Breastfeeding in public has become quite the topic as of late. Actress Alyssa Milano has championed this cause posting several pictures of her breastfeeding her child uncovered. Women have followed suit proposing to “free the nipple” due to the oversexualization of breasts. Campaign ads have shown women in bathroom stalls breastfeeding their children with the caption, “Bon Appetit.”
In short, there’s a movement going on to normalize public breastfeeding.
The basics of this issue are feeding babies in an open and clean environment (i.e. restaurants, parks, pools), and not being shunned for doing so. It has been medically proven that breastfeeding provides more nutrients for a child within the first six months as opposed to using formula. Thus, those who chose breastfeeding truly are thinking about the health of their baby.
But then, there’s the public aspect of things.
Let’s be very serious here, babies do not care where they eat. They just want to eat and eat now. No different than any other human. Right? I’ve seen several Facebook posts debating this subject and the proper mannerisms to accompany it. The last post I saw was along the usual lines. To cover or not to cover? I shouldn’t have to feed my baby in a bathroom stall. If you don’t like it, then don’t look. These women made it extremely clear.
They want to feed their babies when and where they want. And they don’t care what you think about it.
This thought process goes along with the general sense of society doing whatever it pleases, but I digress. I can’t say I blame them in a sense. I mean, their kid is hungry. The maternal instinct is almost always going to outweigh the thoughts of a stranger. So, the kid gets to eat right then and there. There shouldn’t be a problem with this, but there is because public means just that.
Everybody gets to see.
Some women chose not to breastfeed publicly as they are shy. Other’s feed their babies and dare anyone to blink at them the wrong way. I can honestly attest to it making me uncomfortable when I turn my head and my eyes land on a woman breastfeeding her child.
Let me qualify this.
Breastfeeding itself doesn’t bother me in the slightest. If the baby is covered, then I can’t see the woman’s breast. So, I don’t think twice about it. However, when I don’t see a cover it makes me a bit squeamish. Regardless of if you’re feeding your baby or not, that’s part of your body I’m not supposed to see. Call me what you will, but I’m a guy. Breasts have been sexually attractive since Adam and Eve fell in the garden. The first thing they did was sew fig leaves together to cover themselves. So, I’m certainly not alone in this line of thinking. That being said, it doesn’t mean I have a right to ogle a woman. So, let me qualify this a bit more.
The day the Lord saved me, I made a commitment to Him. I turned from my wicked ways and followed Him. Making sure I don’t glare at a woman’s body is part of that commitment. Now, some of my female counterparts have made that hard. On the subject, I’ve seen cleavage for days. The kicker is I’m not supposed to say anything. I’m not supposed to look. It’s not supposed to bother me. It is a woman’s right to wear what she wants. Or, I’m so I’m told. The problem with this is that I can see what I truly don’t want to see. I’m 6’4. Average height for a woman is 5’5. That’s almost a foot shorter than me. That means I can see straight down your shirt when the cleave is popping out. And it can be quite a distraction.
An example is in order.
I was talking to a co-worker that liked to wear revealing shirts. She was sitting down, and I was standing behind the tall wall of her cubicle space. The conversation was nothing more than “Hey! How are you? How’s work?”, but I was preoccupied the entire time. This particular co-worker’s shirt was so low that I had to put my hand by my face to ensure I couldn’t see her breasts. I probably looked super weird with my hand in a salute motion by my nose, but I didn’t care.
I didn’t want to see her chest.
Some women (and men) will say that was my problem. I’m a typical man, and I need to control my urges. I would venture to say a lot of women feel like that. The thing is, I’m trying to be respectful. I don’t want any woman to think I’m looking at her like filet mignon.
This goes for public breastfeeding as well.
It truly is a shock to my system when I turn the corner at Gordman’s and a mom is chillin with her shirt up, breast out, and a kid getting his nutrients (Yes, that happened to me). Not because I thought she was anywhere near sexy. You just don’t expect to see almost bare breasts in public. Kid or no kid, I would still be shocked. Some would point to the oversexualization of breasts at this point, but that’s another subject.
The fact remains public breastfeeding is going to happen regardless of who is uncomfortable with it. Me being shocked doesn’t mean anything in the realm of breastfeeding. At the end of the day, a mother hears her child’s cry and thinks one thing.
My baby is hungry.