Thursday, December 29, 2011

public nursing

Places I have breastfed my baby:
- My desk at work
- A bar while watching college football
- A burger joint. A sushi restaurant. A barbecue dive.
- A college basketball game.
- The front seat of my car at a truck stop.
- On a bench at the mall.
- My husband's cubicle.

I am not obnoxious about it. Unless by accident, no one sees anything they would normally except an odd blanket covering my front or a huge baby head underneath my shirt. I am not out to prove anything but I am certainly not hiding anything.

The hubs actually directed me to a story about Kasey Kahne, a NASCAR driver, who started a public debate after he tweeted his disgust about public breastfeeding. Here are some comments from the ESPN article (grammar unedited):
"Breasfeeding in public and NASCAR are very similar in that they're both technically legal, but most people find it very distasteful and unnecessary"
Why people find breastfeeding disgusting and distasteful I can't understand except chalking it up to immaturity and ignorance. Unnecessary though? Babies that are exclusively breastfed (no formula, water, food) for at least six months are protected from a long list of viruses and infections.Breastfed children have less risk of developing diabetes, obesity, childhood cancers and inflammatory bowel diseases (source). Breastfeeding boosts intelligence, prevents allergies, lowers the risks of SIDS and reduce the mother's risk of depression and certain cancers. How lucky we are such a preventative is available naturally. No prescription needed. I'd say it's very, very necessary.

"If a man gets in trouble for taking a leak in public, why cant a woman for breastfeeding?"Clearly urinating and breastfeeding a child are unrelated. But this seemed to be the most common argument in support of Kahne. The two aren't even comparable. 

"We have restrooms for a reason."
I will breastfeed my child in a restroom stall the day you take your Big Mac and fries an proceed to eat it for 20 minutes in the same place people defecate.

"This is the 21st century. They invented pumps for a reason."
Except every bit of expressed milk I can muster I have to send to daycare the next day. It's like living paycheck to paycheck, and there is no extra. Pumping isn't as efficient as nursing so like hell I am going to waste a hard earned four ounces when my baby is with me.

"Privacy only takes 1 min to find."
 Actually it's not. And I am fairly certain the same people that think finding a private place to breastfeed is easy are the same folks who would shoot judging looks when my baby is screaming for food. My car might be an option but then I am expected to leave the table and sit in my car for 30 minutes, which in that case should have just stayed home. 

Only 13 percent are exclusively breastfed, maximizing the benefits, through six months, according to the CDC.Only 17 percent are breastfed for a full year which is what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends. The World Health Organization still recommends at least two years of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is a self-sacrificing commitment a mother makes to her baby and his or her health. It's not a convenient choice. Most days it's a whole lot of work, especially when you add in public outings, pumping at work and a baby with teeth.

It's a tough job for mothers already doing the toughest job. A natural, beautiful process that should be applauded, not viewed with disgust and ridicule.


  1. Love this post! More power to you for breast feeding in public. Its sad that so many are judgmental about something so amazing & natural!

  2. No one, especially a man gets to make comments on how I or any other mother chooses to feed her baby and where I choose to feed him! Great post!!!

  3. Yes yes YES! I love this. We just got back from a quick trip to Japan, where I nursed Christian sitting outside of Osaka Castle and in the train waiting area. I was covered and no one was none the wiser... and even if they were, WHO CARES?! My babe hungry!