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BreastFeeding Debate *Ducks and runs*

May 19, 2007

Oooh I’m venturing into territory here that I may regret.. I’m daring to sit on the fence-ish for something but I have some opinions I want to get out and I don’t want to air it all in comments on other people’s blogs …

Yes this is a post about breastfeeding. Now look. Before anybody gets all jumpy on my little self I am not against breastfeeding. I am not against bfing in public and I am not against children who need to be fed being fed wherever they are hungry, whenever they are hungry.

I am not however, like the Queen of Spain, about to post a picture of my breasts full frontal on my blog. Not that I think people can’t do exactly as they wish on their personal space but….

My stance is this.

Why is it that whenever people have a rigid or particularly strong view, where they insist others must consider them and not be narrow minded – that they seem to be the ones that will not consider others’ points of view or perspectives and are equally unyielding?

I am not personally offended by bfing women in public.

Maggie Gyllenhaal nursing

I have no issue sitting next to someone who is bfing in public, I will not cause a scene if someone begins to feed their child next to me, nor would I move or inwardly vomit with disgust at the child getting some lunch. Maggie Gyllenhaal is totally within her rights to feed her baby as far as I’m concerned wherever and whenever.

But. Some really do have an issue with this. Some people do find it offensive or if not offensive, some people ask that if you want to bf in public that you try to do it with discretion.

I have to say I don’t really see the issue here.

Bfing mothers want people to consider their rights to feed their child, their child’s right to feed and basically their feelings regarding this matter.

But it seems to be to me.. that when the others ask for consideration for the opposite e.g. I feel uncomfortable if someone does bfeed in front of me or I’m embarrassed or whatever .. they are told to suck it.

Breasts make milk. You get pregnant and they make milk. It’s what they’re there for. They make milk for the baby to drink. It’s no big deal.

Bfeeders :- some are not able to get a grip with reality on this and feel it’s disgusting or wrong or revolting or whatever.. So just let them get on with it.

Why can it not just be that people make an effort to co-exist?

Does someone have to be ‘wrong’ or could we not just recognise that everyone including Jenny Ha Ha has the right to their opinion? Even if it isn’t yours.

Why order people to suck it? Why insist that everyone has to accept breastfeeding in public even if they find it uncomfortable? Why make breastfeeding mothers feel unwelcome because they are feeding their child in a cafe or on a park bench? Why make everyone’s lives harder by complaining that a mother is feeding her baby when it could be you to move? Why rub people’s faces in something they don’t like though, just because they don’t agree with you?

Why can’t people just try to exist in the same place without forcing their opinions on others?

It’s the same with so many contentious issues.. you never … well OK not never.. but hardly ever see two people with opposing views on a controversial subject say ‘well OK we feel differently about this..’ it’s always ramming opinions down others’ throats and insisting they are ‘wrong’ and they should accept you’re right.

I (personally) don’t think it’s beyond the realms of possibility to attempt some discretion when you’re feeding your baby in public (considering the feelings of those who may not be that WOOHOO about it) just as I don’t think it’s beyond the realms of possibility or reasonable behaviour to accept that babies need to be fed and to knuckle down and get on with it. Or move. Don’t look. Walk on by.

I don’t want to follow a God or go to a church but every Saturday in town I have to walk past a man who tells me my children are going to Hell because we’re not married.

I don’t want to consider black/African/ Asian (insert whatever here) citizens ‘sub standard’ humans but every last weekend of the month I have to walk past the bloke asking me to buy the BNP newspaper. I told him in no uncertain terms last time “ABSOLUTELY NOT!’

I am proud to say that I acknowledge that people have differing opinions on a wide range of subjects and I respect those that allow me to have mine without making me feel abnormal, sad, sick or ‘wrong’ and I don’t really have tons of respect for those that berate me for not being like minded.

Just live and let live guys… and you know what people that do think BFing in public is sick and wrong are never going to listen to you, they’ll just ogle the pictures of your breasts and move on…

Sorry but that’s the truth. 😐

9 Comments leave one →
  1. May 20, 2007 12:28 pm

    I think i’m probably going to utter a “yeah whatever” to this. I know a variety of people who feed from under a top and a variety who feed from over. I feed from under, because i’ve got whopper breasts and so it’s easy, but i deeply dislike the fact that i end up bunched up, with a cold flabby middle on show.

