Thursday, September 13, 2012


It's 2012.  Why are we still debating about breastfeeding in public?

Why why why?  Babies need to eat.  Mommies can't sequester themselves inside the house for two years - which is the length of breastfeeding that the World Health Organization recommends - with their babies.  Therefore, babies will need to eat in public.  Not everyone can pump (I only got drops, ever).  Breasts are for feeding, their sexual assignation is secondary, and OMFG the world is on fire and don't we have better things to worry about than boobs?

But a professor at American University breastfed her sick infant during a lecture and now the blogosphere is all "ZOMG!" debating it.  Yawn.

The only question I have, which may or may not be fair, is, "Where was the baby's dad?"  Why couldn't he take the baby for the hour so that Mom didn't have to cancel class?  I breastfed all three of my kids - Jack for 17 months, Claire for 22, MG for 28.  And I would not have been able to do it without BJ's support.

Moms can't care for children in a vacuum - we need the support of our children's fathers, of our friends and family, of our community...  It's just crazy that in 2012 we still expect that 1) moms should be solely responsible for the care of their children, and 2) moms should never ever breastfeed in public.  It's insane.

I just find the whole debate so tiring, now that I'm out of that phase of parenting.  After 5 years of personally breastfeeding, I can only shake my head that it's still an issue at all.


Unknown said...

Sorry, but I have to disagree with you on this one. While I have no problem at all with breastfeeding in public, this was not simply breastfeeding in public. This was breastfeeding while she was doing her job, which, in almost any other setting would have been seriously frowned upon. Would it be appropriate for a waitress to have a baby hanging off her boob while she took orders and served customers? No. She could have stepped away from the podium to feed the baby and either given the class a break, or had the TA (I read that there WAS one present) continue with the lecture. There's a reason workplaces are required to provide pumping rooms for nursing moms--it's just not appropriate to breastfeed in the workplace where all can see. -Maggie

Miss SP ❥ said...

"Moms can't care for children in a vacuum - we need the support of our children's fathers, of our friends and family, of our community..." AMEN TO THAT! I think some women are even brainwashed to think that they can raise a child all on their own. I mean they definitely CAN but it will just be a million times harder :/

Amy Austin said...

See, I have to disagree that babies are inappropriate in the workplace because rather than being a stay-at-home mom, I had go-to-work babies. And when MG was a baby we had a bunch of college aged engineering interns, only one was a woman, and they all helped me corral her. They also all saw me nursing her at one point or another. She was kind of like the company mascot. :)

Babies at work, like nursing in public, are only weird because no one does it. It doesn't have to be weird. It's not inherently weird. It's just weird because it's not done, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. Most of the moms I've talked to about it have been TOTALLY jealous of my ability to take my kids to work. I had professional meetings with the babies in slings (one memorable one, the woman asked when I was due - she hadn't realized that the baby was already born and in a sling because the way she was curled up it looked like I still had a pregnant belly.

Miss SP - you're right - doing it all alone is at least a million times harder. And it's sad for the kids who don't have that community around them. I can't imagine having to pay $140 for childcare to a FRIEND for the day (as the professor said she did in the article I read). That prof needs to work on her village!

angel0199 said...

I think the biggest problem really is the mom's lack of support system. I have breastfed in public on many occasions and still think this was inappropriate. Her students may not have felt like they had the option to leave or even look away if the professor was also lecturing at the time. While it would be great if everyone treated nursing in public as a normal everyday thing, we aren't there yet. So a college age kid may never have even seen a woman nurse before and may have been extremely uncomfortable. If I am breastfeeding in the mall others don't have the right to make me stop, but they can choose to look away or even walk away. I think her students didn't feel they had a choice. The same goes for you nursing at work. If you nurse in a situation were an intern felt they could leave if uncomfortable fine, but if you where nursing while leading a mandatory meeting, that would be unprofessional in my opinion. Just as someone can't force you to stop breastfeeding in public, you can't force them to watch and this professor was close to the line.