How could something so beautiful and natural
also be the center of so much controversy?
also be the center of so much controversy?
Mothers have been breastfeeding their babies for eons. It is so with all mammalian life, which also includes humans. It is a natural method of nurturing.
Mother's milk, time-tested for millions of years, is the best nutrient for babies because it is nature's perfect food. - Robert S. MendelsohnWhy then is it that this natural act is maligned by so many? How can a society that is far from prudish, look upon breastfeeding as offensive? We can talk about it, we can write about it, but let a mother perform the act in public and she is looked upon with disdain.
When an actress takes off her clothes onscreen but a nursing mother is told to leave, what message do we send about the roles of women? In some ways we're so committed to the old madonna-whore dichotomy as ever. And the madonna stays at home, feeding the baby behind the blinds, a vestige of those days when for a lady to venture out was a flagrant act of public exposure. - Anna QuindlenYou may wonder why I, obviously a male, am championing the rights of breastfeeding mothers on my blog. In a word, happenstance.
Today I was witness to, and a party to such a reaction of a mother publicly nursing her infant. Before I recuse myself, I'll explain.
The young woman chose to sit on a bench in a supermarket to nurse her baby. The bench, usually reserved for the elderly while waiting for a bus or a cab, is located at the exit doors of the store. Needless to say, it is the scene of a lot of activity and foot traffic.
The moment she began to suckle the baby there was a commotion. I suppose that it comes as no surprise that most of the complaints were lodged by the women. (One gawking man did complain, but it was in response to his wife's slap against the back of his head.) The first to complain was a woman with two kids in tow who claimed that her young kids should not be subjected to public nudity and such vulgar acts.
How idiotic civilization is! Why be given a body if you have to keep it shut up in a case like a rare, rare fiddle. - Katherine MansfieldBreastfeeding has long been the subject of art, depicted by even the masters. Yet, by some, it cannot be looked upon in life!
I was in the back of the store and learned of a woman "exposing" herself from an older lady passing me in the dairy aisle. I shrugged it off, thinking it was some "project-trash" who wandered into the store in a drunken or stoned condition. It was only when I arrived at the check-out register with a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk did I see the source of the woman's disgust.
I have witnessed many women nursing babies before. Nearly all of them were discretely covered and exposed very little of themselves. This woman, however, was not so discrete. Beneath an open jacket she was wearing a tube top which had been pulled nearly down to her waist and both of her large breasts were exposed.
Now her "infant" appeared to be a three-year-old boy who was holding and shaking one breast like some toy while suckling on the other.
Yes, I think breastfeeding is a beautiful natural thing - normally! I have nothing against a woman nursing a baby in public - normally! I'm sorry, but this scene wasn't natural or beautiful, and it wasn't normal. I tried to avert my eyes, but it was hard to do.
There must be reasons why we men are so hipped on breasts as if we'd all been weaned too soon. - Gunter Grass
I was leaving the store behind him. While I was at the register I had been silently formulating something to say if needed or if I worked up the nerve. No, I wasn't planning to say anything chauvinistic or off-color. I was just trying to have something clever to say in case she said anything when I passed. (I had already made up my mind that I wasn't going to turn my head. Hell, if she wanted to flaunt them, I was going to look at them. If that makes me a chauvinist - so be it!)
Sure enough she cupped her breast with her hand, looked me in the eyes and said, "I suppose you want some too?"
The rehearsal at the register had paid off. I shook my head, held up the gallon of milk and said, "No thanks. I prefer mine bottled and pasteurized."
I heard her sarcastic reply, "Haha! Cute."
This cartoon reminds me of when my wife was pregnant with our daughter. She chose not to breastfeed, but before the birth she was lactating.
Yep, I held a cup of coffee in front of her and jokingly asked her to "lighten" my coffee.
I can hear you saying, "Haha! Cute." (She did.)