    Personally, i can’t see that the woman in the photo is showing much that you don’t see on show on the average hot day, in fact, frankly, i’ve seen worse.

    You get a lot more rabidly anti-breastfeeding people making remarks intended to humiliate than you get rabidly in your face breastfeeders trying to frighten old men with their breast. Frankly, i get a certain amount of disapproval from my own mum, i dread to think what i’d get if i started feeding “over the top”!

    So i’ll go with the suck it up option, to be honest. Like you say, babies need feeding, they need it now and their mums deserve to be comfortable and unembarrassed while they do it. In Africa, women walk around with bare breasts as a norm; just because climate and social mores make this country different in habit doesn’t mean have to follow that slavishly.

    Discretion may be the better part of valour, but the valour of breastfeeding is courage and honour enough. WTF if someone has to deal with a slice of flesh? The postman who complained about Joey’s little naked body probably wouldn’t have dared raise a complaint about a scantily clad receptionist. Picking on breastfeeders for the sake of a social rant of righteousness, as people so often seem to do, is just plain cowardice. I tend to get a bit weary with the “we don’t mind you breastfeeding but could you make yourself invisible” thing though because essentially it comes across to me as a sort of negative support; a sort of politically correct, “we acknowledge your right to the theory of unmolested breastfeeding” πŸ™‚

    And so, i’d go with telling people to get over themselves and start picking on people who drop litter, bully people, wreck the world, make life a misery for underpaid workers, force women into the sex trade, sell drugs etc etc instead.

    I guess you knew i’d rant back, huh? Still only my opinion, and you are as entitled to yours as i am to mine. πŸ™‚

  2. May 20, 2007 12:33 pm

    “Just live and let live guys… and you know what people that do think BFing in public is sick and wrong are never going to listen to you, they’ll just ogle the pictures of your breasts and move on…”

    Oh, but in answer to this – where would we be if people had applied this to slavery, apartheid, no votes for women, children working in mines, the rights of children to have a say in who they live with when their parents separate, the rights of women to have contraception and abortions.

    The way to acceptance and chance IS to shout about it; nothing gets changes if people keep quietly mum about injustices. In fact, i’m off to blog a pic of my naked breasts right now!!!!

  3. May 20, 2007 12:34 pm

    change not chance πŸ™‚

  4. May 20, 2007 8:18 pm

    I don’t know if you really get my opinion.. I’m not saying btw that bfing in public is wrong.. I don’t agree with those who say it’s wrong, abnormal, sick disgusting or should only be done in private.

    What I’m saying is .. those who feel that way should perhaps get over themselves and those who bf in public perhaps be considerate to those who feel embarrassed to see *naked* naked breasts on show.. old gentleman, young lads etc. Maybe they’re not ‘in the wrong’ maybe they’re just uncomfortable. Does that make them in favour of apartheid or child slavery? No. It just makes them human maybe.

    What I’m saying is perhaps posting pictures of naked breasts isn’t exactly the way to get your point across when you’re accusing others of being childish.

    I’m just saying that perhaps *everyone* should get a little bit more moderate.

    That’s all. πŸ™‚

  5. May 20, 2007 9:26 pm

    “those who bf in public perhaps be considerate to those who feel embarrassed to see *naked* naked breasts on show.. old gentleman, young lads etc.”

    I do get your opinion. but i do think that those who breastfeed out and about, generally speaking, are considerate. But really, why should they be any more than mildly discreet about it? Sure, its a bodily function, but it isn’t weeing in the street.

    What you are saying, if i understand you correctly, is that when out and about, people doing and being something totally normal ie breastfeeding, should think of the people who it offends? But i’ll stand by my suggestion that you could multiply that up (in a theoretical sense) to people doing and being black skinned should somehow be less overt about it, in order not to offend people in the BNP.

    As for her naked breasts on her blog… well, it’s her blog and i guess she can do it if she wishes. I’ll prepared to bet that the people who get riled about breastfeeding probably aren’t reading πŸ˜‰

  6. May 20, 2007 10:13 pm

    I think that’s a bit of a silly parallel tbh .. it’s not the same..

    But yes – it is her blog and I don’t at all have any issue with her doing whatever she likes to do on her blog.. we all do..

