On Breastfeeding (NIP) in Public. Big Whoop

It’s quite the topic these days, isn’t it? I suppose I understand why – but that doesn’t make it any less obnoxious. To me anyways. I know there are others who would concur.

I also know there are others who would not.

Obnoxious, because – really? While I understand some reasons behind a woman not wanting to nurse in public, like being uncomfortable or not wanting to make others uncomfortable…I think that the key word we are misusing here is, ‘reason.’

When really, they are issues. I can understand that. Having issues is not so much a bad thing. We all have them. Creator KNOWS I have them.

When delved into, really and truly – deeply delved into? We would find that many of these issues reside out of basic cause and reaction. It’s been such a topic of controversy, for so long, I can’t blame anyone really – for feeling uncomfortable about it. Or categorizing it as inappropriate because they are sexual organs.

Yes, yes – it’s all deeply personal. From those who are uncomfortable with NIP  (nursing in public), themselves, or seeing someone else do it. Should that be respected? I suppose. But I’m not sure. Just being honest here. It’s complicated – because often others who NIP in public….aren’t. Respected. Told how and where to do if absolutely necessary. Under a cover, in the bathroom, pump and bring bottles, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Really? Would you like to eat in a bathroom? N.A.S.T.Y.

Me right here? I have big bazoonga’s. No matter how I might try to be discreet about it, someone’s gonna see something. Not because I’m whipping them out and crying for all the world to hear, “lookit meeeee! Lookit me and mah boooobies!”

However. Let’s just be clear about who’s brandishing what and how. When on the rare occasion (not so rare back in the day),  I wear a deeply low cut top? Then yes. Then, I’m being an exhibitionist.

Okay, so the whole, ‘pumping to make bottles for feedings in public’ reasoning. Because if we don’t? Lazy. Those name-callers would never consider that the act of pumping bottles to feed one’s baby in public would perhaps contradict a mother’s belief system in that BF’ing (at home, in public, wherever), is a completely natural form of nurturing and sustenance. So why on earth would she go out of her way to do something she does not believe in? Or maybe that mom is having one helluva time with BF’ing and has to latch her baby to her breast every chance she can get to promote milk production or improve her latch. Also? Babies, especially little babies are not on, and do not comply with – a set schedule for feedings.

Which brings me to the whole bossy-pants wear a cover-up manifesto. Firstly, most moms are B.U.S.Y. The amount of wrangling that it takes to get all suited up just to NIP with a cover-up on, especially if one has other younger children to care for? Fahgetaboutit. Not to mention that a very large percentage of babies are not down with having something draped over their head while eating. Especially if it’s hot. Especially if they can’t see anything. Would you like to eat with a sheet over your head? Babies are not these tiny little humans that we can do all sorts of things to that we wouldn’t do to ourselves. Well, okay maybe they are. Oh, you know what I mean.

It’s no news flash that society in general has one messed up idea of sexuality, what’s okay and what’s appropriate. Conflicting ideas. Mired in ignorance, misogyny, and unfortunately, disgust. Met by qualitative, whacked out theories on arousal, immodesty, exhibitionism, intimacy and nutrition.

This clever note as found on Baby Center makes no qualms about debunking every single argument against NIP, pretty sure she didn’t miss anything…an excerpt:

But our society views breasts as sexual.  If the majority feels that way, doesn’t that make them sexual?

The fatal flaw in this argument is twofold.  First, simply because a belief is held by a large group of people doesn’t make it correct.  For instance, Hinduism and Christianity are mutually exclusive, contradictory belief systems that can’t both be true, yet each is believed by very large numbers of people.

Second, societal views are not static and can change very quickly.  Women wearing pants was considered risque by the majority in the U.S. until the 1970s.  Less than twenty years later, when I was a child, the overwhelming majority of women wore pants, and almost no one saw anything offensive about it.  What changed those attitudes?  Women wearing pants.

In fact, the notion that breastfeeding is sexual is itself a newcomer to American society.  In 1938, the government (via the Works Progress Administration) ran pro-breastfeeding poster ads that portrayed a woman breastfeeding, with no resulting outcry.  (To put this in context, the Motion Picture Production Code that banned all perceived immorality or risque content from Hollywood productions was in full effect by 1934.)  The idea of breastfeeding being sexual or abnormal didn’t become the norm until formula did, which wasn’t until somewhere between 1940-1950.  As with the normalization of women’s pants, the transition from “breastfeeding is normal” to “breastfeeding is obscene” in the public consciousness took less than a generation, and occurred because people stopped seeing breastfeeding women.

Since societal norms are so changeable and are rarely based in any kind of science or absolute fact, they make a very shaky foundation for an argument.  This is especially true because, as illustrated in the case of women wearing pants, what changes society’s views is simply seeing something more(or less).  If women simply wear pants, or breastfeed in public, it soon becomes accepted and normal.  In fact, breastfeeding in public is already highly accepted as normal–45 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws stating that a woman has the right to breastfeed anywhere she and her infant are otherwise allowed to be, two other states have passed laws stating that public breastfeeding is not indecent exposure, and the federal government has passed a law stating that women have the right to breastfeed anywhere on federal property they and their infants are legally allowed to be.  Now that’s a majority opinion.

Now look. Me personally? I unleash the controversial wrath that are my breasts; to feed my baby, when and where I darn well need too. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there are times I am uncomfortable when a dude ogles. Or when a woman looks at me with disdain. Even worse, at times with outright disgust. That? Makes me SO sad. It’s all rather despairing even. That many of these devout haters of NIP are women. GAH. I don’t even know where to begin with that one. Do you?

Are you a NIP mama? I’m not talking exclusively – obviously. When you need to. What are your thoughts on the arguments?

Read the whole article: Every Argument Against NIP Debunked

Top Image Credit: Smiley Boy Knows Best

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