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Thursday
May132010

50 Reasons for Breastfeeding Anytime, Anywhere


Once again, there has been an incident where someone went up to a breastfeeding mother and told her she had to cover up or leave. Once again, the media feels to need to create a breeding ground for ignorance by asking questions like "should there be any restrictions on breastfeeding in public?" The answer to that stupid question (and yes...there are stupid questions), is simply NO. There should not be any restrictions. There is a myriad of reasons why women should and are able to breastfeed anytime, anywhere.

Human Rights


1. It is illegal to discriminate against or harass a woman because of her sex, including pregnancy and breastfeeding. (or if it isn't where you live, it should be!)

2. Telling a woman to cover up or to strip down is a tactic used to control women.

3. Telling women not to breastfeed in public is a mechanism for marginalizing women.

4. Child's right to eat. Period.

5. Child's right to eat without a blanket over their head.

6. Child's right to eat under sanitary conditions (i.e. not in a washroom).

7. Child, especially baby's, right to eat when they are hungry and in need of nourishment (not according to a schedule arbitrarily imposed to convenience others).

8. Person with disability's right to use the handicapped stall in a washroom when needed, rather than having to wait for a shunned nursing mother to finish nursing or pumping in there.

9. Because a baby's right to nurse is more important than your non-existent right to not have to look at things you do not like to look at.

Logistical reasons


10. To avoid nipple confusion (giving a bottle or pacifier before breastfeeding has been fully established can cause the baby to reject the breast).

11. Because it is a lot easier to just nurse anytime, anywhere than to try to plan the nightmarish logistics of having enough pumped milk with you for the time you will be out, as well as finding a private place to pump before your breasts explode.

12. Because babies often will not allow you to put a blanket or nursing cover over them and will push it off.

13. Because it is hard enough as it is for new moms to get their baby latched on properly, without having to worry about whether they are covering every inch of skin all of the time while doing so.

14. So that mothers can toss a diaper and some wipes in their bag and then go out, rather than being weighted down by having to prepare and lug around a huge diaper bag full of bottles, formula and/or pumped milk on ice, nursing covers, etc.

15. So that moms do not always have to be on the lookout for somewhere to warm a bottle while in public.

16. So that moms do not always have to be on the lookout for somewhere private to express their milk while in public.

17. So that when a mom ends up stuck somewhere longer than she planned, she doesn't ever have to worry about running out of food for the baby (or getting a breast infection because her breasts haven't been emptied in a long time).

18. So that a mother's older children are not prisoners of their younger sibling's need to nurse - a nursing mom can go with her older child to the park, to swimming lessons, to school pick up/drop off, etc.

19. So that breastfeeding moms do not lose their place in line by stepping out to nurse a baby in a private place.

20. So that other women do not have to wait even longer in line at public restrooms because all the stalls are full of breastfeeding moms.

21. So that breastfeeding moms do not end up with a soaking wet shirt when their milk lets down in public because their baby is crying.

22. So that breastfeeding moms do not need to leave their companions hanging in the middle of an interesting conversation by saying "excuse me while I go into the other room to nurse for 30 minutes."

23. Because frequent nursing helps mothers to maintain a good milk supply (inadequate milk supply is the most frequently cited reason for giving up on breastfeeding).

24. New moms have enough to worry about in their sleep deprived state without having to make special arrangements in order to accommodate your opinion about how they choose to feed their baby.

Financial reasons


25. So that mothers do not need to purchase unnecessary bottles, breast pumps, infant formula, nursing covers or other apparatus just to make a few squirmy people feel comfortable.

26. So that mothers do not waste gas going back home between errands in order to nurse at home, rather than in public.

27. So that mothers continue to be good consumers, spending their money in stores, cafes, restaurants, movie theaters, airlines, resorts, sporting events, and more all while nursing their child (instead of staying at home).

Societal reasons


28. To allow women to continue to be full participants in society even when they have an infant.

29. To cut down on unnecessary noise from babies and toddlers who are crying, when it could easily be fixed through the nourishment and comfort of their mother's breast.

30. So that you don't have to listen to a screaming baby while waiting for the bottle to be warmed up.

31. So that you don't have to wait longer for your meal or drink because the waiter or flight attendant is busy heating up a bottle.

32. Because nursing in public is a better (easier, quieter, more attractive) alternative to pumping in public and then feeding a bottle.