    But yes.. breastfeeding in public isn’t weeing in the street.. it’s not offensive and it isn’t abnormal and it isn’t wrong.

    I would vehemently argue against any legislation that tried to take away that right to do it in public but my opinion remains the same. I understand all sides.. including yours but I think there’s room for middle ground… πŸ™‚

    And no.. I bet they aren’t readin.. they’re scanning the waves for pictures of boobs !! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

  7. May 21, 2007 8:22 am

    it is an exztreme parallel but not a silly one. Scanning back through history shows that on small erosions of freedom are built huge invasions of human rights. Think the Nazis who turned not allowing the jews to own a business slowly into mass genocide, or the Americans who brought people to their lands and then were still stopping them ride on the same buses into the 60’s.

    Look, indeed, at our own country which is eroding human rights, privacies and freedoms in the names of justice, safety and anti-terror. We begin these things, cameras, id cards, biometrics on passports, with the best of intentions, but there is too much room for abuse to do it lightly. There was a bill recently which aimed to allow MPs to change any laws without them going through parliament, so long as it didn’t advantage their personal circumstances or affect prison sentences over 2 years. It was intended to allow them to cut business red tape without the need for parliament; all well and good in the hands of the well mean ing, rather dangerous in the hands of the next would be dictator.

    Once we suggest that a middle ground has to be found which is actually conceding ground to people who would rather see normal, ordinary, natural processes being done “discreetly” or in a more hidden fashion for their convenience, we start on a dangerous path. I believe that very firmly, on issues much wider than breastfeeding.

    And as for the old men; todays 80 year olds were 40 in the 60’s; i’d argue they’ve seen more than an eyeful in teir time. And the teenage boys were either fed at a breast, or need to get an eyesful so as to make it a normal thing they are ready to be supportive about when they are fathers, so helping us to beat PND, obesity, asthma, eczema, unplanned pregnancies in young mothers etc etc.

    Lol… i appear to have a soapbox. Must go do something more useful πŸ˜‰

  8. May 21, 2007 1:11 pm

    not quite sure I’m following the debate. In the vast majority of cases where ppl breastfeed in public, they are discreet and no one notices. I’ve breastfed two children in public and never had an adverse comment, although I did stare down one guy who was trying to get an eyeful.

    So the argument is already over – most of us are discreet. And as for the ones who aren’t, that is completely my choice, and to be honest, I think they are probably doing it better – breasts are for feeding children, and while we live in a society where it’s quite OK to have semi naked women all over billboards, used for advertising cars, and within the pages of the newspapers, I think it’s the ppl with a problem with breastfeeding who need to get over it. Do you ever hear them complaining about page 3? I think not.

  9. May 21, 2007 7:35 pm

    I don’t really disagree with a lot of what you’ve said tbh.. but you’re drawing just as large generalisations as I have.

    I still think there’s room for moderation.. on both sides.

    I think you have great points, I do and I find myself nodding along. But I still find myself thinking my own .. I don’t want anyone to be opposed or oppressed or feel degraded or etc etc. What I was advocating wasn’t extreme. It was moderation. On both sides.

    Mum told me that smoking would lead to heroin addiction. She was wrong. I am not a heroin addict. Nor in fact, did it ever lead to even remotely hard drug usage! Just because things seem inevitable or appear to have a logical escalation doesn’t mean they will.

    I don’t want to take away anyone’s rights or promote dictatorship. But I still think there’s room for consideration on each side of the fence. I agree with breast feeding babies. Babies benefit from breastfeeding. It’s not an argument as far as I’m concerned in terms of natural benefits.

    Nor is it an argument in terms of natural-‘ness’. But I would never attempt to argue against alternate opinions in this way. I accept however it was felt to be ‘necessary’. I just wouldn’t.
    Hello Jax .. thanks for leaving a comment πŸ™‚
    I have also said that ppl who have a problem with breast feeding itself that need to get over it. But it’s not just that people have a problem with it, some people readily admit to feeling prudish but can’t help feeling uncomfortable. I just wouldn’t have an issue considering their feelings if it was me breast feeding.

    “Do you ever hear them complaining about page 3? I think not”
    They’re not all men … and yes I have heard men tut about page three.. πŸ˜‰


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