Wednesday, December 28, 2011

public breastfeeding: wrong? right? medium-well?


what's your take on public breastfeeding?

and it got me thinking.

and i'm not talking about politely-covered-with-a-blanket breastfeeding.
we're talking no-secrets-between-you-and-the-public breastfeeding.

i suppose i can see the pros and cons quite clearly on this one.

on one hand...
it's a functional thing.
we shouldn't be ashamed.
them babies gotta eat!
there's more nudity than that in classical art.

on the other hand...
what about public decency?
and respect for other people's comfort levels?
how hard is it to drape a blanket over yourself?

but i suppose my take is...
live and let live.

public breastfeeding doesn't really rub me the wrong way.
or the right way.
it doesn't really rub me any way at all, actually.

and if i'm ever out in public,
with my future man-child,
and we are to see such a thing,
then well....
i'd probably quite frankly inform him that she is breastfeeding her child, and if we feel uncomfortable we can choose to look away.

and then i'd drop it.
and buy my man-child a snowcone.
and one for me too.

if we're going to allow bare-chested women in public...
are we going to let the menfolk unzip & pee openly in public as well?
or scratch themselves, if needs be?
i mean, it'd be functional nudity...

sorry for any visuals i've caused.
i saw no reason to be indirect about the matter.
but it's a point to consider.

your thoughts?


Unknown said...

Umm, yeah. I'm thinkin' no. I mean, it just creates the awkward "do I look/stare do I not stare" situation. You're not supposed to look, right? So... why should somebody be putting their bosom out where you can stare? I'm all about public nursing if you can use a cover or if you do it nonchalantly in a corner.
Also, how do women feel okay with exposing that much of themselves to the public? Perhaps I'll feel differently once I've tried breast feeding...
All that being said, I don't think I'd ever tell someone off for breastfeeding out in the open in Target. I'd just walk away awkwardly and let them do their thing.

The Ballard Family said...

Hahahaha you said nom nom nom. And um yeah, I think I go with the live and let live approach as well. Can't get fully on board with either side here, so let's go for a happy medium. Just cover up a bit and that would probably help those around you feel comfortable and your baby gets to eat and all is well. Way to cover all bases on your blog, KT. :) And I don't know yet if I have said that I love the new look. I love it. :)

Jayme said...

As a non-nursing-non-mother, I just don't understand what the urgency is to just whip out the boob -- hurry and finish your shopping & go home. Aren't most babies on a pretty reliable schedule anyway? Can't you plan to find somewhere private? My mom has six kids, and I've never seen her nurse in public, save for pulling over and nursing during a long drive. I mean, I'm not opposed, I just don't understand.

Anonymous said...

Yeah... there was a lady nursing her child outside the temple at my brother-in-law's wedding, and the only thing covering her up was that kid's mouth. Maybe it's just me, but that's not exactly a memory I'd want to associate with my wedding day. I say nurse where you want, but cover up--if nothing else, then for modesty's sake.

Myke said...

But isn't peeing in public functional nudity? I won't say that ridding one's body of excess fluids is on par with nourishing it, but it's up there. If I, as a man, am required to remove myself from public view in order to relieve myself, when possible, can't a woman do the same thing to breastfeed her youngling? (Or at least do the blanket-drape thing, that doesn't bug me. That said, if one day you happen upon me at the movies or similar with a blanket draped over my lap you can assume I'm peeing into a cup or something.)

Elisabeth Gee said...

SUPER awkward!! One time I babysat for this lady who would always be breast feeding her child when I arrived. I was like twelve! It scarred me for life!! I don't appreciate it. lol :)
it may be because I was scarred as a child. lol

Clan de Carlson said...