33. Because it is actually a lot more discreet to nurse without a cover than to have one of the "HELLO LOOK AT ME I'M BREASTFEEDING" covers over your baby.

34. Because if you are staring with your jaw open at a mom who is breastfeeding in public, you might miss some of the truly atrocious things that you would otherwise have been exposed to in public.

Normalizing Breastfeeding


35. Because breastfeeding should be seen as normal, and not something that needs to be hidden in the washroom or under a cover.

36. Bottles, rather than breastfeeding are often seen as the universal symbol for baby feeding, despite breastfeeding being the preferred method of feeding and more imagery of breastfeeding is required to combat this.

37. The infant formula and baby bottle industry flashes images of bottle feeding all over the place and since there is no money in the advertising of breastfeeding, breastfeeding moms are needed to combat that imagery with the "real thing".

38. Most women haven't had the advantage of seeing their mothers, aunts, and sisters breastfeed, so it is important for them to see others doing it so that they can learn how it is done. The 2 minute whirlwind breastfeeding positioning education given in the hospital just doesn't cut it compared with years of observation.

39. Women in certain socio-demographic groups have never seen another woman breastfeed and that is a huge barrier to them considering breastfeeding their own babies.

40. Women who do not nurse in public or who use nursing covers are likely to wean their baby earlier than those who nurse without a cover in public, which could mean that they do not meet their own breastfeeding goals and and that fewer women meet the goals prescribed by health authorities, such as 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding and continued breastfeeding until at least age 2.

41. Children need to see breasts being used to feed babies before they are introduced to them as sex objects. This means that they should see their own mother (if possible) and other mothers breastfeeding, so that they understand the natural function of the breast.

42. Images of sexualized breasts are everywhere - from advertising to women walking down the street. If there is no breastfeeding in public, but sexualized images of breasts continue to be flaunted in public, our youth will grow up thinking that breasts are only sexual. This will make more women think it is "icky" to breastfeed and make more men have the attitude of "no baby is going to suck on those tits, they are all mine."

Just because


43. Because babies like it.

44. Because breastfeeding is beautiful and I'm sure there are more people who appreciate seeing babies being breastfed than there are people who oppose it.

45. Because mothers do not deserve to be belittled or humiliated when giving the best thing there is to their baby.

46. Because an awful lot of women show more breast when they are not breastfeeding than breastfeeding mothers show when they are breastfeeding.

47. Because I don't like the way you look, but you don't see me debating your right to be in public or suggesting you should undergo surgery or change your wardrobe before leaving the house.

48. Because companies like facebook continue to have screwed up policies that do not allow breastfeeding photos, but yet serve up ads with topless women in them.

49. Because you can turn your head or avert your eyes.

50. Because even one of these reasons is a good enough reason for continuing to ensure the rights of breastfeeding mothers and breastfed children and because every one of these reasons is more important than the "ick, I don't want to see that" excuses of those who oppose it.

Those are my 50 reasons. Which is your favourite? What did I miss?

Image credit:jakekrohn on flickr


« This is why I'm a breastfeeding advocate | Main | Wordless Wednesday: Don't Bug Me, I'm Playing »

Reader Comments (223)

THANK YOU!!! My mind is still reeling after reading a blog post decrying the incredible awfulness of a breastfeeding doll. This was the perfect post I needed to see as a follow-up. Thank you. I am spreading this link far as I can, and saving it for future reference.

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarcy

Because women out with children (say at a restaurant) can't practically (nor should they have to) drag their kids from their table mid-meal and go somewhere else, nor can they leave their other children alone to do so. For that matter, where should they go? The restroom, where their older kids run around touching unsanitary walls and floors?

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNicki

I think you forgot to mention the myriad health reasons, including boosting a child's immune system, preventing allergies (to soy and dairy), providing the necessary building blocks for proper brain development, etc. :) People should consider that the alternatives are a drain on the entire system! GREAT POST!!

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermontessorimatters

This is fantastic. The definitive, exhaustive list. Well done!

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArtemnesia

"Because it pisses you off, you perv." I like that one.

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAilbhe

You forgot one, 51. Because it's beautiful!

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

I always appreciate a breastfeeding article that doesn't heap shames on bottlefeeding families. But I can't deny that every point you make here is so amazing and awesome. Thank you for writing this.

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

I would very much like to share your amazing list on my site: breastfeedingrevolution.com. This is a list no one should miss. I would be more than happy to make it a permanent feature complete with a link back to your site and full credit. We all need to work together to normalize breastfeeding. :) Thank you for this wonderful list.

