Friday, August 04, 2006

Someone Enlighten Me

I don’t get it. I really don’t.

I don’t get why more than half of all women polled by the American Dietetic Association think that women should not be allowed to breastfeed in public.

I don’t get why women are expected to nurse their babies in the stall of a dirty restroom in lieu of breastfeeding on a park bench or in the booth of a restaurant or in the hallway of a ladies' dressing room.

I don’t get why there are breastfeeding mothers in this country who have been arrested for public indecency even though it is legal to breastfeed in public in each and every state.

I don’t get why people can’t understand that breasts are beautiful, life-sustaining glands first and sexual body parts second.

And finally, I don’t get why the current cover of Baby Talk magazine has sparked so much outrage...

...while these types of magazines are often sitting at toddler eye level at our neighborhood grocery stores.

I don’t get it. And to be honest, it really pisses me off.


Blogger Granny said...

I don't get it either.

1:07 AM  
Blogger mrsmogul said...

Yes I've seen the cover...I think it's beautiful. You know, maybe the people who sparked outrage don't have kids?

Let me know if you tell your boss? Most people polled no for me.

1:43 AM  
Blogger Pattie said...

I think that our country's priorities are a little screwed up. Perhaps because of those magazines, breasts are thought of as sexual objects, and certainly not what there intended purpose feed children. Sad, sad indeed.

5:09 AM  
Blogger Marcie said...

This post has me pissed off. Americans can be so screwed up.
I wonder what Hooter's breastfeeding policy is.

5:44 AM  
Blogger bubandpie said...

I was formulating all kinds of opinions and arguments, and then I took another look at that cover.

And it just made me cry.

5:49 AM  
Anonymous mamatulip said...

I don't get it either, and you know what? I don't care if it bothers people. I breastfed both of my kids and I did it (discreetly, of course) in public if I needed to. My kid's gotta eat, right?

6:05 AM  
Blogger Chantal said...

It's one of those issues that makes me so mad I can't even get a reasonably well written post out of it!

6:17 AM  
Blogger Alli's Mom said...

I didn't breast feed by choice, however I have no issues with those that do and believe that they should be allowed to do so comfortably and without ridicule. Why is it such an issue? Who the hell knows! Especially when the magazine show them all the time....

Amen Sista!

6:24 AM  
Blogger Queso said...

I think if David Hasselhoff is allowed to have a new video (, then women should be allowed to breastfeed anywhere they want. The end.

6:25 AM  
Anonymous chelle said...

I do not understand it either. Although Canada is not totally perfect and we still have some issues with breastfeeding in public, it is much more widely accepted than here in the US. We have beautiful parent care/nursing rooms that were comfortable and large (a lot of time my husband would join us, read a few magazines while I nursed). And there are a lot of women that just breastfeed where ever, not going to the rooms....It saddens me the attitude people have about the most natural and best thing for our babies!

7:14 AM  
Blogger Jodi said...

I don't get it either. Especially when you see those two magazine covers side by side. things that make you go HMMMMMM....

7:34 AM  
Anonymous reluctant housewife said...

Very clever of you to put it side by side. People are stupid - and the fact that it is women saying it is "gross" just boggles the mind.

7:39 AM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

Marcie: interesting question about Hooters. I have one in town. I should go whip my boob out to breastfeed (discreetly of course!) and see what happens.

Girl con Queso: couldn't have said it better myself. LOL. Off to watch that video now :)

8:10 AM  
Blogger Christina_the_wench said...

I didn't breast feed my two, but by god, women who do have that right! I currently let one of my staff use my office twice a day to express milk. It's a natural thing for a mother to do.

With all of the filth and nasty things we see everyday on the news, on tv, in the magazines, breastfeeding is offensive? Ridiculous!

8:13 AM  
Blogger The Flip Flop Mamma! said...

Preach it sista! I don't get it either. We've become a perverted society..that's all I can think of.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Doesn't make any sence. Who ARE these women that were polled?!?!?!?!?!?

8:38 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Davis said...

