Sometimes I try to avoid a topic, if it’s going to result in a ranting post. So yesterday, I was reading the Mannerup column in USA Weekend (yes, I read advice columns. They are a cheap source of self-esteem building, as in “at least I’m not that stupid). Anyway, yesterday’s question had to do with how to stop women from breastfeeding their babies in public, in this case, an elementary school event.
The question had the steam coming out of my ears. The answer helped reduce some of the steam: essentially, you can’t stop them, because they have a legal right to feed their babies wherever they happen to be.
Then she suggested that the writer talk to the school principal about providing a separate room for breastfeeding mothers.
The steam shot back up and turned purple at that.
Still, I wasn’t going to blog about it. I did snap off an email to the columnist. But then, this morning, there was Banned From Baby Showers, talking about a “breastfeeding” tent at baby fairs. (Don’t ask me what a baby fair is. I don’t know.)
So, okay. I’ll blog about it.
On the surface, it may sound like a good idea. A nice, comfy, quiet place for mom and baby to snuggle and eat. What’s wrong with that?
Well….imagine you’re Mom. You’re at the ball game. Your team is behind by 1, it’s the bottom of the ninth, with 2 outs. There’s a runner on 1st and 3rd, the count is 3 and 2.
(If you have no idea what all that means, just trust me. It’s a tension-filled moment.)
Baby is HUNGRY. It’s not the kid’s fault – little babies have little tummies. When they’re hungry, they’re hungry NOW.
So you, Mom, are banished from the public seats, to feed your baby in the thoughtfully-provided “Mommy Room.” Any decent, moral woman would want to do this, rather than flashing her evil, sexy breasts for everyone to see.
Or say you finally get a lunch date with the long-time gang. It’s been ages since you got to relax and chat. The food has just arrived, and Margo has just launched into a detailed account of her co-worker’s on-the-side affair with a supervisor in accounting…
and baby is HUNGRY.
Bye, ladies. I’m off to the Mommy Room. Don’t eat my fries while I’m gone, ‘k? I’ll eat ’em cold when I get back.
Are you pulling your hair out yet? Because I am.
Banishing a woman to a separate room for breastfeeding is so… Victorian. Puritanical. Demeaning.
Breastfeeding mothers are smart, capable women, with a life to live. They are social creatures. They are doing something WONDERFUL, and should have the full support of society while they do it.
If you’re out in public, and you see a woman nursing her baby, go on about your business. Chances are, there’s very little to actually see, since mom’s clothes, and the baby itself, are covering most of the skin. But whatever the case, it’s not anything to be concerned about. Just go about your business and let the world keep turning.
And if the kids see it? Bravo. Maybe when they grow up, they’ll understand it’s a completely natural thing, and they won’t have any hangups to get over.