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterToni

I live in a country where NIP and nursing itself is considered low class. As someone who is obviously a foreigner from a country that is usually regarded as "upper class", I NIP hoping that some one will see me and think, "hey, if she can, I can, too!" It's my public service announcement.

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEly's mom

This is a GREAT post, thank you!

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmeya

#47 is my favorite. I got to use it once.

"You shouldn't do that here, it is offensive to others."
"Yeah? Well, your face is offensive. Why don't you take it somewhere else?"

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

[...] 50 Reasons for Breastfeeding Anytime, Anywhere [...]

My favorite has always been #29... would people really rather hear a baby crying and screaming in a restaurant than see a baby being nursed there? Which is more disruptive and offensive to everyone else in the whole restaurant/store/wherever?

I also like to point out to people who say, "Well, moms should just pump and bring a bottle" that the breastmilk changes from one feeding to another, and that if you and baby are exposed to an illness while out yet give your baby some previously expressed milk rather than nursing him from the breast, then you are not giving him the immune benefits. I don't like using any that are about convenience because people really like to throw it back in your face, "Well, being a parent isn't supposed to be convenient!" True, it is not, but they completely miss the mark on that one. They miss the mark on lots of things and call them "selfish." Sure, it might be selfish of me to desire convenience, but this is about the way our bodies were supposed to work, not about trying to be lazy! But most people who are opposed to NIP really don't get that at all...

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErin

Love it!

My first few times nursing in public were exceedingly nerve wracking. My choices were to sit in a waiting room and let my newborn cry and disturb everyone around me, or risk offending someone by nursing him.

I've had to pump in restrooms before. And I've had to quickly pack up the pump and vacate because my co-workers needed the stall. Not fun, especially when you work in a building filled with men.

I know of one aunt who breastfed. My mother tried, but probably faced too many barriers and had no support to overcome them. I know of no other women in my immediate circle of family and friends who breastfed. I first witnessed a mother breastfeeding in public when I was about 15.

And I am so tired of being judged for my decision to breastfeed my son -- anytime, anywhere. Just let me do what I need to do, especially when it's the best thing for him!

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBethanyBob

I always nurse around my kids and their friends when I need to nurse. Especially my teenage son and HIS friends. They need to have seen casual nursing at least once in their lives before they become fathers and are freaked out that they have to share their wife's breasts. ;) And I nurse my 3 year old at home around his friends, not just an infant or toddler. The only reason a woman needs to breastfeed anytime anywhere is because she feels like it. The End. Thanks for a fabulous post!

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSally

Amen to everything!! But #46 was my fav. Under financial reasons you missed, "because breastmilk is FREE!"

My son HATED having a blanket over his head to nurse! Unfortunately public uncovered breastfeeding where I lived at the time was considered public nudity and indecent exposure and therefore illegal. I tended to go sit in the car rather then have to worry about what jerk was going to be offended by it that day. Sometimes I had no choice and would spend the whole feeding either fighting my son each time he pulled the blanket off while he fussed and cried or getting stared at if I ditched the cover. Not to mention I had my son in JULY and where I lived summer days range from 80-110 degrees. Even a thin blanket made both of us sweat and sitting in the car was only practical on the days I drove my car that has AC. My husbands car did not and those days were miserable.

When I went back to work my company was very good about telling me I could have as much time as needed to pump, without taking it out of my pay, but it was such a hectic, chaotic, busy job I rarely had time to pump enough. Partly my fault because technically I could have interrupted things anyways to go pump but as a supervisor it was really hard. Not to mention the "where have you been?" comments and looks I would get from people, or having to try and hide my milk in the freezer and my "pumping accessories" when I was on my way to and from pumping so that I didn't offend the men that worked for me. I was told it "made them uncomfortable to see those things" meaning the pump, bottles, etc and that it was "weird and gross" to have to put their food in next to my "bodily fluids". My boss wasn't sure about the OSHA rules in regards to breastmilk. He was worried I might need to put my frozen milk in a labeled bio-hazard bag. It didn't offend me, because I understand that it is just not something people are exposed to but it was frustrating and contributed to me not pumping enough and I started loosing my supply when my son was 6 months old. Nipple confusion sealed the deal.

Breastfeeding has been making a good comeback in recent years. It was way more taboo and practically non existent in the US when my parents were born (1950's). We have a long way to go tho! Thanks for the great list!

