Sunday, June 8, 2008

Public Indecency

People, we need to talk about nursing in public.

(Not the profession, we're talking about breastfeeding.)

I have recently heard yet another story about a waitress that asked a patron to stop nursing her child, and then actually attempted to cover the baby with a napkin or make the mother turn and face the wall.

Let's forget everything else for just a moment other than the basic rules of nature. NEVER, ever, ever, come into the personal space of a mother feeding her baby or do anything to disrupt that process. No matter what. If it's a cat with kittens, a dog with puppies, a bear with cubs, whatever...it's a primal thing, don't fuck with a mama feeding her babies. Period. End of story.

But, what if it is a human? And what if I can see her booby? Worse yet, what if my husband or son saw her boob? Bare boobies should only be in bathrooms, so if she needs to feed that baby that way, she needs to do it in the bathroom, right?

Wrong. If your husband or your son are so driven to distraction by a couple of inches of jiggly flesh with a baby hanging from it that they can't even eat...then they need to eat in the bathroom.

I will say that when I nursed in public, I covered with a blanket. This was more to protect the world from the sight of my muffin top, then it was to protect anyone from an accidental glimpse of breast. I will even go so far to say that if you were staring hard enough to catch that glimpse, I probably did society a favor by letting you get your fix in such a harmless manner.

I will also say that some babies don't put up with that blanket shit. And some moms just can't figure it out (tuck the corner of the blanket under your bra strap, pull the blanket across you, pull your shirt up and push the baby in there). little kid, surprise surprise, was not a fan of the blanket, so I would have to do an elaborate draping system to please him and still protect innocent bystanders from the great white mushroom cloud aka my post baby midriff.

So yes, in an ideal world, no one would be forced to endure the awkwardness of a mother nursing her infant. But sometimes, the world is a really hard place, and you just may be forced to avert your eyes or even worse...explain to your child what that lady is doing.

If it brings you any comfort at all, regardless of how cool and calm she appears, chances are she's as nervous and awkward as you are about it. She's just doing her job and trying to protect your tender ears from a shrieking baby. She's not trying to steal your husband or corrupt your children. She's not making a political statement. She's not challenging your own feeding choices. She's not trying to ruin your meal. She's not trying to cause any trouble.

She's feeding her baby.

So if you are ever out in public and you encounter such a situation, the best thing you could do would be to give her a slight smile and go about your business. If you have an impulse control problem, or are really so terribly embarrassed you can't handle yourself, feel free to quickly avert your eyes and/or remove yourself from this anxiety causing situation.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT approach the mother, especially with suggestions or a cover up. Doing so could result in bloody, gouged eyeballs and hordes of women teaming up to attack via email, news media, the internet, nurse-ins, etc. in order to protect the insulted mother.

You can go HERE to see some pictures of boobies, because I know you pervs are all mad that this post wasn't more boob-related. PLEASE make sure your husbands and sons don't see these images, they will instantly become sex hungry maniacs and it will be the downfall of society for them to see breasts being used as they were intended.

Now please, just go about your business, and stop being such freaks about this particular topic.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are a rock star!!!! I couldn't agree more and all the points you made on the thread are the most articulate ones for NIP. I can't add becasue I'd just be quoting you. Thanks for being smart and vocal.
C

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you are aware, Ashley, but it is AGAINST THE LAW in the state of Florida to ask a breast-feeding woman to stop or leave. What's sad is that WE HAVE TO HAVE A LAW FOR IT!!!!!!!

Cassie said...

Now that is an awesome post! I'm going to send it to some of my friends. I'm the first of my friends to be pregnant, and every time I tell them I am going to try to breastfeed, they say "Ew. You're not going to do it in PUBLIC are you?" and give me "that look." It really makes me want to punch them all in the face, as much as I usually love them.

Melodie said...

I didn't breastfeed my daughters for a number of reasons, but not because I didn't want to do it in public. And I don't care if other people want to do it in public, either. I think it's stupid that other people do have an issue with it.
It's like that saying, "If you don't like what's on TV, change the channel." Well, if you don't like looking at a mother breastfeeding her baby, then look somewhere else. Geez, Louise!

Oh, and that Chiquita banana sticker on lk's head just totally completes the picture!

Mel said...

