Yesterday, a random woman on Twitter felt the need to educate me on my hypocrisy regarding breastfeeding in public. According to her, moms should be allowed to do it wherever and however they see fit. This stemmed from a comment I made earlier in the day on Twitter. It was not directed at her or hashtagged, so I assume she was just bored and searching for people to annoy.
What I said was “This whole right to breastfeed in public thing drives me nuts thanks to moms who have no respect for others & think they’re entitled. Yes, you should be able to breastfeed in public, but YES you should cover up your jugs & not be an obnoxious twat about it.” This was in reaction to a news story about mothers who harassed a business owner after he had requested a mother cover herself in his restaurant while breastfeeding. The mother in question, according to all accounts, made no effort to hide her bare breast in full view of the patrons.
There is a big difference between a mother trying to feed her child and a woman using her child to make a point to whoever happens to be watching. Just because you are still breastfeeding your child doesn’t mean you are entitled to be disrespectful to others. Having your breast fully exposed in public, especially in places with a captive audience such as a restaurant, is not okay. I’m not suggesting moms go hide in the restrooms or in their cars to breastfeed, but I do feel they should make an effort to cover up.
My sister-in-law used one of those massive tent-like covers that completely masked everything. I’ve seen other moms carefully use a blanket to hide certain areas so you can tell what is going on but it’s not in your face. My issue is with the women who feel that breastfeeding is something that needs to be announced to the world. A child should not be used as part of some twisted statement. Even if a business owner wrongly shoos you away while you rightfully feed your child, you should have enough decency to not react by turning your child into a tool for revenge.
Feeding your child does not make you special. Providing the most basic of needs doesn’t make you better than anyone else or entitled to receive all sorts of special treatment at the expense of others. Why should I have to hide my son’s eyes because some woman decides to whip out her breast at Applebee’s? Why can’t she have respect for those around her and do it discreetly? Why am I wrong for wanting mothers to make an attempt to not flash their milk jugs to the world?
I’m not a prude, but I’m also not okay with seeing random tits everywhere. The “it’s natural” argument is lost on me, as a lot of things are “natural” but shouldn’t be blatantly done/performed in public. If your true goal is to feed your baby in the best possible way, then do it. But when your breastfeeding becomes not only an inappropriate public display, but a tool to shame mothers who choose formula and a tool to harass businesses, you’ve crossed a line. Your baby is not a prop.
I suppose I was called a hypocrite by random Twitter lady because I support breastfeeding in public, but I don’t support certain ways it is done. What needs to exist is a mutual respect for each other by mothers and business owners/patrons/etc. Mothers need to make an effort to cover so we’re not seeing nipples galore and everyone else needs to be understanding about the fact that babies need to eat on their schedule, not anyone else’s. Moms should not be forced to hide in a dirty public restroom to breastfeed and I should not have to see nipples and giant engorged bare breasts while shopping at Target. It’s give and take on both sides.
According to my new Twitter BFF, covering hinders lactation. So because a small percentage of babies don’t like any type of cover whatsoever, all mothers should be able to skip using it? I have yet to hear a good argument as to why I shouldn’t demand a bit of modesty from nursing moms. I have yet to hear a rational reason why this angry group of breastfeeding mothers insists that frontal exposure is not only necessary to properly breastfeed, but is something the rest of us should simply deal with. I have yet to hear a good reason why breastfeeding has to be an odd political statement instead of an act of providing nourishment to a baby.
Breastfeeding alone does not make you more woman or more mother than anyone else. You might be the loudest person in the room but volume has nothing to do with your value. If you want to be a good mother, be a good mother. If you want to be respected when you feed your child in public, do so in a way that doesn’t also make you a public nuisance. If you just want to get your knockers out and yell at passerby, no one is going to respect you or listen to a damn thing you say. There is a way to make this whole thing a nonissue, once people get off their soapboxes, quit using babies as protest signs, stop shaming mothers, and start acting like decent human beings.