Breastfeeding In Public: It's Not About YouHello! I'm a new blogger here at AustinMama.
Here's a little piece I wrote a while ago about breastfeeding in public. In light of the recent Delta Airlines brou-ha-ha, I thought it seemed particularly appropriate:
When my first son was a baby, I nursed in private. In the first few months of his life, we saw the insides of more dressing rooms and restrooms than I care to count. When we were at parties or social gatherings, the tiniest whimper sent me fleeing from the bean dip to a back bedroom, where I'd usually perch uncomfortably on a pile of coats in the dark, listening to others having fun through the closed door. By the time I got back to the party, the bean dip was always gone.
When my second child was four weeks old, we went to dinner with my husband, my two brothers, and several of their friends. I was thrilled to be out. Weeks of watching daytime TV creates desperation for adult socialization. But, as if on cue, the minute the meal was set in front of me the baby began to fuss.
So I headed for the bathroom -- the refuge of banished nursing mothers. This one had no couch. No chair. Not even a bench. "Great," I muttered, heading for the largest stall. Once inside, I passed over the questionable toilet seat (none of those handy sanitary covers), got Isaac attached, and leaned back against the wall. My arms ached, and the cold metal of the toilet-paper dispenser pressed into my lower back. A symphony of flushing toilets and various bathroom sounds accompanied my baby's meal. I thought of my own steak and potatoes, growing cold on the table.
"Baby," I addressed little Isaac, "This is $&%*ing stupid."
We walked back to the table. "The baby is hungry," I announced to six twentysomething men. "I am going to feed him. Here."
I sat down, lifted my shirt, latched him on, and dug into my steak. A few uncomfortable seconds later, the guys forgot all about us and returned to their conversation. I, however, had been liberated!
After that, we breastfed everywhere and anywhere Isaac happened to get hungry. The lawn furniture department at Target. Benches in the middle of the mall, at museums, at the zoo. And once, at my table in a Hooters restaurant, where a woman sent me dirty looks as I discreetly nursed my baby -- while her preteen sons ogled multiple sets of barely-covered, pushed-up breasts.
Apparently, breasts on display for a sexual function are OK, while those used to nourish a baby are indecent.
A PSA for all those who are shocked by those women who would do that, right there in front of everyone: really. It's not about you. If you can even see any skin (most of the time, the baby's head is in the way), you can always look away. I mean, really, why are you staring in the first place?
It's not about being an exhibitionist. I've yet to see a nursing mother who yelled "Look, everyone! Boobs!"
It's not about sexual indecency. Moms of new babies are generally a droopy, exhausted, spit-up covered mess. Do you think we're really trying to turn anybody on?
It's pretty much all about having a hungry baby who needs to eat, right now. And I don't know about you, but I'd rather not live months of my life hidden away in dressing rooms or feeding my little one in a germy, nasty restroom.
So, you've heard all my arguments, but still can't get comfortable with a woman breastfeeding in your general vicinity as you take in your meal?
No problem. Why don't you just go eat in the bathroom?
That's what I thought.
posted by Meagan Francis @ 11:16 PM