I don't understand why people are so freaked out about it. Now if you just rip off your top, and sit there all National Geographic style, then maybe I'd understand a little bit of discomfort on the part of people around. But EVERY time I see a woman breast feeding, she is always trying to be as discreet and normal as possible. I know I was. I breast fed my daughter at Disney World, and tried to be modest with a blanket. And you know what? I had so many people come up to me, even MEN, telling me how great they thought it was that I was feeding my baby, and I was out amidst people, instead of hiding in a grungy bathroom. I would have LOVED if some waitress had suggested I go to the BATHROOM to FEED my baby. "Would YOU eat your dinner in this restaurant's restroom? In ANY public restroom no matter how "CLEAN" it appears?" That would be my question. Right before I find out who I was "offending" so much. You are right, when a mother is feeding her young, NO ONE should interrupt, and certainly not to tell her to cover up. The nerve!

GeorgiaOnMyMind said...

Your post was bang on!

NIP *should* be a non-issue. I've had lots of "looks" even though I'm super discreet (why would I *want* to show random strangers my boobage anyways?)... why is it more socially acceptable to show major cleavage, or worse, butt cleavage, than it is to feed your baby? sigh...

Momma Mary said...

A. MEN. I got really mad when that lady got kicked off the plane for nursing. I was currently nursing Little Monster, so it hit home. When I nursed, though, I fed him. When he wanted to be fed. No matter where I was. Although, I'm super modest, so I was discreet, but it didn't stop me from feeding him at the food court in the mall, even if they did have a 'special' nursing room where I could go hide (ie, a large bathroom with chairs in stalls instead of toilets). I don't eat in the bathroom. Neither does my kid.

hicktowndiva said...

I have a nursing drape that I use when I feed my baby in public and yes, sometimes it looks like I might possibly be wrestling a rabid wolverine under that nursing drape, that is how much the baby kicks and squirms. However, I am trying to cover up and I sincerely hope the world gives me some credit for that.

Demand More said...

You rock! I love you for this post. Back when I was breast feeding in a park I was asked to cover up, I told them go to hell, I was even covered up, well, mostly.

Cake said...

Don't you think he's a little old to be BFing in that pic?? ;)

I'M KIDDING!!!!!!!!!!!

Great post!

Anonymous said...

AMEN ASHLEY! You rock! Thanks for posting this, as I'm sure Nicky needs all the support she can get right now!!!

Blanda Amania said...

Oh, how I miss nursing. I also covered up as much as I could, but my kiddies just had to know who was talking and what was goig on, so I'd whip out from under the blanket to show all my wonders, which included a generous muffintop. Sometimes it just can't be helped and Lord help the waitress who ever would dare touch me and my baby when we're nursing. She might as well stick her head into my mouth and ask me to take a bite.

Love the picture, BTW.

SAHM: Surviving Assorted Home Mayhem said...

Total agreement here! I nursed baby until he weaned himself several months ago and I was an anytime, anywhere mommy [tho reasonably discreet.] My favorite quote is; "If my nursing in public offends you please feel free to put a blanket over your head."

Nicky/ninmanso66 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joy said...

I only wish someone would have said something to me while Bfing one of my children in public! I think I would have punched someone in the nose.

Some people just can't ever be happy had the child been screaming his head off from hunger that would have pissed them off also.

Anonymous said...

I think Nicky should go back there JUST to nurse her baby... I wanna join her.

Ditto to everything you said.

Let a woman feed her baby already!

jennyandcompany said...

I also dare someone to say something to me about it, I think it would be fun to go all apeshit on the person.

Mamalicious said...

rock on mommas who nurse. Don't feel one bit bad. Your milkshake is nothing to be shamed of.

Kira said...

YESSSSSS!!! Hear hear! I only wish someone would say something to me so I too can make someone bloody and gouge out their eyeballs. I think I have anger issues...

Meghan said...

Amen.

I live in the United Arab Emirates. Local women here COVER. No hair, usually no eyes, fingers or toes are shown. However, boobs are revealed freely if a baby is attached. I love that. Walking down the mall you can see a poof of black material and viel sitting on the bench with a beautiful boob and baby displayed.

Audubon Ron said...

Very well, but if you do that in public, the only polite thing to do is offer everybody a hit.

[He strolls away singing, “Thanks for the mammaries.”]

Ashley said...

I'm currently in the biz, with Miss Stella being about 6 wks old. It's hard and uncomfortable but if she's hungry what can a momma do. As usual you're right on the money. I have a feeling I would flip the f out if someone approached me regarding my boobies. Hell you can see more of them in my v neck shirts than you can when she's eating. Pervs.

carol said...

You. Go. Girl.

Amy said...

Oh you're killin me. How I wish when I drafted Sunday's "I Heart Ashley Day" post (last week) that I'd had this link!!