I actually nursed my baby for 11 months (notice my word choice.... Not comfortable with breastfeed. Ew) and I must clarify a few things that are not understood by previous commentators. If shopping and the baby starts crying and you haven't nursed in 2 hours, like it or not, your body will relieve itself of the fluids. You can't hold it in like pee....Omg I wish you could. One ounce per minute.... You have less than 2 before your nursing pad has reached maximum capacity. And depending on what color of shirt/how many layers your are wearing, you might have an extra 2 minutes to find a receptor for the excess. Receptors are bottles, or baby mouths. So realistically the most logical thing to do is begin nursing said baby mouth. But that's just awkward. In 3 minutes you can have your cart dropped off at customer service and be running (litterally speed walking I suppose) to your car to do the feeding/natural bonding crap in your backseat. And the blanket cover up only makes it 20% less awkward. Because then you add the extra stare time it took you to figure out what seemed wrong with what you were looking at. And if you aren't looking, like your at church in Sunday school, then you can hear it. And for the love of Jesus people are in there. And that wad not an expression. That was litteral. So your suckling child in class will always make my mind cry from the awkwardness and I will not hear anything but suck suck swallow....suck suck swallow.... Suck suck swallow. And I cannot learn of Jesus. So nursing in church (or at the temple) may send you to Hell. BUT...... Hello? Opportunity for the normally cost-chested girl to whip out and show off a temporary set of double D's?... sounds liberating. And I wouldn't even be called a skank or arrested. Double score. AND.... As I mistakenly read about the manfork, whip it out to take a pee. Sure I may be disgusted 75% of the time... But occasionally it may be that free peep show that is the highlight of my day. My conclusion. Let the nursing mother decide what she is going to do. Decide for yourself how to react. If I see it, I darn well will start crying and pointing. If its attention she wants, it's aytention she will get. If I hear it, I will probably not supress my gagging and will shove everything and everyone out of ky way to put sound distance between us. And hopefully my new location will have some guy holding his manfork in a cup.

Clan de Carlson said...

*auto correct disclaimer. Use the context and your brain to fix my cost/flat type errors.

Matt said...

Fair warning: This comment is about to get real.

About privacy... I learned quickly that a pregnant woman gets none. You get the same amount of privacy offered to a Buick when changing out the drivetrain. Every other day it seems like somebody new is all up in your lady business. Then when you deliver it's like a public show for everyone to come by and see..... and if you doubt it, there's a real-life no-foolin' spotlight there to constantly remind you that your va-jay-jay is the new center of attention. Not to mention the lactation specialist who's shows up later to flick your nipples! It doesn't make it right or wrong, but after all that, it's no wonder women aren't shy about showing a little boob at the mall.

On etiquette... it is not okay to let strangers see your breasts. Within circles of families and close friends, you'll have to make those decisions individually, but society has its norms and public nudity is not one of them. No one is saying you can't feed your child, but you should make every effort to do so as conservatively as possible, and in a way that doesn't make those around you uncomfortable. Why? Because it's the polite thing to do.

On morality... Yes I said morality. Regardless of how doctors and nurses treat you, or how feminists deplore it, I feel like women who are members of the church should already know the standards of modesty, and I don't understand why it should change because you have a nursing child. No one has ever been able to tell me how breastfeeding negates or is exempt from the principles of modesty.

Nelson Family said...

Well, I started to comment, and then it got super long. So I blogged it.

Check it.

Nichole said...

I love this post. I really agree with your friend up there on sometimes you just have to stop and nurse. (Not that I know from experience, but I understand this from a lot of friends/family who have explained how your boobs just explode sometimes and it sucks.) I appreciate a woman who covers up as much as everyone else does, but sometimes you don't have the luxery/time or sometimes you're a hippie and don't care if everyone sees your nips (such as the lady at the temple, AKA my sister-in-law). So -- I say we should all just settle the freak down and find something else to judge people wearing immodest clothes to church/temple. Jeez...those hoe bags.

karajean said...

yay controversy!!

@Nichole: haha! "let's find something else to judge people about!" love it.

I'm with you, Katie. Live and let live. If they're doing it, and it makes you uncomfortable, DON'T LOOK. If you want to look, and it's available, whatever, perv. I just think being pregnant/a new mom is hard enough, and when you add to it the plain and simple fact that everyone is judging your every move, well that just sucks.

Emily said...

While everyone else is talking about boobies and babies, I'm going to comment on that salsa. A couple of my old roommates made salsa weekly and I miss it so much. Treasure that tasty tomato spicy goodness.

Jessica Bryan said...

I second this motion! Moms are just feeding their babies... no big deal!