Yes, America is seriously uptight about breasts. Sadly, a lot of the negative reaction to that magazine cover came from MOMS! Moms who think it's dirty-icky-bad for their kids to see a baby sucking on a mothers breast. Holy crap. That is what completely blows my mind.

I've breastfed in a number of public places, and although I've never been booted out (or arrested, OMG), I've gotten "the look" from various people. I can handle getting "the look" from men or from a young woman who is clearly not a mom, but to get "the look" from another mom would just make my head explode. Unbelieveable.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I don't get it either. People are dumb, and this is one of the most backwards countries out there. We can talk about sex and exploit sexuality all over the place in public, but don't you dare show breasts being used for what they're intended for.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

8:45 AM  
Blogger Nikkie said...

I don't get it either, and it totally pisses me off too.

Well, I guess I can sort of understand it. We talked about this a lot in some of my sociology classes. Some people have problems viewng breasts as nothing more then sexual objects. As far as I'm concerned they need to get over that one right freaking now.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Piece of Work said...

I don't get it AT ALL. What's "gross" is the Maxim cover.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Chicky said...

Amen! When I received my copy in the mail (of the baby mag, not Maxim you sicko) I knew there was going to be controversy. I'll never understand how a MOTHER can have a problem with a picture of a baby nursing and then turn around and let their kid watch MTV. I just don't get it, either.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Gingers Mom said...

PREACH ON SISTER! I will say this. I have nursed 3 babies. And usually don't get bad looks - until they get a little older. And I only nursed until they were a year old!
I think as long as you are discreet, and use a cover that it is fine to breastfeed ANYWHERE! And I do. I have seen some women who just whip it out and don't care who is watching and flash the entire nieghborhood. That isn't appropriate. Ladies, we don't need to see your nipples out on display...
I wouldn't want my 13 year old son seeing that...or my husband...
If someone has a problem with my breastfeeding in public I'll ask if they think it is fair for me to shove them in a dirty dark bathroom stall with a blanket over their head every time they are hungry. Suck on that!

10:05 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

I agree, it's the Maxim and Playboy and men's magazine covers that should be sparking outrage, not the cover of a magazine showing a breastfeeding mother.

I disagree with the people who think nursing moms should be locked in a dirty bathroom, but I do feel like it's not okay to just have your breast fully exposed in public, and feel like breastfeeding should be done wherever it's convenient, but should be discreet. I realize that breasts have 2 functions - sexual and the feeding our children - but I do agree with the last comment. I wouldn't be happy with my man or son (if I had one) seeing a FULLY exposed breast.

10:18 AM  
Blogger MrsFortune said...

Couldn't agree more. At first, I did nurse my son in bathrooms. NO MORE. I am protected by law when I feed him and ... how is it indecent in any way??? It's baffling.

10:18 AM  
Blogger lildb said...


it's bullshite.

p.s. a la the pajama mama's current edict, I must inform you that I think you're fabulous squared. nahh. make that to the third power. :p

b/c you are a blogging genius. and cute as a button.

11:00 AM  
Blogger lildb said...

p.s. Kristen, I am no way attacking your comment. I think it's a valid p.o.v., to desire that nursing be accomplished in "discreet" fashion, when in public. However. As a woman who nursed in public as often as was necessary, to feed my hungry child, and while I was never at ease about having my breast(s) exposed to the general populace, there were times, especially as my son grew and his ability to manipulate my clothing, etc., with his increasing tactile skills grew with him, I had to resign myself to being exposed. Because I was not given a choice. I am in no way criticizing your belief about discretion, I am simply educating you regarding the reality of nursing a young child. They pull at clothes. They lift shirts up. They tug bras down. They don't care about the stuff in the way of their meal, as long as they can get it out of their way in order to eat. That's just how it works.

Meanwhile, I still am saddened by the lack of understanding people possess regarding the main purpose for breasts. Particularly those who have given birth.


11:07 AM  
Blogger Happy0303 said...

I'm with you. We get passengers who complain all the time about other passengers who nurse on flights. These nursing mothers are very discreet and usually cover themselves up pretty well. What's the problem?

