Thursday, October 27, 2005

Lactivist rant of the day

I didn't quite get the baby Ugg booties done last night, and I ain't gettin' 'em done sittin' here on the durn compooter, so y'all will jes' have ta wait until tomorry to fix yer peepers on 'em. No idea why I just started talking like a Kentucky coal miner...

I read this excellent editorial the other day over breakfast in my new Mothering magazine. The topic is breastfeeding in public and why it should be encouraged and supported. I thought it was an excellent discussion of the subject and had great reasons why moms shouldn't be expected to go hide when nursing their babies or just stay home so they're not caught in public with a hungry baby.

I will admit that before I had kids, I was a little bit uncomfortable around nursing moms. You know, you're not sure where to look, you don't want to embarrass them or yourself by staring or accidentally catching a glimpse of the dreaded nipple. But the author of the editorial raises the excellent point that the reason why people are so uncomfortable around breastfeeding is because they never see it. My husband used to get a little twitchy when my aunts would nurse their kids around him, but now it doesn't phase him at all when a woman whips out a boob for a hungry kiddo. My brother-in-law and father-in-law used to tiptoe around and make sure they didn't come in the room when I was nursing Sydney. Now with Owen, they're so used to it they don't even seem to notice it anymore. I've gotten much more comfortable with it as well. With Sydney, I rarely if ever nursed her in public if I could possibly help it. I just didn't feel right about it. With Owen, we're out all the time because I can't really keep Sydney sequestered in the house, and I've become pretty blase about nursing him wherever and whenever. I'm very discreet about it, but I'm not afraid to do it.

I think it's ridiculous that our society is so conflicted about breasts and breastfeeding. I mean, really, THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE FOR, FOLKS! It's pretty amazing to consider that a woman can sustain and grow a baby from birth to six months solely on something she's produced from her own body. Why is it that a woman can walk around on the beach almost completely naked, as long as those fearsome nipples are covered? And every night on television you can watch people be killed in a dozen different gruesome ways and nobody blinks, but Janet Jackson flashes her breast for a second during the Super Bowl and everyone goes ballistic? I'd much rather my kids see a boob than see somebody get shot or chopped up into little pieces...

Okay, I'm almost off my soapbox. I just hope that by the time my kids are grown, breastfeeding will be the norm rather than the exception. And that gay marriage will be the norm as well (but that's a whole 'nother soapbox...I'll spare you that one for today).


Blogger Heather said...

I agree that women should nurse in public, I do it all the time and honestly I don't think most people even notice. I don't even cover up with a blanket, I cover up under her where my shirt is lifted up and the top of my shirt covers the rest of me. I've had a waiter ask how she could sleep with all the activity going on (her older brother was being a bit noisy). He had no idea she was nursing! I have yet to have a negative experience nursing in public, but I'm not one to pay much attention to what others reactions are anyway.

My FIL used to be so uncomfortable when I nurse which would in turn make me a little uncomfortable but he's gotten much better about it. My husband has always been very supportive which helps a lot.

I definitely think if it becomes more commonplace, more women will breastfeed. It's not an easy task by any means and we need as much support as possible.

3:48 PM  
Anonymous jillian said...

Here, here. That about covers my perspective!

4:20 PM  
Blogger Beak-Knits said...

I so agree. In total I nursed the girls for 26 record, but I am glad we all made it. I hardly even think of it as being naked anymore. I did get some funny looks, and once or twice a comment. I usually just told folks that I couln't hear them over the slurping....that usually made them uncomfortable enough that they slid away. It didn't help that I looked like a 14 year old single mother. (No offence to single mothers, or 14 year just seemed to make people feel like they could unload)


TAG! You are it...

I'm sending you the Twenty Things About Me meme. Pass it on to three other people.

4:34 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

AMEN, sister! I got pretty comfortable NIP'ing with Sam, and by the time John came around I was totally blase about it. Call me a radical, but I almost think it's a duty for nursing moms to do it in public! It's excellent advertising for the actual purpose of breasts, as opposed to selling cars and beer.

By the way, Chrissy. Totally tagged you for a meme.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Make that another meme.

4:37 PM  
Blogger candsmom said...

I want to jump up on your soapbox and evangelize with you. :-) Seriously, don't even get me started- you will not be able to shut me up. I'm not for pulling off my shirt and baring the sisters or anything like that, but done discreetly, I really don't see what the problem is. What REALLY ticks me off is when I hear people making comments that nursing should be done in a bathroom because it's a BODILY FUNCTION. Hello?! Would YOU like to eat your dinner in a cramped nasty bathroom stall with people pooping next door to you?! Okay, trying to calm down... What kind of commentary on society is it that we condemn moms for doing what we medically know to be the very best thing for their babies? Okay, thanks for opening the floodgates and letting me vent. :-)

5:59 PM  
Blogger Erica said...

I've never had kids and don't plan to have any "naturally." (We want to adopt) But I get so mad at seeing how people treat nursing moms. At my job a few months back, this old lady came up and started going off about a woman she'd seen breastfeeding. Something to the effect of "Well, it's about MODESTY!" in this huffy tone.
So I just told her it's a natural part of life and there's nothing to be offended by. She kept insisting she wasn't offended, but why bring it up then....Afraid of a little boob are we? Honestly, I'm the wrong kind of person to complain to. These idiots don't have a leg to stand on when they're dealing with me. LOL

7:18 PM  
Blogger Erica said...

I think part of the reason men are weird about it is that it reminds them that nursing is the primary function, sexuality is secondary. It still bothers my husband if I do it in front of strangers, and that drives me nuts!

3:37 AM  
Anonymous Brynne said...

Go lactivism! I'm all about modesty but I do not understand why people think that "cover up with a blanket" is the solution to nursing in public! Has anyone ever met a baby who likes that? Would you want to eat under a hot little tent? I strongly doubt it.

Although I keep it sort of quiet in the blog world for the most part, we're really Catholic. I wear long skirts and chapel veils on Sunday. But do I nurse in the middle of Mass? Heck, yeah! I've even had priests tell me they think I'm doing a wonderful job and I wasn't covering John up with a blanket.

Down here in Texas there are a lot of conservatives who are appalled when they see me nursing John in public (he's 16 months old) and then I'll see them get into a car emblazoned with Christian bumper stickers. I always want to yell after them that Jesus was probably nursed until he was three. What would Jesus do, huh? NURSE!

Wow -- rant over and thanks for providing the space to do it.

7:45 AM  
Blogger msubulldog said...

Well said! And an excellent article, too. I cringe when I hear about mothers who are asked to nurse in bathrooms. Ugh. I wish people would just get over it. (I somehow missed ever hearing the term "lactivist"--I love it! :) --Amanda

8:14 AM  
Blogger Chrissy said...

Hey Chrissie, I totally agree. I hope that by the time I have kids, people will have chilled out a bit.

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LActivism - lol! could not agree more! kids are going ballistic gotta go! nat

2:42 PM  

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