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Friday, December 30, 2011

Breastfeeding in Public

English: WPA poster promoting breast feeding a...
Image via Wikipedia
This morning I read the story on Strollerderby about Kasey Kahne and his tweet (find it here) wherein he expressed his dislike for a naked breastfeeding boob hanging out at a supermarket.

I gather it wasn't a very nice boob (in his opinion) and perhaps if it had been a gorgeous, shapely 20-something woman with beautiful breasts wandering around naked, squeezing the fruit maybe he wouldn't have been so put out. But who knows?

It got me to thinking about the whole debate regarding breast-feeding in public. As a mother who breastfed my son for about 9 months I will tell you right now that I fed that boy in public. Yes I did.

Before any of the hardcore breast-feeding advocates bitch about me only sticking in there for 9 months, you should know that my son decided to wean himself at that time and unlike some other mothers I know personally, I decided not to force the issue by jamming my nipple in his mouth until he either suckled or starved.  So don't bother sending me emails about how we should breastfeed for anywhere from 3 to 7 years because I will just print them out and use them for playtime with the paper shredder.

This post is not a debate on the health benefits of breastfeeding. This is a post about common decency.

This might come as a shock, hippy mamas, but NO ONE WANTS TO SEE YOUR BOOB except your infant, yourself and your partner. And every now and then a doctor but that is their job. They may or may not actually want to see it.

They make these things called cover ups, shawls, blankies, and even shirts that allow you to breastfeed discreetly in public. Look them up. Peruse a few breastfeeding supply websites. Buy one. Make your own. Heck, you probably already have a tea towel laying around - use that.

I can't count the number of times I sat in a restaurant booth with my jacket over my son and my chest while he fed. I did not just drag my milk-sodden boob out while he slurped away in front of the family next table over.

Here's another tip - while your mommy friend probably doesn't give a crap if you whip it out on her couch while over for a visit (I certainly don't care), she probably doesn't want her child or husband to see it. Because she has enough parenting going on without having to explain breastfeeding to her kids and her husband likely feels uncomfortable with his wife's friend's boob on display.

A harbour seal breast feeding a pup. Isle of S...
Image via Wikipedia
This seal is nursing her pup. In public! ;)
I frankly don't even mind if a little swell of bare breast is poking out. Who cares - it's nothing that doesn't show in a bikini. Recently a momma friend of mine was over with her new little girl for a visit and breastfed several times, a few feet away from me. Never once did I see her boob. It can be done, people!

It's about respecting yourself and those around you. Find a balance. Please.

Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing and a lasting bond between mother and infant so lets keep it that way. Tommy the homeless guy on the corner, little Sally at the playground and my SRD don't need to be involved.

And keep this in mind - if you refuse to be discreet while nursing in public, you just might be the ones ruining that right completely for the rest of us.

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