11:15 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Well said!!!! I find it saddest that so many women are put off by public breastfeeding... how is that possible?

11:18 AM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

Interesting comments. I prefer to try to be discreet when I breastfeed in public so I typically use a cover. (However, if I don't have a cover with me, I will still breastfeed.) That being said, I honestly don't fault women who show a little boob while feeding their baby...or even, dare I say, a little nipple during the latch on. Because like lildb said, showing a bit cannot always be avoided anyway.

And as everyone said, I really don't get that there are some MOTHERS that find public breastfeeding offensive. That one really floors me. WTF? (I am not speaking of anyone who commented here. In fact, I have a feeling the poll results would have come out differently had they polled us mommybloggers!)

11:32 AM  
Blogger gingajoy said...

i don't get it either--and i am suspicious. i want to see that survey, because you can make a survey say *anything* (i've seen enough west wing to know this for a *fact*)

seriously--am off to research quite what this survey asked people and how.

12:32 PM  
Blogger macboudica said...

This is one of my pet peeves. On one hand, women are pressured to breastfeed from practically the day they conceive. And that is good, breastfeeding is great for babies. But as a culture, we are so against it, so immature about it. People are so squeemish. You always get *looks*, people are offended which is stupid because you are feeding the baby! I often did it in my car in the middle of the parking lot if I had to, gawkers be damned--even when I was breastfeeding twins, which, by the way, is impossible to do discreetly.

1:03 PM  
Anonymous PoopyDigs said...


1:23 PM  
Blogger Gingers Mom said...

Hey gals, I have been there! I am sure I have unwittingly flashed more than my share of people when feeding. It happens. I'm just talking about those people who make no effort to keep things covered up...especially in mixed company. My sister in law did that, just whipped it warning and wouldn't have the baby ready yet...boob just hanging there...
My brother and husband are scarred. Hee hee.
My point being, breastfeeding is necessary to a young child and when they are hungry they should not be made to wait. I have had to nurse without a cover. It happens. But I try to be prepared. We as breastfeeding women also have to keep in mind that it IS considered a sexual "object" if you will, and to not "over expose". Ya know?

1:45 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I don't understand either. I thought the pic of the baby on the boob was really sweet.

And I've been one of those people trying to breastfeed in a dirty, stinky, hot restroom at a mall. And everytime someone would flush a toilet, my child would startle and get upset. Not fun.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Damselfly said...

Yeah, let's all get pissed off! I won't even have a baby to breastfeed for another month, and I don't get it, either. I downloaded the magazine's card that you can supposedly wave in the face of anyone who protests your breastfeeding ... just dare me to use it!


2:06 PM  
Blogger Mamacita Tina said...

I ponder the same question and blogged on it too last week. We all should post about it and get the point across! Yeah, a booby for baby blogfest!

2:06 PM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

Well, anyone who saw the nursing pic I posted in response to the Baby Talk cover kerfluffle knows how I feel about this . . .

And I have to side with Debbie when it comes to the "discreet nursing" discussion. My son could not, could not, could not STAND having a blanket over his head while nursing (like Lisa's son, who freaked out at the flushing toilets, he has since been diagnosed with sensory integration issues, so now I know why). Many times when I tried to keep a blanket or shawl over him, he would refuse to nurse and scream and thrash in frustration (and when he got to a certain age, he would BITE my breasts in frustration. And we all know how pleasant that is, don't we, ladies?) Because of my inability to keep things covered up, to avoid controversy, I spent many nursing sessions in the lounge area of women's bathrooms. And even there, I got plenty of snide comments and dirty looks FROM OTHER WOMEN.

It may be considerate of delicate strangers to try to keep flashing to a minimum, yes, but in many cases it's not really possible. And we shouldn't make nursing mothers feel guilty for a situation that's beyond their control.

It really shouldn't be taboo for people to see women's nipples, IMO. If you think about it, it's a really unhealthy cultural attitude. The primary function of a woman's nipple is its baby-feeding function; the sexual function is entirely secondary, similar to the sexual function of, say, a mouth.