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaravissant

Love it - the only other one I thought of was:

51. Because if a mother doesn't breastfeed, she'll then get public criticism for giving her baby formula - in other words she'll be criticised anyway so it may as well be for doing the best thing

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterelizabeth

yes yes yes yes and yes. i like #37, that public breastfeeding provides a visual alternative (so much power in image!) to incessant formula ad campaigns. great post.

I like #1. Knowing that it is, in fact, my human right to breastfeed in the place that I live helps me to feel confident. That, and pretty much everything under the 'normalizing breastfeeding' header. We need to create a breastfeeding culture if we want mothers and babies to succeed.

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

Because babies like it. :) So cute!

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLLL Junkie

This is a wonderful article. It's a bit abrasive. I don't really like responding to ugliness with ugliness; sensarity and conviction are all we need as individuals to be confident in ourselves and to teach the next generation who will be the breastfeeders, thinkers, citizens, parents, friends, workers, and the public eye who helps define our sociatal norms, to be effective, confident adults, as well. I myself was too young to remember when my mom was breastfeeding my little brother, and from then, I have been over-sexed and was uncomfortable breastfeeding in public until I got down the issue of helping my son latch on while he was covered. I ended up not going out unless I absolutely had to, and then hiding myself in a private room or going out to my car to breastfeed without a blanket. At home, I practiced until I was comfortable enough to try it out in public. I got mixed reviews. Some people thought I should go elsewhere with that. Others gave my arm a squeeze and gave me a warm smile. At home? I was living with my sister and her son, who was 3 at the time, and he regularly saw me breastfeed, and my sister and I told him about the process. He quickly learned to stop making fun of showing my "private parts" and instead began encouraging me, "Marc is ready for your milk." "He's not old enough for cow's milk," he would say, "is he?" "I am old enough, but babies only drink mommy's milk." We got the message across. With my subsequent children, I most definitely will keep in mind my right to feed without shame or the awkwardness of covering up. Again, Thank You!

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

I love it. The insistence that moms be "discreet" about breastfeeding really gets me when it comes to dealing with older babies and toddlers. They're not exactly cooperative with such efforts at all times. My youngest loves to make sure everyone knows what she's doing. When we have company over, she pops on and off to make sure the guests are watching her.

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

I agree that more potential and new mothers should see other women breastfeeding. If we don't teach our children what the breast was really created for then who will a MAN? I have actually pointed out another woman who was exposing more of herself in a low cut shirt than I was nursing when some one has said something to me. That shuts them up real quick. Or I will tell them to go buy me the neccissary equipment to pump or formula feed if they have a problem with me nursing in public. That gets a GREAT response! lol MOMMY MILK. DOES A BABY GOOD! That should be the breastfeeding slogan! Who's with me?

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

Actually that is there - it is #44. :)

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

great post! :)

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkim

Hi Toni,

I'd love for you to post a link to my article on your website. Please do not copy and paste the whole article though, as it is my copyrighted work. Thank you for your understanding.

Annie

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Awesome post!

I have been very fortunate in that, having been breastfeeding my baby daughter for the past nine months many many times in public, I've never once been made to feel uncomfortable. I don't know whether that's because the city I live in, Oxford, UK, is particularly well-adjusted on this issue - but I feel happy and grateful to have been able to feel so comfortable feeding my baby anywhere in the city - pubs, cafes, restaurants, park benches, you name it, I've probably breastfed there!

In fact, I spent a few weeks visiting my husband on a hospital ward as he got taken ill and had to have emergency surgery recently, and I was feeding my daughter quite openly while visiting, when an old lady starting walking towards me. Just for a second I thought she might be about to tell me to stop breastfeeding or something as she looked quite stern initially, but she simply leaned close in, watched her feeding, and said "I just wanted to come and see the little baby". I was surprised that she came right up and looked, but really delighted that she was just so oblivious to the breastfeeding, just treated it as a totally normal thing and had just wanted to see the baby up close :)

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLorna

great post - found it through twitter

maybe you could add 'because you need to butt out! as in 'i'm not openly judging your parenting choices so get your beak out of mine!'

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersungirltan

I like number 42- there definitely needs to be a counterpoint to the sexualization of breasts, because they really are for feeding babies!

