Monday, May 23, 2011 By: Unconditionally You

Breastfeeding in Public: Gawkers Beware (Melissa)

Beware the booby flasher. She can be found in many places so be vigilant! You might find her at the local mall sitting on the bench. Perhaps you will see her in a restaurant next time you go out to eat, eyes glinting as she swings her breasts at you. Be sure to look carefully because they are everywhere and they want you to look at their breasts. They hope you watch as they lift their shirt and slowly expose the nipple. Are you looking? Is it making you uncomfortable? Because they can only hope it is! That is, after all their goal. Watch carefully because they are fast when they flash you in public places, mind you. Before you know it the head of a small child will be covering the area, which is quite unfortunate because they really wanted you to keep looking. Why do these children need to eat and get in the way of mommy's exhibitionism?

Let me be clear, that paragraph is very tongue in cheek.

Parents have to decide many things as far as child rearing goes. One of the big ones is wether to breast feed or bottle feed. I am not about to make this blog posting a debate about which is best, I will publicly say that FEEDING your child is the best option. Do what works for you, that is my stance. No matter which one you choose though, you have to feed your baby at times when you are in public. You cannot stay chained to your house no matter what.

Many parents (and I say parents because both the mother and father make the decision together usually, although the mother is the one who does the actual feedings if EBF) exclusively breastfeed. This means they do not use bottles at all, for whatever reasons they choose not to. Sometimes a breastfeeding mother is caught in public with no bottle of expressed milk in a bottle handy, but her breasts are ready to go for a feeding. Often a woman just isn't able to pump much breastmilk at all no matter how hard she tries, so bottle feeding is never going to happen for her if she exclusively breastfeeds. With all of these things in mind, a baby will have to eat at times and some of those times will be in public.

So here is an idea for those people that don't like the idea of an infant eating when they are out in public. Don't look. It really is that easy. Just avert your eyes and decide to look at something else. It is rude to stare at anyone while they are eating and that includes an infant and their mother. Mind your manners and avert your eyeballs. The whole problem is solved when you use the neck and eye muscles you were born with to turn your head and look away. If you are offended it is because you choose to be, not because anyone is making you look.

But why can't the mother take the baby to a bathroom? Oh wait, do you want to eat your take out food while someone is pinching a loaf in the stall next to you? I mean the smell alone is something that could kill an appetite, am I right? And do people not realize how long it takes to breastfeed? Try fifteen minutes on each side, at least. So a woman should have to sit in a stall for 30-ish minutes feeding her baby? Those toilet seats are incredibly comfortable so why not. I sure hope in this scenario there is more than one stall because the line of people that actually need to use the bathroom for its intended purpose may not wish to wait for the 30 or so minutes it takes to feed the baby. I challenge everyone who has said a mother should take her baby to a bathroom stall to feed it to eat their meals in a bathroom stall when they go out to eat at least 20 times. That is the minimum amount of times a breastfeeding mother would have to take her infant into a bathroom stall for a feeding in the first year of life.

Next time anyone thinks about getting upset about a baby nursing in public I wish they would stop and think about this. Would it be upsetting if the baby was drinking a bottle? No? Then why is it upsetting because it is a breast. Breasts are not just sexual body parts. They are designed for this purpose. There is nothing shameful or gross about a baby getting milk from its mother. If it bothers a person then they need to realize it is their own personal issue and leave the breastfeeding mom and her baby alone. Keep your nasty looks and comments to yourself. Or maybe one day the mom will whip a nipple out of a baby's mouth and squirt you in the eyeball with milk! Okay, probably not. But the nasty looks sure do deserve it. Just look away and you won't get squirted!