Why is it recently considered socially acceptable to see every inch of flesh on a woman's breast except the areola and nipple? Afer all, it's not taboo at all to look at men's nipples. Is it precisely because seeing the nipples reminds us that breasts have a function outside of sex? I am thinking so . . .

(Sorry for the novel; this just makes me mad).

2:27 PM  
Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...


3:43 PM  
Blogger MommyWithAttitude said...

Yes yes and yes! I don't get it either! I nursed my babies wherever they needed to eat. Any man who was aroused by seeing a milimeter of my breast skin has much bigger problems than public feeding of babies.

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Do you think they interviewed a lot of older women who relied more solely on bottle-feeding? Because I totally don't get this either. And the magazine cover thing makes me so mad that I am seeing red.

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Missi said...

Yup, doesn't make any sense does it?

Who set our priorities? Men? Now our husbands and lovers don't mind seeing us as the Goddess child bearing women we are. But I guess society as a whole, and I mean single butt headed men, still believe that we should be only viewed upon as mute, half naked sexual objects, anything else would be vulgar.

I think the Breastfeeding magazine cover is beautiful and the only way to encourage a change is to keep publishing beautiful pictures like these. Eventually society will change.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Mama C-ta said...

I can't even discuss things like this anymore, it just makes my blood boil! I posted that Vogue BF picture the other day and I received a comment from someone that really pissed me off. I said the same thing, BF in public is wrong but titty flashing by teens is OK. What a f'd up world we live in, huh?

6:19 PM  
Blogger Mega Mom said...

I saw a woman nursing at BlogHer and it was so beautiful and comforting. I struck up a conversation. I hope I didn't make her feel uncomfortable, but I just love those little faces snuggling up to eat.

Not such a huge fan of big kids doing it though...

6:51 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...


ditto ditto ditto ditto ditto.

(I get so angry when I think about this. Thanks for just setting it out there and calling it what it is.)

7:33 PM  
Blogger Gwen said...

I don't know what I can say that hasn't already been said. I will say however that I tried to be as discreet as I could but with my big breasts and little baby in the beginning it was futile. Besides in he first week I think evrybody and their dog had seen my vagina so why not a little boob? :)

Nice comparison of magazines BTW!

8:15 PM  
Blogger Tracie said...

Amen sister! Amen!

I never breastfed in public-but I have no problem with those who do!
And showing those two magazines side by side!!~that shuts down the coversation-There is a big difference between feeding a baby (and most women are pretty covered up when they do it anyway) and just being nearly naked for no reason. What a great post!

8:33 PM  
Anonymous roo said...

How dare we shame our women like that?

11:27 PM  
Blogger Maya's Granny said...

I had my two in the early 60s, breastfed them both, and in public when necessary. You can't make a baby wait to eat! At that time very few of us breastfed and it was novel. Some people seemed startled by it, but I don't remember anyone being upset. And I know I would never have taken one of them into the bathroom! Nor would anyone have expected me to. Maybe that's because they were born in Berkeley, which was a very open minded city in those days.

Thanks for visiting me. How nice to find you.

11:57 PM  
Blogger Catch said...

I breastfed and if I was in public I just put a light weight blanket over my breast so no one could see ...thats what boobs are for....breastfeeding!!! I think the magazine cover is such an adorable picture....who cares what the rest of them think...they have their opinion and we have ours...and we know ours is right!

12:17 AM  
Blogger Mel said...

You said it better than I ever could, that's for damn sure.
When I was breastfeeding, I had a comeback all ready for anyone who would have asked me to take it to the restroom (sadly, I never got to use it): "If you will kindly ask the person that complained to take their meal into the restroom and eat it there, I will feed my baby in the restroom as well."
Thing is, because there are more boobs being flashed to provoke a sexual response than to feed little people, the less likely it is that boobs flashed while en route to an infant's mouth are going to be differentiated from those sexy boobs. If that makes sense.
I think that if more moms had the courage to just let the boobs hang out as they nursed, people would become accustomed to the sight and would shut up their whining about it already.
I hate the hypocrisy I see happening in my beloved country, and I can only hope that this resurgence of Victorian prudishness doesn't outlast the current administration.

