Friday, January 16, 2009

(Anti) Public Breastfeeding Thesaurus

I haven't posted about recent breastfeeding news, such as the Facebook controversy over whether photos of nursing children should be allowed. But this op-ed piece from the Calgary Herald, "New Moms Should Travel the Mammary Lane Discreetly", takes the cake for the largest number of accusatory, denigratory remarks about public breastfeeding in the shortest space. In only 267 words, Naomi Lakritz asserts that breastfeeding in public (or defending one's right to do so) is:
  • indiscreet
  • immodest
  • undignified
  • not classy; crass; low-class (as in daytime talk show television)
  • lacking decorum
  • making public an intimate, private, personal experience
  • voyeuristic narcissism
  • indecent exposure
  • a sign of a woman's lack of self-respect
  • a waste of energy and time on a trivial issue
Whew! She just about covered every possible angle there.


  1. The whole thing is almost enough to make me want to have another (4th) kid and breastfeed EVERYWHERE.


    The author of the piece has a background in tabloid "journalism." Not like Us Weekly or People, even. She wrote for the National Examiner.

    So if it's not Bigfoot or Marilyn Monroe's ghost, I guess it's deliberately trying to provoke breastfeeding mothers to capitalize off of an international media event.

    Who's classy now?

  3. Phaw- designed to make people irate and respond- text book approach. i must say i breastfed in america on holiday this christmas and had my first ever breastfeeding in public issue after 3 kids in Oz. A woman stood in front of me a few feet away and stared and pointed and shouted at me. incredible!

  4. I can happily say that most times when I am nursing in public most people have no idea what I am doing. I don't know how many times, when I am nursing, someone comes up to me, tries to pull the blanket off of me wanting to see the baby not knowing what I am doing.

    Some people make me so sick.


  5. Well, that's certainly nice to know. Too bad my baby doesn't care about being low-class or immoral! ;)

  6. Dooooon't even know where to start on that one! It's so off it's almost hilarious.

  7. Kel, I am sorry to hear that. I don't think I've had any negative comments/experiences while BF in public. But I have had some tension from within my family at times for not covering up, and I know (from a woman who overheard and told me) that some people at church were uncomfortable with me nursing my daughter there. I'm still just amazed that we're running around these same ridiculous circles!

  8. my church has a nursing room (with t.v. to view the sermon) should mom's need to nurse noisy babies. lol. i think it's very generous that it's provided. very comfortable rockers, and a *nice* t.v.

    i haven't had any problems breastfeeding in public, but i'd like to think i'm pretty discreet as well. there was only one time that i couldn't be as discreet as i hoped, but i just "walked" among the clothes racks and nursed kind of "hidden". i mean, my boob was really showing so it was kind of needed, and i didn't feel like sitting in the dressing room.

  9. One needs only to replace the word "breastfeeding" in the article with the words "bottle feeding" to see how completely ridiculous this whole arguement is. As Rixa said, it's hard to believe that we're still running around in these same circles!!!

  10. Ah, maybe this author was having a bad day and felt the need to gripe about something. Too bad SHE picked something so pointless to complain about.

    I've never had an issue with breastfeeding, whether in public or at home with guests. It astounds me that people get so worked up about it.

  11. Actually, she left out "sexual abuse of a child." hahaha :)

  12. Wow. I don't usually cover up my baby with a blanket while breastfeeding because I wear clothes so that it's really hard to tell that I'm nursing my baby, and it's actually more subtle not to use the blanket (besides which, both my babies so far HATED eating with a blanket over their heads). I've had family members ask to hold the baby while I was feeding him/her because they didn't realize the baby was nursing.

    But I cover up like that because it's what I want to do. It honestly doesn't offend me when other women BF more openly. My first daughter was born in the UK, where nearly every store has a NICE mother's room with a rocking chair, yet the average UK citizen didn't seem to see anything wrong with a mother feeding her baby publicly if she wanted to. It was a real shock to move back to the US where hardly any store has a mother's room yet there's a public outcry over women nursing in public.

    I remember seeing a pro-breastfeeding cartoon in the UK (on display in the public library) of a man shielding his son's eyes from a mother breastfeeding nearby while reading a magazine with a well-endowed woman in a skimpy bikini on the cover. Summed the hypocrisy up nicely, I thought.

  13. That's just ridiculous. I breastfeed in public and usually no one notices what I'm doing--whether I have a blanket or not. I think most of us are fairly discreet about it, but honestly, when baby's hungry, BABY'S HUNGRY!!!

  14. It never ceases to amaze me how the people with the smallest minds make the most noise. Maybe it's the only way they feel anyone will listen to them.

    My babies are now 30, 26 and 20. Strangely enough they were breast fed wherever I happened to be when they got hungry! I never attempted to flaunt what I was doing, neither did I go to great lengths to conceal it.

    One time, on an airplane just before take off a flight attendant offered me a blanket. She was the only one besides my husband who could "see" what my son and I were doing, I think she was just startled because she didn't realize what we were doing when she reached over to check my other child's seatbelt and she got a bit of an eye full. One woman to another, I didn't care, but she refused to meet my eyes for the remainder of the flight!!

    When baby #3 was a few months old, I took all 3 kids on a trip to the "Happiest place on earth!" in Anaheim, CA. That trip I discovered an oasis in the form of a hospitality suite for nursing mothers and hungry babies. With wonderful older ladies buzzing around. It was clean, comfortable and most importantly for me, it was quiet! Every few hours in the midst of happy chaos, baby and and I got a 20 minute break from all the happiness. The only downside for me that day was the no sibling policy, since the kids and I were on our own. I had to leave my 10 and 7 year old unattended on a bench next to the door. I knew my kids were behaved and they may have even enjoyed the quiet time themselves. The lady at the check-in assured me she would keep an eye on them and she did. I was just reacting as a mom, with my first two babies out of my line of sight in the middle of an amusement park. It was the only little blemish to an otherwise perfect day.

    It is a shame more places don't offer nice rooms for moms and babies. Many malls in California stuck a small closet like room over by the restrooms, but unfortunately they started giving off that public restroom vibe pretty quickly so they mostly go unused. Understandably, since even I, who could breastfeed anywhere can't imagine a closet being a comfortable place to sit and nurse my baby.


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