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Is Minding Your Business About Public Breastfeeding Really That Hard?

Browsing and BreastfeedingLast night I read a post on PopSugar entitled “Dear Breastfeeding Moms, Is It Really That Hard to Cover Up?” The author, a mother and blogger, signs the piece, “A Fellow Breastfeeding Mother Who Just Doesn’t Get It.” My initial thought was upon reaching the end of the post was, “You’re right. You don’t get it.”

I am an adamant supporter of breastfeeding including public breastfeeding. Breastfeeding and breast milk are nutritionally best for human babies. While formula is a lifesaver when breastfeeding truly fails, breastfeeding is the optimal method for feeding human babies. I definitely have a strong opinion on the subject, but I also support the right of others to make choices different from my own. If you ask me about infant feeding, I will reply that breast is best.

I have breastfed both of my children. My daughter nursed for two and a half years and still drinks some breast milk that I pump for her. My son, who is eight months old, has breastfed from birth and still prefers his mama milk over solid food. Both my kiddos exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. Because I do not like to sit at home all day every day, I often breastfeed my children in public. Without a cover.

To date, I have used a cover exactly once and only once while breastfeeding my babies in public, and my use of a cover was more to keep my daughter warm and asleep than to hide the fact that I was nursing her. If I tried to cover my son now while he nursed, he would rip the blanket off his head and shriek, becoming completely distracted by the nuisance over his head. If I tried to use a cover, I would definitely expose the world to my breasts.

The author of “Dear Breastfeeding Moms, Is It Really That Hard to Cover Up?” argues that she does not want to see my “naked boobs” (her words, not mine). She also does not want her husband or her preschooler son to see exposed breasts either. She attempts to argue that she is not sexualizing breasts but then goes on to compare breasts to vaginas. Her argument against breastfeeding in public without a cover is contradictory and comes across as a bit childish. I picture her giggling immaturely at the mere thought of another woman’s breast, much like my preschooler laughs at the potty humor in Toot by Leslie Patricelli.

I do not care if I see another woman breastfeeding in public. (I also do not put much time or attention into scrutinizing women who bottle feed their babies while out and about because the infant feeding method that another mother chooses in real life is none of my business.) I also do not care if my husband sees another woman breastfeeding. Nor does he. (Because he is not some creepy breast-obsessed person who has no control over himself.) As for my son? Right now he views breasts solely as lunch and comfort. More importantly, I want him (and my daughter) to grow up knowing that breastfeeding is normal and natural. I refuse to sexualize female breasts with my children.

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If you want to use a cover while breastfeeding in public, then use a cover. If you prefer not to use a cover, then don’t. Using a nursing cover is a personal choice that is no one else’s business. Despite what the author of “Dear Breastfeeding Moms, Is It Really That Hard to Cover Up?” believes, covering up can be hard. And uncomfortable. Some babies refuse to eat with a blanket over their heads. And, for me, even attempting to use a cover would result in my flashing everyone in sight as I struggled to wrestled the cover back from my son. More importantly, I do not want to use a cover.

Dear A Fellow Breastfeeding Mother Who Just Doesn’t Get It,

If you have a problem with public breastfeeding without a cover, look away. Otherwise, you are the creep staring at me feeding my baby. I am not responsible for your comfort. You are. And, seriously, stop being creepy, quit ogling the chests of women who are breastfeeding their babies, and mind your own business.

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Sincerely,

A Fellow Human

References

Dear Breastfeeding Moms, Is It Really That Hard to Cover Up?: http://www.popsugar.com/moms/Covering-Up-When-Breastfeeding-37695809

Image Credits

Browsing and Breastfeeding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pinodita/534723284/

Written by Heather Johnson

Heather is a writer, librarian, linguist, wife, and mother who loves her husband, children, dogs, and cats. She has a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in creative writing and master's degrees in library and information science and English studies with a concentration in linguistics.

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