whip out the boob” because now i’ve seen so many of them, so many times, that it is about as bizarre as whipping out my elbow. it still is profoundly shocking to me that otherwise sane people are offended by nursing. but maybe, looking around at the state of the world, i am overestimating the majority’s sanity. tsk tsk to the museum… supposedly a place of culture, where there are probably paintings and sculptures of breasts, uncovered, everywhere.
I opened American Baby magazine today (which I normally read and get irritated by all the formula ads) and saw an ad for Stoneyfield YoMommy yogurt showing a beautiful full color picture of a mom breastfeeding! I had to go immediately to http://www.yobabyyogurt.com and send a note of praise. Yay YoBaby!
These things get me so upset. Bathrooms are the most disgusting places on earth. Fecal matter flies through the air in a mist from the flushing toilets, and I would challenge any of these jerks who think it’s a good place for a baby to eat to take their burger and fries and see how they like eating next to someone who is having a big ole BM. The flushes can also scare babies. Suzi’s only been in a public restroom four or five times, and never to breastfeed!
Jenny, you are hilarious!! PLEASE, I would LOVE to invite someone to take their sushi into the bathroom (and usher them into the 2nd stall, which is the most used, btw…)
Albany moms held a nurse-in at the Museum. http://wnyt.com/article/stories/S355090.shtml?cat=10114
Museum responds confidently that “it wasn’t our staff.”
Well…I know this is the wrong way to feel but reading this makes me want to take my baby and “whip out my boob” somewhere that I know people will be strange about it!!! Julie, this was very well written and I think it is CRAZY to treat mommies that way. My daughter is the same as yours, she REFUSES to be covered! I even have the cute little hooter hider and she will not have it!! And any man who is excited by a mother nursing is a little off anyways!!
A-MEN! I believed in it 30+ years ago and support it even more today. (Scott is making a face about now.) Every time I get a mamogram, they ask if I breast fed my children. When I tell them yes, they always tell me that it reduced my chances for breast cancer. But most importantly, it was then and is now, healthy for babies. So…mothers, whip those boobies out and feed those babies. Sick men…build a bridge and get over it!!
…throwing up now….thanks mom
Great website!! Keep up the good work!!