March 5, 2012

Getting Controversial

I generally stay away from controversy on here, because I really don’t like confrontation. But, I think I might have to break my rule today.

Joe, the kids, and I went out to eat on Saturday evening. While we were waiting for our food, I casually checked Facebook on my cell phone and saw a post from some group about how there is controversy surrounding Beyonce breastfeeding in a restaurant. I think the title was “Beyonce Caught Breastfeeding in Public”. Caught. Like she was doing something wrong. The irony of the situation? This is what I was doing when I read it:

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I quickly handed Joe my phone and said, “Please take a picture, I’ll be blogging about this.”

Later that night, I got on the computer and read a few articles about it - and made the mistake of reading the comments at the end of one of them…

comments1

That is a pretty good representation of the opinions I’ve seen. When I read the comments similar to that of the second one, it made me so sad and angry… and I even started to question my own actions. Had I done anything to make anyone uncomfortable? Was I oblivious to people around me giving me mean looks for feeding my baby? How many people feel this way? Should I even CARE what these people think? If I waited to leave the house in between feedings, I would never leave, and if I hid in a bathroom every time Jace was hungry when we were out of the house, I might as well pay rent for a stall.

I can somewhat understand why people have conflicting opinions about this. Joe is a plumber, and goes in countless houses every day. He has told me that on more than one occasion, he was discussing something with a customer, and she started breastfeeding mid-sentence. My first reaction is that of a wife. “You mean some woman showed you her boob?!” But then the mother in me, and common sense, quickly took over. “Well I’m sure her baby was hungry. I doubt enticing you with her leaky breast was her goal. Breastfeeding! Yea!”

Personally, I always cover up when I’m not at home. I feel more comfortable doing so. I think it’s a natural reaction to feel shocked with you see a breast in a place you wouldn’t normally. But that is where I feel like common sense has to prevail. Breastfeeding is the most natural act in the world. Breasts have been sexualized in our culture, but their true purpose is to feed babies, and I can assure you that showing off our chest is NOT on our mind when we are unhooking our nursing bra. If it’s not okay for women to breastfeed their children in public, how is it okay for the lady at the table across from you in the restaurant to wear a super low-cut shirt with her cleavage hanging out all over the place?

I know I haven’t said anything that hasn’t been said before, but I needed to vent. Breastfeeding Jace has been a wonderful experience that I want every mother to have if she chooses to. If there wasn’t such a stigma attached, and more women in the public eye breastfed openly, maybe more women would. So, GO BEYONCE!

I’ll leave you with what I posted on Facebook after reading this article

“Wth? I've nurse Jace at the park, walking around Target, Kroger, the furniture store, the mall, just about every other store in Louisville, sitting on the floor of Summer's kindergarten classroom, at our table at restaurants, at my friends' work, at countless relatives houses, at McDonalds while the kids played, I could go on... when a baby is hungry, they're hungry. I don't understand the comments on this article and I don't understand people's bizarre attitudes about the most natural thing on the planet…”

10 comments:

Mary said...

I agree with you! Breastfeeding is a natural thing and that's how you are giving your baby his food. I think if you are covered well, feeding in public is perfectly fine. As a mom who struggled with nursing and ended up having to pump, I think it's a total gift to be able to do that. If people don't like it, then don't look.

April said...

I'm with you on this one. My daughter is 6 months old and I don't have any problem breastfeeding in public, however, I do get paranoid that I'm offending someone or I'm getting dirty looks (which I have to stop caring about). But if I don't feed my baby, I'm sure the looks I'd get would be worse with a screaming baby, right? Why do people hate babies? I'm not a fan of covering up, and neither is my baby, but we do it for others, particularly my husband, who is surprisingly more conservative about such things than I ever would have imagined (this is a man who was a self-proclaimed hippie when I met him in college, and now he gets antsy about the potential of me flashing my boob to people in public, or having a little side-boob showing). The truth is, covered up or not covered up, my boob never shows. Ever. I dress in a manner that ensures that wherever I am, I can unhook with ease and feed my girl without showing any skin (interestingly enough, I'm more icked out by the prospect of showing any belly while feeding than I am about boob). Yay breast feeding!