12:17 AM  
Blogger Mary Tsao said...

If a breast is viewed as an object of male desire, no problem.

If a breast is viewed as an object to nourish and feed a child, there's a problem.

Yes, that's totally f-ed up.

We are completely okay with footage of Pamela Anderson getting married in a ill-fitting bikini, but the sight of a woman breastfeeding is enough to spark national outrage.

That's just wrong.

12:46 AM  
Blogger It's okay, Sweetie said...

Holy COW! Look at all the responses here! I'm flattered that you have time to visit me or remember me, even! ;)

I loved that you put the two pics side by side. Really puts things into perspective. Breastfeeding has proven advantages for a newborn, so why anyone would want that priveledge to be taken care of in a filthy bathroom stall is beyond me.

5:49 AM  
Anonymous Jenny said...

Amen sister! We should have a national walk-around-topless-day just to protest the madness.

9:33 AM  
Blogger metro mama said...

I don't get it either.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

What Jaelithe said. And what Lildb said. Discreet is good but not always possible. As a woman who doesn't have the ability to breastfeed due to surgical complications of a breast reduction, I've never been faced with the choice of public versus private area or covered versus uncovered. But I will wholeheartedly support any woman's right to breastfeed (as discreetly as possible) when her child is hungry, regardless of where she is. Period.

11:18 AM  
Blogger yogamama said...

Like everyone else here, I don't get it. I really like what Mrs. Davis says about other moms having a lot to do with the problem. I personally know of two women who have given birth in the last year who actually called breastfeeding "unnatural" and "gross"! How in the world do you give birth -- how do you poop in front of people and then deliver a PLACENTA -- and call breastfeeding gross??? (Disclaimer: I actually thought the placenta was kind of fascinating. But I'm weird like that.)

11:54 AM  
Blogger yogamama said...

One more thought, and I hope it doesn't upset anyone: Why does public breastfeeding have to be discreet, anyway? Would we have more chance of changing people's minds if we let it all hang out, so to speak? By covering ourselves up, are we suggesting there's something to be ashamed of?
I'm not even sure of the answer myself, but I thought I would throw that out there.

12:01 PM  
Blogger K. said...

I blogged about this too. It just makes no sense to me that we can get outraged over nursing but have no problem with any of the myriad of things that are actually degrading to women and truly indecent.

Our country is so bass-ackwards.

12:26 PM  
Blogger SUEB0B said...

Hey, I posted about this too. Great minds think alike. I was surprised because Mr. Stapler brought up the controversy - in the context of "Isn't it nuts that people are upset about this??" He was really mad, too. And he's neither a dad or a woman...just a smart man.

12:41 PM  
Blogger beth said...

Well said. This whole thing is outrageous.

7:19 PM  
Blogger carrie said...

Yup, I am also from the camp of "I don't get it either". Whatever.


8:47 PM  
Blogger Stephanie A. said...

Drives me crazy. CRAZY.

What it is really about, though, is that the nay-sayers are not comfortable with THEIR OWN bodies. It really has nothing to do with someone else's body. And as over-sexed as this country is, I really don't understand why we're not all a little more comfortable with our bodies.

9:25 PM  
Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh I couldn't agree with you more!
This country is getting more and more screwed up with this kind of nut-case point of view! Brest Feeding is the most natural nurturing most beautiful thing and has been for centuries!!!
Only In America, is this considered strange or "indecent"...Hello? What is wrong with people?
And you are so right that it's okay for these magazines to show practically entire breats on the cover of a magazine as long as it is attached to a "sexual" conotation...that's not considered indecent! Deliver me, please!

Thanks for your visit and your kind words about my Post.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Mama Duck said...

It's crazy. I have that magazine (babytalk, not maxim ;)) on my counter and wasn't offended at all. It's ok to walk around with your breasts hanging out in a skimpy little top, but not to BF a baby (where you usually see way less than that, truly). Ah well, I fed my little guy whenever and whereever he was hungry, just crazy.

