Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Make it Normal

Today I got sucked into a comment war on Facebook.

I know, I know, I should be better than that. Very rarely are these comment wars anything more than a chance for people who need attention to try and push buttons and stir the pot. But this one just really, really irked me, because it is still a fight that people are having.

Should a breastfeeding mother cover up when nursing in public?

source: Next Life, NO kids - she didn't post this, but asked how people would respond to the Facebook post she read. Not her like either - don't go crazy on her. She's awesome.

Now, I agree, like anything, people can take it too far. I'll admit, there were times when my girls were tiny infants, usually during that 3 week or 6 week growth spurt, where I was basically topless at home. At home. Wouldn't have done that out and about. If someone were walking around in public with their top off, completely, I might be uncomfortable.

But I'm assuming that the majority of breastfeeding women are not going completely topless when they feed their babies at the park, the mall, a restaurant. My guess is that this random person, who posted the initial status was uncomfortable with some of the mother's skin that was visible around a baby who was latched on.

Hey, what do you know? I was right!

You know, that's her right to feel that way. She can feel modest. My guess is that she's not a fan of string bikinis, cropped shirts, butt cracks, etc. It's her right to feel that way. When/if she feeds/fed her own child, she can decide to find a private place, or cover up.

Because that's what covers and private rooms are for. If the mom feels modest and wants some extra privacy.

The mom.

Not you.

If you don't like looking at it, don't look. Turn your head, avert your eyes, and if you truly feel bothered, excuse yourself.

OR - and here's a novel concept - relax. She's not hitting on you. She's not offering you a sip. She's not taunting you with her body.

She's feeding her baby. With parts designed for just that.

So Meredith, what would you do? How did I handle it?

Before my girls were born I thought I'd be very modest. I knew I'd breastfeed (or at least try), but I bought a nursing cover and figured I'd seek out private areas.

After a few days, I was over it. I fed my babies when they needed to be fed. I made them and myself as comfortable as we could be.

Once she was a few months old, Madison was incredibly distracted. I often used a cover or excused myself because she was thrusting her head around - mouth still attached - to see what was going on. I wasn't a fan of this, so I found quiet spots.

Reagan was an off/on/off/on/off/on nurser. She hated being covered as well. So nursing Reagan in public pretty much assured anyone watching a full view. So I tried to find a little privacy for her too.

But that was me. That was my choice. I didn't mind people seeing either of my girls latched on, but I did mind the full on view Reagan insisted on giving everyone, and the contortion Madison required of my poor boob so she could see what was going on around her wasn't comfortable.

Anyway, initially people were all over it with the usual retorts.

If you don't like it, don't look.

It's the purpose of breasts.

I'm feeding my baby.

This was a good response.
But then, a guy jumped in to attempt to rile everyone up.

Ugh, I saw a woman breastfeeding the other day. So gross.

Then he kept going.

Covering up should be mandatory. 

Then he shared a link for a nursing cover on Amazon with a ladies, invest in one of these.

When he really got me riled up and forced me into the conversation, it was for this comment:

Um, excuse me? Bad behavior?

Did you just honestly say that, although yes, other behavior might be worst, feeding your baby is bad behavior?

Then he said this:


The conversation went got even more disturbing where he said that people would enjoy his wife far too much if she nursed in public (yes, this guy has a breastfeeding wife - or so he claimed) and no one could find it gross, and that's why he's not ok with that. 

At that point I had to walk away because this guy was clearly getting way too excited riling up a group of women on a blogger's page. She came home to 100 comments on her post.

Here's the thing: breastfeeding is normal. Breastfeeding in public is not yet seen as normal. And because of that, guys like this exist.

What's the answer? 

I don't think it's getting crazy, waving boobs. I don't think it's cursing out someone who may be judgmental or ignorant.

I think it's feeding your baby, however, wherever, and whenever you feel comfortable, as is your right. Your baby, your toddler, your nursling. 

Don't make it confrontational. Make it normal.

Don't back down. Stake your claim. But don't let it become a fight.

Mothers feed babies. Some use formula. Some pump. Some breastfeed covered. Some breastfeed uncovered. Some love breastfeeding. Some don't. Some women can't and wish they could. 

But they feed their babies when their babies need feeding.

Make it normal. 

What would your response be? What would you say when confronted with this level of ignorance?



Anonymous said...

Dude is jealous because he sees a baby getting fed from something he feels entitled to view, and the baby makes him feel creepy about his own gaze. He thinks breasts exist for his pleasure alone and would prefer not to have to think about any other function they might have. He has no problem with bare breasts in any other context. As long as they are sexualized whenever they are displayed, the world serves his desires. He is like a baby himself, crying because the hungry baby gets a turn.

Journeys of The Zoo said...

I wouldn't engage. He's entitled to his opinion no matter how ignorant and ill-informed it may appear to others. I don't like attacking from either point of view.

I thought that your blog post was done with great class :)

I am a follower of yours via BlogLovin and would love it if you linked up to my weekly BlogLovin Hop
( Hope you find
lots of new friends and stop by every Thursday.

Looking forward to connecting further.

Besos, Sarah
Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo

Unknown said...

That man obviously either wanted a fight or he has trouble separating breastfeeding from his own perversions. In either case he needs the help of a professional. Maybe he has mommy issues. Maybe he was abused by his mother. Maybe he has watched too much bad internet porn. No matter what his problem is, he is most likely not going to listen to your opinion. Some people just need help that no untrained person can provide. I hope he doesn't completely snap. For his family's sake.

Unknown said...

Jeesh. This falls under the CTFD (Calm the f down) category. Thank goodness for necks, if you don't want to see the big, bad, scary boob, LOOK AWAY! LOOK AWAY!

Unknown said...

That guy was too much. Sadly, I know people like him, and I feel nothing but pity for his wife.

C Hill said...

Thanks for joining the Tattler Thursday Blog Hop last week! This week's hop is live now...hope you'll join us again!

-Cristyl @ CHill Thoughts

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