Lacey Marie said...

I saw that article too! "Caught in public"... Seriously? If you're covered up then what is the problem? I have seen women who just whip it out before, sitting around with their nipples all out & understandably, I don't want to see ALL THAT, but whatever. I see women dressed all hoochie like with their nipples basically out all the time & am equally as turned off by that. At least the breastfeeding woman had a good reason!

D said...

I just cannot get over this mentality that if you're breastfeeding you're doing something wrong! "Caught in public."? Really? That's ridiculous! You get caught doing something like picking your nose,or scratching your butt,or setting off a nuclear bomb but caught breastfeeding? REALLY?! I mean I'm a single woman,with no children,but I don't get offended by breastfeeding. I mean why is it okay for a woman to whip out her boobs at a party,at a sporting event or Mardi Gras but it's not okay for her to breastfeed her child in public? The fact remains that if a woman whips out a breast at a party,a sporting event or Mardi Gras it's a crime. She is exposing herself to the public at large but if she's breastfeeding her child SHE is not doing anything wrong. Why is it okay for a breast to be out in one way and not in another? It's almost like people forget that breasts aren't just there to be stared at but they serve a natural function. If God hadn't intended for a woman to breastfeed her child formula would've been invented a whole Hell of a lot sooner and a woman's breast would never have milk in it in the first place.

Susie said...

I don't see a problem with it if you are covered up!! You have to feed a baby when it is hungry!! Those same people complaining would complain if the baby was screaming and you were not feeding it!!

Modest Middles Nursing Tanks said...

I agree! Go Beyonce. The more people see that breastfeeding in public is a natural part of mothering and isn't a sexual thing, the more babies will benefit! -Amy www.modestmiddles.com

amelie522 said...

What if, like my child, he freaks out and rips off the cover? Should I let him scream? The problem, as evidenced in some of these comments, is that our society has sexualized breasts to the point of no return. Now, I wear a nursing tank with a blousy shirt over it, and you can't see EVERYTHING, but you may see a little skin here or there. And you know what? If that makes you uncomfortable, that's your problem, not mine. I'm shocked that OTHER WOMEN are commenting, saying it's totally okay to nurse in public....oh, as long as you're covered up. Really? I'm not advocating for all women to flash their tatas all up in everyone else's business while nursing, but if I don't cover up enough and that makes you uncomfortable? YOU need to work on that issue. Breasts were made for GIVING BABIES MILK, not helping get a man excited (although they can certainly be used for that, too, that's not their PURPOSE). Come on, people. Let's all mature past the mindset of a 12-year old boy and realize that MOST moms that are nursing without a cover probably have a lot more to worry about that what someone thinks of their nursing boob hanging out. Like, they're probably watching a toddler or two while nursing and trying to take care of the other kids they're responsible for. I'm sure there are some women out there that want to flaunt their boobs while nursing, but that's the minority. As WOMEN, we should band together in solidarity REGARDLESS of how we nurse....or NOT nurse.

Holly said...

I'm the kind of BFer who will BF whenever and wherever I feel like it. If my baby is hungry I'm gonna feed her! No one has ever said anything to me and they'd be glad not to! I don't see what the big deal is. I'd rather see someone BFing their child than some skank in a low cut top.

Ari @ AriTiana said...

I hadn't ever really seen someone breast feed in public and my sister didn't do it with her first child because she didn't think it made a difference. Today her 2nd child was born and, to my surprise (via Skype), she was breastfeeding. She had done some research and found that it's a lot better for my niece. I don't see why anyone would have a problem with someone breastfeeding in public.

I hope you don't mind, but I linked back to your blogpost through one of my own: http://aritiana.blogspot.com/2012/03/wiaw-awakened.html

Thank you for writing this post. I hadn't ever really though about it, but if I have children of my own someday, breastfeeding (sometimes in public) would be my choice. :)

Tiffany said...

Couldn't agree more! I was a little more afraid to BF in public with Keely, but by the time I had Brynleigh I just didn't care anymore. I whipped it out everywhere. Of course I always covered myself, just because I felt more comfortable that way.

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