Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Fighting for Breastfeeding in Public

Its a rather old post now, but for a week or so Myspace was full of people against breastfeeding in public. I spent hours educating ignorant people about what breasts are really there for. Below are some of my happy replies..

Breasts are not sexual. They are food for babies. A penis is sexual. A vulva is sexual. Urinating is not the same as feeding your baby. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"? I would absolutly welcome any mother into my home who breastfeeds, even if she does so in public. =) I commend mothers who nurish their children when they need to, and don't cater to other peoples ignorant feelings. Other countries don't have this issue. America has sexualized breasts. Nursing mothers are reclaiming them for what they are made for. You're right. It is beautiful and sacred. And I can cherish that moment as much as I want to, no matter where it is.

What you deem a private thing, is obviously not for everyone. Breastfeeding is legal and an inherant right of women. So is covering up. Are there laws against people wearing bikini's on the beach or thongs hanging out the back of pants? Why not? They offend me. I don't like them. In life there will ALWAYS be things that you dont like. Turn away and dont look then.

Seriously. I don't mean to be rude, and I apologise if it comes off that way.. but I really am tired of people telling nursing mothers that they are not considering other peoples feelings, or being descrete. Its an opinion! Some women don't think women should wear pants either. Or wear their hair down. Or shave. Or work outside the home. etc etc. They are breasts. They are nipples. WE ALL HAVE THEM! Why are men allowed to not wear a shirt, and yet women have to? Why are their nipples allowed to see the sun, but ours must be covered up? Because of the unneeded sexualization this country has done. Nothing more.


If a child asked why the ladys shirt was up, the mother could always say, "She's feeding her baby breastmilk." ???!!! OMG! Ever consider the truth? Why do people feel the need to shelter and hide it? THAT is what prepetuates this stupid sexualization! We need MORE public feeding, not less!

Not all children can drink from a bottle. And not all mothers can pump their breastmilk. And some of us can pump, but we choose not to. Remember that? CHOICE.

I choose to breastfeed. I choose to breastfeed my 3 year old and my 4 month old. I choose to breastfeed them in public. I choose to not cover up when I do so. I choose to not pump. Most mothers I know pump only because they need to be away from their baby, not because they are in public. And really.. why should they go through all the extra effort (and it is!) to pump their breastmilk, just so some stranger won't be offended.?! Also, switching between breastfeeding and bottlefeeding CAN have a negative effect on the child. Many children wean far too early because of it, and I'm sure I don't have to tell you why breastfeeding is so important and desired. Obviously if the mother has chosen to breastfeed, then she doesn't want to do anything to impact that relationship... but you'll expect her to pump and possibly lessen her supply, cause discomfort or pain, more time wasted, maybe more money spent for a better breastpump and even cause nipple confusion and early weaning, all for strangers comfort??

I don't think so.


I become aroused when someone touches the back of my neck too. Or when I get a back rub. There are many erogenous zones across the body. My nipples also become erect when I'm cold, or the wind blows. It doesn't make them, my neck, back, or nipples, sexual objects. By your thinking, that would mean that mens nipples are sexual objects as well, becaue they do get erect with stimulation as well. Why then, are they allowed to have them exposed?

If a male got an erection on the bus, I'm quite sure no one would know it! You don't think it happens all the time?? LOL Please! Penis's and Vulvas are sexual parts. You put them together to have intercourse to make babies. Mkay? Breasts are there to FEED the baby that you make. You can't even compare them so stop trying.

If everyone ran around naked, I'd be perfectly fine with that. At the very least, legalization that made it legal for women to be shirtless like men would make me happier.


And in almost every single state, except a few.. breastfeeding is EXEMPT from those laws. The states that don't say it, simply don't have any laws protecting it. There are no laws that say its illegal in the US. And in fact, its a constitutional god given right and also protected Federally on federal property.

If you don't want to see other women breastfeeding, or you don't want your child to view it, I suggest you stay inside your home, or build a nice little Anti-public breastfeeding commune for yourself. =)



And in the summer? It gets HOT under a blanket! I wouldn't put my baby through that no matter who it made happier. After a few months my children wouldn't stand a blanket over their heads either. And all it does is call attention to the breastfeeding woman next to you. Seriously people.. open your eyes! I'll bet there have been women breastfeeding right next to you and you didn't even know. Because most mamas are able to do it descreetly anyway without blankets or things.

How many of us do you really think WANT to show the world their breasts? Personally, I don't even wear a bikini at the beach. When my daughter was born I used to sit in the car to nurse. I used to go to bathrooms and straddle toilets. And guess what? I missed out on so much. One shopping trip took hours because I had to keep going back to the car. Babies are not always predictible. They go through grow spurts and times where they eat every 5 minutes. Its simply not practical to sit in a car every time they're hungry. Early motherhood is hard enough... don't make it harder by secluding yourself because you feel you have no choice.

I got myself a decent sling, and I nurse her everywhere no matter what I'm doing. (the exception is driving. I don't ever take her out of her carseat while the car is moving.)

Its odd with all these arguments against public breastfeeding lately, or people demanding others to "cover up." I've been breastfeeding for 3 years straight now. I am currently tandem nursing a 3 year old, and a 4 month old. Not ONCE, has anyone ever said anything to me. No one has even looked at me sideways. And in the beginning, during those times I would nurse in the car.. I did it because I was scared of other peoples reactions. I did it because I was ashamed of accidentally showing anything to strangers. I had never seen anyone else nursing. Ever. I couldn't feel comfortable with my choice, because I had no one around me to normalize it.

After a while of hiding, I decided I couldn't do it anymore. It took awhile for me to really FEEL comfortable nursing in public.. but after I mastered it. Its very liberating and freeing. No one else controls how I think, or act. Why should they control where I feed my baby? And like I said, I have never even heard one remark or comment. No one has ever stared at me or made feel ashamed. So where are all of these people who think its rude? I certainly didn't see any in the smiling faces that walked past me, or the mothers who gave a wink.

I now make sure that I breastfeed wherever and whenever I need to. I don't flash my breast around by all means, but I'm no longer worried if I accidentally show a tiny piece of white skin.

I'm feeding my baby. Nothing more. And yet, it IS doing something much more. Its making it normal for others around me. Its giving other people an alternative. Its showing little girls who walk past me, that THAT is what breasts where made for. Its teaching little boys the ultimate respect for women. And most importantly....
Its supporting the other nursing mother who might be too ashamed to sit down with her crying baby and feed him because she's in a public place. And perhaps my confidence will give her the confidence to let her fears of offending people go, and do what comes naturally... nurture her baby.


  1. Quite well written Ana. I agree with you whole heartedly. I myself was the first to nurse my children within my own family..and there are over 35 of my cousins who were never or never themselves considered nursing. I nursed my toddlers.. and preschoolers as well. Though I never had the honor of nursing two at a time. What a wonderful opportunity. I opened a doorway.. and now I have nursing aunts, sisters, and cousins. We all need to spread the word about breastfeeding public/private.. everywhere.

  2. Thats awesome that you were able to set such a positive example for your family! I hope that my nursing can do the same thing for others. =) I only want to normalize breastfeeding. Thats all.

    It makes me so sad to realize that some children don't even know what breastfeeding is. They think all babies drink from bottles and even think its gross or sexual abuse to nurse. Truelly sad. =( So Yay for us!! We ARE making a difference! =) I know I have educated children without meaning to, simply by being seen nursing my children. Sometimes thats all it takes..