You R Awesome.

Di said...

I wonder if I can ask a waitress at the next restaurant I visit to ask the A**-hole talking loudly on his cell phone to put a blanket or napkin over HIS head. Now THAT'S offensive!!!

Besides...most babies are not screaming when they have a boob in their mouths. And that's a good thing! Because I am more pissed off by people who let their babies scream in public than people who let their children eat peacefully in public!

LceeL said...

Serious issues require a serious attitude, so I'm going to behave myself. You are so absolutely right. Breastfeeding women should be left alone and allowed to do as they please. If you don't like it - don't look. For millions of years, that was the ONLY way a kid got fed. How could anything be more natural - and why would it require comment by ANYBODY?

Geez, some people just need to get a life.

And I TOLD Annie that kids grow on trees and she wouldn't believe me. But there's proof. Right there. Hangin' off your boob.

Rph Mommy said...

A-freaking-men. I totally agree with everything you just said.

Rph Mommy said...

BTW, adding, I just shared this with my parenting board. Be prepared for much love.

Sarah said...

Ha! I also cover my muffin top!!

tbonegrl said...

f.a.b.u.l.o.u.s. and amen. Thank you! I get double the horrified stares if I try to feed my twins at once!

Mitch said...

Damn it, man! I eat at the same restaurant too. Well, not anymore! Sorry, Nicky that that happened. I can't believe that she actually tried to touch your baby too. So wrong.

Anonymous said...

I love it!

Traci said...

LMAO.. the only reason I ever covered up was to avoid exposing the world to my muffin-top as well!

And what a hormonal, emotional mess of a pregnant women I am- I almost broke out in tears with the "She's feeding her baby" line..
Cry worthy? No, but I'm pregnant and have an excuse for being emotionally un-stable. That and the fact it is 93 fucking degrees and Hubs STILL has not put in the AC.

Barb McMahon said...

Hear hear!

mary/riverview9 said...

thanks for bringing this up. i'm nursing my 15 month old and i don't hesitate in public. i don't cover up because he won't have anything over his head while eating. i once had a elementary age boy stare at me for a while but other than that i had no trouble.

i still remember when my son was just a few months old and i was NIP and some wonderful women walked up and said "good job, breastfeeding is great" and walked away.

Impoverished Preppy said...

So with you on this - I nursed both my girls until they were two and my boobs were on display all over town - parks, restaurants, the mall - you name it - I flashed it.

One possible exception to your post - what if the child being nursed is nigh on four years of age? I was once at a restaurant in CA back in the day and a woman was nursing her four year-old son. I am all for extended and extensive breast feeding, but I will admit, watching his big ol' tennis shoes swinging in the air as his legs dangled way off her lap was a wee bit disturbing.

Lauren said...

Amen Sister.
No one ever had the nerve to say anyhthing to me, but I would have loved for them to.
Personally, I would rather see a little boob action than listen to a screaming baby.

Emmy said...

You're my hero Ashley!!!! Bring out the boobies ladies!!!

karen said...

I mainly used the baby to cover my post-baby midriff. I figured there wasn't really a point to draping - any oglers would be so distracted by the great expanse of nursing boob to look for my belly. It helped that my kids were bald for a looooong time so people looking on could spend a while trying to figure out if they were looking at the baby's head or mama's boob...

Heather said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post! I just found your blog and am so glad I saw this post! I am currently breastfeeding a 5 month old and I honestly don't care where I have to do it at. If the girl is hungry, she's hungry! I think breastfeeding rocks.

I hope you don't mind, but I am going to put a link to this post on my blog.
Thank you for this post!

Marketing Mama said...

A friend pointed me to your site today - thanks for this post. As a nursing Mom I'm constantly trying to deal with this shit - luckily no one has tried to force me into a bathroom or cover me up (WTF?) but I have had a lot of other women who have tried to make me pump in a public bathroom _ YUCK _

auds at barking mad said...

Bravo! That was brilliant.

Like many moms, the Little Imp HATED, with a red hot passion, having anything draped over her when we were out in public. So much for the expensive hooter hider I bought just weeks before she was born, in anticipation of NIP'ing. I pretty much learned to creatively stay covered up, and hide the mother of all muffin tops too!

I can't stand the fact that people get so gorked out about NIP. The only other thing that gets me more irate, is people who think the minute a baby gets a tooth you should yank them off the breast, IMMEDIATELY! Talk about wanting to poke someone in the eye!

BTW, love your blog. Found you through Mamasphere.

Kelly said...

BRAVO!