Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It’s feeding time

Public breastfeeding incidents have been in the news several times over the last few months with some sparking quite a bit of controversy. There was the professor who breastfed while teaching her class and received a reprimand. Beyonce fed Blue Ivy while out at lunch one day. Another story showcased military mothers breastfeeding in uniform. And who can forget the Time Magazine cover story featuring a 3-year-old being breastfed? Just the other day I read an article about three mothers who staged a “nurse-in” at their Delaware mall to spread awareness about a woman’s right to nurse in public. They were asked to leave by a state trooper and security guards.

Based on comments I’ve read regarding each of these situation many people seem to feel breastfeeding should be done in private. These very sentiments came up during a get-together a few months ago. One person had observed a woman pull out her breast to feed her child while walking at a flea market. Some felt the mother should have covered herself with a blanket or went to a bathroom. However another asked, “Would you want to eat your meal in the bathroom or under a blanket?”

All of this hoopla about public baby feeding has made me think about what I plan to do if I have children. I do want to breastfeed, and I’m definitely not an exhibitionist by any means. Just wearing a low-cut top makes me feel overly exposed sometimes. I might have a feeding blanket and will possibly pump at some point. But what if neither method is an option? I’ve heard some babies don’t like being under a blanket. Or pumped milk might not be available. Please believe the boobs will pop out if my baby is hungry. It’s as simple as that. Of course I will try to do it discretely because I’m not one to flaunt them around, but folks can look away if it’s such an issue.

We see people half-dressed all the time on TV shows, in ads and even walking around in public. There are so many other offensive images in our society on a regular basis. If people can stand to see that, they can be OK with catching a glimpse of a mother feeding her child. In most cases the mothers are not trying to be all up in a person’s face anyway. They aren't flashing people intentionally. Besides have you ever heard the cries of a hungry, screaming baby? A mother’s got to do what a mother’s got to do when it’s feeding time.

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