Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Breastfeeding Prejudice Awareness Month

I have decided that in this blog (and hopefully other people pick up the tradition) every January will be Breastfeeding Prejudice Awareness Month. Why? Exactly for the reasons I wrote about in my last blog post. It seems that every January and February you see story after story of breastfeeding being bashed, by celebs, bloggers, talk show hosts, race car drivers, writers, and even pediatricians. All of this can be boiled down to prejudice. The word prejudice means to prejudge something without understanding it. So I am going to talk today about some bfing myths or prejudices and explain them away. Then I would like to include some stories with you of real mothers who felt harassed or ill treated when bfing in public.
1. Women should not bf in public.
Actually  the laws in this country and especially in NYS (where I live anyway) state that a bfing woman has the right to bf her child wherever and whenever it is needed. A place of business does not have the right to ask her to leave.
2. Women should always wear a cover.
Would you like to eat your dinner with a blanket smothering you while you eat? No? Well why would a baby like that? It is hot in there, and the air gets stuffy quickly. That makes for an uncomfortable bfing session for both child and mommy. There are many ways to discreetly bf without a cover.
3. Women should bf in the bathroom.
Are you kidding me? I know many women who won't even actually sit down on the toilet in a public bathroom, they hover above it while they pee. So a bfing mother is supposed to bring their nb baby into a place so dirty that you won't even sit directly on the seat and let her eat her dinner in there. hmmmmm? That sounds pretty hypocritical. Would you eat in a public restroom? I bet the thought is making you sick right now.
4. Women can just pump before leaving the house and then feed with a bottle.
I always love this argument. As I said in my last post.. this leads to several new complications. Now said mother needs to refrigerate said pumped milk, reheat it when it is needed which means she needs to find a microwave somewhere while out shopping. This also can lead to bottle refusal at a time when you do not need a hungry screaming baby, leaking breasts full and engorged, and of course in addition to all of this... the mother now has to deal with possibly pumping while out.. which is far less appetizing to watch then bfing.
5. Feeding in a carrier is just a gross.. you can still see everything.
Really? Really you can see everything? Where? I got this pic from google images because I couldn't find one of my own (though I often did bf in my ring sling.) Where is this everything that is exposed?

6. Breastfeeding is sexual and indecent and shouldn't be done in public. 
Really? So when you walk by an ad like this

or this

that you have no problems with them.... because ads like this are everywhere. yet somehow this 
is far more indecent and sexual even though it is no different then this.

So I will end this will a few quotes from bfing mothers who have dealt with all sorts of prejudices while bfing.

"I always struggled with BFing in public because of the whispers, rolling eyes, and shaking of heads even from women wearing clothes showing much more than I was. I always covered with a wrap. It always made me feel I was doing something wrong and there were times I wanted to stop but my son comes first."

"Just recently a woman compared my BFing completely covered in public to the equivalent to a man masturbating in public covered. Or defecating in public covered.. I was so shocked/humiliated/and offended."

"I was told that I was crazy and wouldn't make it to a year....I weaned my daughter at 11 months....her Dr. also kept trying to get me to supplement because she "wasn't gaining"....she's a lean child."

"I was sitting at TGIFridays when my daughter was just 2 months old with a friend who also had a 2 month old. I put my cover on and started breastfeeding while I decided what I wanted to eat. Our waiter said "this is a family restaurant so can you not do that here." Before I had a chance to say anything my friend went and grabbed the manager and lets just say that waiter no longer works for TGIFridays."

"One day me and my MIL were out to lunch and we had a corner booth in the back. Well I start bfing discreatly but not covered. I never used covers really just went from the top with low cut shirts and nursing bras. Well our waitress was about 17 at the most. She comes to see if we need anything else sees me, drops the pad she had in her hands blushes whips around and disappeared. She came back later and apologized. i said.. it's ok, I was not mad but her shock at an eveen descreetly breastfeeding mother speaks volumes about our society."

"My MIL made comments frequently. All through my pregnancy she tried to convince me it was "okay not to breastfeed. I didn't do it"..Once I dried up, she was more than happy to continue the party with trying to convince me it was for the better."

"I had a lot of bad expiriences with people while bfing in public.. but this was the worst I call it the day of hell. I took my son then 7 weeks old to a craft fair. I had him in the mei tai carrier which is super comfy and awesome but unlike a ring sling is not easy to get a kid in and out of. So I sit down in a isolated corner to bf way up in the bleachers and away from prying eyes. (it was in an arena). Well after three or four people gave me the stinkeye and 2 people made "gah" comments or "look at that.eww" comments I (then being new to bfing in public and not the lactivist I am now) went to the nearest restroom, sat down on the sink and continued bfing. Well in come these suit wearing heel wearing ladies who all gave me a look that plainly said.. "that is disgusting... stupid hippy girl" or at least thats what I got from it. So I started crying. I finished feeding, left the bathroom and went back out to join my friends. I had finally gotten Bug all put back in his carrier when I realized he needed a change. So I went back to the restroom, changed him and then got him back into the carrier and got back to my friends. my then bestfriend (now not my best friend because of comments like these) goes "what took you so long" so I tell her and she says, "eww why were you bfing out in the open anyway that is gross.. I would have laughed at you too." So awful. "

"My SIL and I were getting ready to go out for the night and I said I want to feed my daughter before we leave. As I was feeding her SIL goes I'm glad your not one of those who feeds in public. I told her I had no problem feeding her in public, but since it was a 30 minute drive to where we were going I didn't want her to get hungry and start crying on the way there."

"We were at downtown disney and I was feeding my daughter (she was completely covered but her feet) I had peaked in and asked how she was doing and some guy walked by and goes "that's disgusting! get a room.""

"I haven't had too many issues so far but I don't feed in public a lot. But I do at others houses and at a New Years party I had a guy ask if the baby was going to eat all of that...ugh. I was like really?! So annoying! I really don't see why people make comments about it. It's a wonderful thing and it's none of their business."

So next time you are faced with someone being rude or needing to put their bfing predjudices on you, your body and your child.. stand strong and remeber that for every jerk like this their are 10 other moms who have been through it and who would support you. Happy Breastfeeding Prejudice Awareness Month.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Total Pageviews