3:10 PM  
Blogger sunshine scribe said...

Whoa ...64 comments batman. I don't know what else I can add. Except .. I. Don't. Get. It.

I breastfed EVERYWHERE and if I had another baby I'd do the same.

Suck on that.

3:34 PM  
Blogger virtualsprite said...

Wow! This post has sparked something and I can totally agree with it.

I was very fortunate in that I was able to bring my baby to work so I could breastfeed. I breastfed him everywhere I had to. I'd try to be discreet, like you all said, but, well.. boobs happen.

So it really creeped me out that when I was in public men would try to cop a glance. People, I'm feeding my child... not offering a peep show.

Yes... it's an issue. I'm glad you posted on it.

6:08 PM  
Anonymous Caryn said...

Oh, my. I can't believe that over half of women said that. What are they thinking?!?! Breasts are only used for sexual purposes because we allow them to be seen as such. Their primary function is nursing. Sorry, but it's true. And there's nothing dirty in feeding a baby. Women should be encouraged to do this, for the good of their babies and, in turn for the good of all societies.

8:06 PM  
Anonymous krista said...

It is infuriating. COmpletely infuriating.

8:16 PM  
Blogger crazymumma said...

Oh do NOT even get me started...I have had my boobs hanging out all over hells half acre when breastfeeding and men and women (?) get all bent out of shape. Then you wear a sassy tight top out for a party and you look soooo fine. None of it makes sense...Anne

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Arne H said...

This is so sad... I thought we lived in the 21 century? Wasn't it the muslims who were behind times acording to the americans?

7:43 AM  
Anonymous Sylvie said...

I sent the following letter to the editor at Babytalk Magazine:
"It doesn't surprise me that in a world where mothers participate in such unatural living practices -- anti-life practrices -- such as driving SUV's (with TV's in them no less), microwaving plastic foods, and flooding their homes with toxic cleaning products, that they would regard the breast as a foreign object. It's a sad comment that it doesn't surpirse me."

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Mother said...

Thank you. And great maxim cover to contradict.

I mean really.

People are idiotic.

5:18 PM  
Blogger Apron Thrift Girl said...

The thing I thought of when I saw that cover was "yah, finally a positive picture" on a magazine that usually annoys me. Then I read the title for the article and had to ironically laugh when I saw that it was a negative one. So typical.

9:47 PM  
Blogger MQ said...

I'm late to this discussion, but I had to comment. (Found you through Soccer Mom)

I breastfed both my babies and I always felt uncomfortable in public. I loved Nordstroms because they have a wonderful nursing room.

2:16 PM  
Blogger Kira said...

*hear hear!*

5:48 AM  
Blogger Keegan said...

I live in Cambridge, and I have told my hubby several times that I'm lucky to live here because when nursing in public, all I got were smiles (not perverted smiles, but REAL smiles). However, I don't even think of nursing in public when I visit family in Nashville or even L.A. We are a men-led puritan culture. Which means that the body is a sin to talk about or lok at... unless used for the enjoyment of those perverted putitans. I say ya'll move to Cambridge-- or Boulder, that's another boob-friendly place.

2:07 PM  
Blogger LaShawn said...


7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you will all permit me_as a man_we do have opinions in this matter, All 3 of my children were breastfed and I thought(think) it is the most beautiful thing in the world. We get the pleasure of enjoying your breasts in all their forms. Lucky us!

8:22 PM  
Blogger genghisbunny said...

Sheesh! People get so sensitive! Breasts are for nourishment and for sexual pleasure (what they have such sensitive nerve endings for), but for God's sake, the two are not present at the same time!

Grow up! I love my wife's breasts,and when we have a child she'll breast feed if she's at all able to, and that's WONDERFUL. I don't think there's any reason to get all fired up over a breast on a magazine in the context of breastfeeding. For goodness' sake, the nipple is covered by the baby's mouth, which is all that's covered by lots of bikinis as well.

People need to relax. Seriously.

4:15 PM  

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