Before I started breastfeeding I thought that I might bring a bottle with me sometimes instead of NIP, but it didn't take long for me to realize that I can help people see that breastfeeding is normal, and that bottlefeeding can be a substitute but shouldn't be the default. I never saw anyone that I know breastfeeding other than one friend- and even at the time it weirded me out a bit. Now I can see the truth of the matter, though, and I'm doing my part to promote breastfeeding among my circle of friends by never being embarassed to feed her whenever she is hungry.

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSara

My fave is definitely #33. :)

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

I just love breastfeeding. There's so many good things. I can't think of a bad thing.

We have a Mama bunny with a nest in our yard. I happened to walk by when she was nursing her babies and got quite close to see. and oh my goodness. It took my breath away. It's what we were made to do.

Steph

I got a clogged duct after bringing a bottle of EBM to a christening instead of breastfeeding in public. I'll never do that again!!!!! Plus my son, who was only 5 weeks old, looked at me like "What the heck is this fake thing in my mouth?"

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAbbie

So well-done, Annie! As always. What a great list. I think the normalizing breastfeeding reasons are becoming more and more important to me.

This list inspired me to dig back into my archives and republish a post about how I handled nursing in public on a practical level with my second child when I had no choice but to breastfeed anytime, anywhere: http://sortacrunchy.typepad.com/sortacrunchy/2010/05/a-practical-solution-for-nursing-in-public.html

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan@SortaCrunchy

great read!

i would ad that breastfeeding is environmentally sound because it comes in a reusable package ;) also, pumping is not always an option. i've known plenty of breastfeeding mothers who can not pump an ounce, especially after baby is several months old and they have not been pumping regularly. breastfeeding has been the biological norm for millions of years. without breastfeeding, none of us would be here.

as for why we should nip in public, that one's easy. because we are no longer slaves to the whims of others. women are free and equal and we deserve our standing in society whether we run a fortune 500 company or we stay at home to raise (and sometimes nurse) our children.

jen (nak, sorry for the lack of capital letters!)
mother to 5 breastfed babies and stepmother to 2 more breastfed babies!

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJen

What's so ridiculous about the whole 'not putting your bodily fluids' in the communal fridge, or that it's 'weird' for babies to drink breastmilk is that it's actually a hell of a lot 'weirder' that humans drink a cow's bodily fluids.

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterallison

Hear, hear x 50! My favorite is #46.

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElaine

[...] PhD in parenting and 007b [...]

I love seeing animals nurse. :)

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSally

Thanks, Annie! I will do as you wish. :)

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterToni

Where is the section on health benefits?? The numerous positive effects of breastfeeding for mother and baby in regards to physical and emotional health should be just cause for women to nurse their babies anytime and anywhere. A few of the top benefits include the release of hormones in the Mother that prevent post partum depression and develop a strong bond between mom and baby, a reduced risk of breast and cervical cancer for mom, the effects of skin to skin contact between mom and baby helps baby's brain development, the muscles that a baby uses to nurse help with speech development, a baby is protected against illness and infection when breastfed and a baby receives exactly what he needs from breastmilk at every feeding. These are just a few of the numerous health benefits of breastfeeding that make bottle feeding less than a poor substitute.

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBethany

Bethany:

I have a detailed post on the http://www.phdinparenting.com/2009/05/14/the-scientific-benefits-of-breastfeeding/" rel="nofollow">Scientific Benefits of Breastfeeding. They are significant.

The reason I didn't address them specifically in this post is because most people who oppose breastfeeding in public usually say something along the lines of: "I support breastfeeding, but [insert reason they don't think it should be done in public]." They obviously do not understand that it isn't easy to breastfeed without doing so in public, especially if you are the type of person who is frequently in public. Not all moms can or want to lounge around the house most of the day. Or they unrealistically expect mothers to remove themselves from society for the duration of their breastfeeding experience. Or they want mothers to breastfeed, but just "cover it up" as if it is something disgusting.

My point here is that supporting breastfeeding means also supporting women who breastfeed in public. Without any restrictions.

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Over on the http://ottawafoodies.com/forum/2832" rel="nofollow">Ottawa Foodies forum, they are talking about this. One of the members said:

"Sure, breastfeeding is a wonderful gift for babies, but I don't think it is anytime anywhere activity for me...I believe breastfeeding is very special bonding experience between mom and baby, and If I breastfeed my baby,I personally appreciate privacy and SAFE environment. When I saw a young mom openly breastfeeding her baby at food court, I witnessed many men stared at her...chuckling with kind of dirty look.

