Mom told to cover-up takes different approach. (Facebook/Carol Lockwood)
This won’t win me any friends but I agree with Orlando Sentinel’s David Whitley‘s view on women breastfeeding without covering up (at all). He gently thinks out loud about his own discomfort.
“Breastfeeding is normal, nurturing and nobody should be shamed for doing it. On top of that, it’s a legal right in all 50 states.
To breastfeeding moms and their supporters:
Feed your babies whenever and wherever the need arises. I just have one small request, and I don’t think I’m alone.
Please do it discreetly if possible. Or is that asking too much?
I fear it is, though for the male chauvinist life of me I can’t understand why.”
Of course breastfeeding is natural.
Of course no one should shame a woman for breastfeeding anywhere, anytime. But if full frontal breastfeeding makes someone a little uncomfortable, I get it.
We can berate our culture because we lose our minds when we see full-frontal breastfeeding on a plane, in a coffee shop, at Disney, at church. Plenty of cultures don’t think twice about mothers openly baring their breasts to feed their babes.
But our culture isn’t that culture, yet.
In all honesty I’d prefer, when possible, moms breastfeed with a teensy bit of modesty. Does that make a bad person? Or am I the product of our nation’s uptight (yet hypocritical) mores? (We sure love to see naked breasts in this country).
The message I’m hearing from full frontal nursing mothers and their advocates is:
Breasts are for feeding! Get over it!
Yes breasts are for feeding babies. But they’re also sexual. That I can say both in the same breath isn’t perverse. It’s factual.
Perhaps our culture will shift in time. And it should. But until then I’d suggest a bit of discretion when possible and comfortable. If not. No problem. At least for me.
Babies are unpredictable little buggers. A nursing mother might be caught unprepared. Or maybe it’s stinking hot and she doesn’t want to feed her baby under a sweat tent. Maybe she’s not interested in the clothing acrobatics it takes to be discreet. Or maybe she’s making a “I dare you to judge me” statement by baring all.
No matter her reasons for not covering up, I’d urge anyone who sees a full-frontal breastfeeding mom to just leave her alone.
Don’t tell her to cover up.
Don’t tell her to find a more discreet place or to leave.
Don’t complain to management and so, embarrass the poor woman. Now you’ve got management and other people staring.
Look away if you’re uncomfortable. Problem solved.
Nothing in your life will change if you see a breastfeeding breast. Oh, and your kids will be ok too.
But if your gawking toddler yells, “Look Mommy she’s naked!” explain that breastfeeding is natural. Tell her it’s one of the many ways mommies feed their babies. If your school-age child stares, tell him or her the same thing. Then remind your kids that staring under any circumstances is rude.
This brewing culture war could be diffused if people would realize tolerance is a two-way street says David Whitley.
Yes. But in a head-to-head debate, the people against full frontal breastfeeding need to ease up more than full-frontals need to cover up. Sorry, Mom and baby win.
P.s. I breast fed for 6 weeks. I preferred to do it only at home and only in front of my husband. But hey, that’s my issue.