Anytime and anywhere breastfeeding is human rights for any mom and babies,I understand that, but there are men in this world too. Don't take me wrong I am not accusing men,I am trying to make a point that men shouldn't be left behind...We should consider and RESPECT what men think about breastfeeding in public too.

So male foodies, what do you think about breastfeeding anytime anywhere?"

I'm not male, obviously, but here are my thoughts:

1) If men were staring and chuckling at a woman who was breastfeeding, it is probably because they haven't seen enough of it in their lives. As I mentioned in this post, children need to be exposed to breastfeeding in public right from the very beginning of their lives. If they see it all the time, it wouldn't be a "oh look...boobies...giggle...giggle..." type of situation for them.

2) I don't understand how a woman breastfeeding in public is "leaving men behind" or disrespecting men. If men do not like women breastfeeding in public, why should the woman have to be the one to leave? If the man doesn't like it, he should feel free to leave. When a song that I do not like comes on the radio, I change the station. I do not complain that the radio station is disrespecting me. To suggest that women should accommodate mens' needs in this instance (and I haven't heard many men say they have a problem with it) is discriminatory. It is putting mens' needs ahead of the needs of women and babies.

3) Of course, any woman who is not comfortable breastfeeding in public doesn't have to. The point here is not to force anyone. But the point would be to create a situation where more women can do so comfortably and where more women feel comfortable doing so.

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Amen!

I especially love #50 - even if 1 through 49 weren't so important on their own, the last one basically sums up the whole 'it's not really a big deal until you make it one by complaining' idea which kind of cuts to the heart of the matter (and actually reflects a lot of the other topics you've raised such as objectification of women, children's rights etc..). I just don't see why people who don't like seeing breastfeeding can't just look away and why they feel they have a right to say something, I disagree with lots of people's parenting in public but don't go up and start preaching to them about being offended by their yelling and/or tone of voice (although sometimes I wish I had more guts to voice my displeasure when I see people being truly awful to their littles).

With advocates like you, hopefully one day all this nonsense will be remembered as such and we'll all be able to sit back and laugh at the ridiculousness of the very idea of being hassled over bf-ing.

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterchapeskie

Great post! I nurse my toddler in public all the time, and I've actually had way more people come up and tell my how beautiful it is to see a nursing pair, than give me weird or creepy looks.

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

If I might add, I really hate when people make it a "men versus women" issue. I have seen women shun other women for breastfeeding as frequently as I have seen men. And I know men who are supportive of women breastfeeding.

It's not leaving men behind (see Phdinparenting's second point), so why get into this debate of men v. women?

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaitlin

I agree. Men are adults... they can avert their eyes. This whole issue of men not being able to control themselves if they see a breast is ridiculous. Why should we inconvenience ourselves and leave the room, missing out on whatever we were participating in so they don't need to "control" themselves? My husband is very supportive of breastfeeding, in public or at home. He has no problem if other women are nursing in public. It doesn't make him go wild with desire. Sheesh.

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterToni

I seem to have had an error in reading comprehension, sorry, carry on... :-)

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

did i miss public health and cost of insurance premiums or to government of the increased medical needs of children not breastfed, as not feeding in public tends to lead to not breastfeeding...

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterslee

I nurse a 3 year old and this list had me nodding in agreement several times. Fantastic!

I especially love number 9: A baby’s right to nurse is more important than your non-existent right to not have to look at things you do not like to look at.

And I do think this entire problem is a result of sexualizing breasts in our culture (putting breasts as sexual objects ahead of their true use: to comfort and nourish a child), as well as women still not seeing how much of how they view themselves and what they do as being controlled by how men will view them. Women walk around with their breasts on display because it makes them seem sexy (and women size up other women based on the threat of competition, again judging issues like these through that lens). There are parts of the world where breasts are not sexual at all. It is learned. We have internalized this and forgotten what they are actually really for. Kids these days will grow up not knowing this and just see them as toys for men. A way to look sexy for men and to please them. It's ridiculous that men (and a lot do) complain when nursing goes on too long because they think of that body part as belonging to them. Thank God my husband isn't like that but many are. Just talk to a mom who nurses beyond 6 months.

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney

My "standard" line: "It's a baby, a boob, and a meal. If you can't stand to encounter those three things, how do you function in the world, and have you considered consulting a psychiatrist?

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPaul A Lee

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