Sunday, April 16, 2006

WTF?!?!?!

On April 4th I sat down on a bench at the Gateway Fred Meyer to nurse my two-month-old son. It was about five o'clock on a busy Tuesday afternoon. The last place I wanted to be nursing was in that spot as it was noisy and distracting, but at the time, I couldn't think of better place to attend to my baby's needs. I also had my rather flighty three-year-old daughter with me, so wandering around the store to find a quieter spot would've left me instead chasing a toddler while carrying a bawling baby. Anyway, I've always made a point of nursing in public as part of my personal breastfeeding promotion campaign. So, I sat there, struggling to get my crying son to nurse while keeping an eye on my toddler in a busy store. Like many women living in a culture that has so thoroughly sexualized them, baring my breasts in public is not something I relish. At the same time, attending to my baby's needs is more important to me that maintaining my modesty. So, I do my best to keep myself covered and assume that people will be polite enough not to stare. It's not easy, though, to be discreet when nursing an upset two-month-old.

After nursing for five minutes or so, my son seemed comfortable enough for us to start shopping. As I reached into my bag to get my sling, Troy Hardig, Gateway Store Director, approached me. He had a weird look on his face and as I was trying to figure out why he was apporaching me when he opens with, "Oh, good. You're getting a blanket." He told me there had been complaints about my nursing, not that he minded, but that some people were offended. I was so stunned I couldn't think of what to say, except to remind him that Oregon law protects a mother's right to nurse in public. I felt absolutely humiliated. His comments left me feeling like I'd been doing something lewd. Unbelievably, when I spoke with Todd Heinle, Fred Meyers East Portland/SW Wash Operations Supervisor, a couple days later about the incident, he supported the store manager's claim that I should have been more "discreet" and that three people had complained. I'm outraged that Fred Meyer's corporate policy supports legitimizing the complaints of those offended by mothers who nurse in public, rather than the legally protected right of mothers who are trying to take care of their children. How can the offended sensibilities of even a dozen customers trump the legitimate needs of a baby?

53 comments:

Iris said...

!Bravo! for 1) breastfeeding your child 2) doing so whenever and whereever your child needs it 3) doing so in public 4) making others aware of this sad incident.
So sorry you had to deal with this at all in the first place. I'm appalled!

Amy Philo said...

I went to the Fred Meyers website and posted this longwinded complaint - (I live in TX so I don't shop there but I do shop at Kroger).

I received notice via email about a woman (Ms. Musser) who was shopping at one of your stores in Oregon and was told to cover up while breastfeeding her two-month-old son.

I also know that your store is owned by Kroger, which is where I buy approximately 1/3 of my groceries. I usually shop at Super Target.
I am extremely saddened that your company would do this to a nursing mother. Supporting breastfeeding is a community responsibility, and any time a mother is made to feel like she is doing something wrong or not being discreet enough, it may discourage her from breastfeeding in public or breastfeeding at all. Women should not be made to feel like second class citizens and should not be segregated for doing what nature intended. It is unfortunate that your store managers and customers have such a superiority complex that they feel their level of comfort is more important than any one else's. What would be more disturbing to your customers, a few people having to avert their eyes like they would in the rest of the world if they saw something they didn't like, or the entire store having to listen to a screaming baby? Three customers' eyes, or 50 customers' and employees' ears? If I tried to cover up my nursing son with a blanket, he would (and always has since he was born) pull the blanket off and throw it down on the floor. I would not want to try to cover him up with a dirty blanket, but suppose I had another one in my bag. I would try again, and he might stop nursing and start screaming. I live in Texas where it is very hot, but he also did this in the dead of winter in Minnesota when we lived there.

The sad fact is that if this woman had been giving her child formula or breast milk from a bottle, nobody would have thought twice. We need to do everything we can to support breastfeeding women. You do not have to have a blanket to be discreet, in fact it is less discreet to use a blanket over your entire baby and breast because that announces to the world - look - I am breastfeeding - and it also sends the message - what I am doing under here is indecent.

In my opinion until women who feed with bottles are asked to cover up with blankets, doing the same thing to a breastfeeding mom is discrimination and segregation. Oregon currently has the highest breastfeeding rates in the country, so you may take for granted what you are doing is not hurting anyone, but it is. It hurts helpless babies by making their mothers less likely to want to give them the best in public.

I spend at least 50% of my time with my 21 month old son in public (I am a stay at home mom, so that is a lot of hours a week). He nursed in public from birth and occasionally he still nurses in public even though he is older and doesn't need to nurse as often. When my new baby arrives this fall I will nurse him or her in public. But I have good friends who are so ashamed to nurse in public that they would give substitute bottles while in public. If nobody ever sees a woman feeding her child naturally, how can we hope to increase breastfeeding rates? Currently less than 6% of mothers in the U.S. are still breastfeeding at 1 year, when the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a MINIMUM of one year of breastfeeding, and the World Health Organization recommends a minimum of 2 years. Giving substitute bottles is one of the major things that cuts down on a mother's supply, and leads to "involuntary" early weaning.

The benefits of breastfeeding continue for as long as the mother breastfeeds, but each bottle of formula cuts down on the benefits - it's called a dose response. Your store is knowingly pressuring women to give their child a bottle, which is inferior to feeding from the breast. Breastfeeding children who do not receive bottles have fewer jaw and teeth problems and require braces less often.

Babies who spend a significant amount of time under blankets while nursing will not get the proper brain development that comes from visual stimulation (being held on opposite sides of the mother's body) or as much bonding during nursing. They may also get hot and pull the blanket off and stop nursing and start crying again. Trying to force a baby to allow a blanket to cover their body and head is not easy while also trying to keep the baby nursing and calm, and especially not while trying to attend to your older child.

I hope your store will visit the following website to learn about reasons why breastfeeding is so important: www.promom.org
Click on 101 Reasons to Breastfeed, or 3 Minute Activist (letters sent in response to unfortunate incidents like this one, signed by thousands of upset and disappointed breastfeeding supporters).

This situation with the Oregon mother will likely soon generate a 3 minute activist letter, and thousands of people will see it, send it, and will await your reply.

I really hope I don't have to make the choice to stop shopping at Kroger, but if your store continues to make ridiculous policies that favor bottle feeding, I will do so. There is an Albertson's, a Tom Thumb, and a Whole Foods not far from me.

Granny said...

I just saw the BB post today.

a) I live in California - no Fred Meyer or Kroger in this area

b) I'm 68 - a little past my prime for nursing.

However, I'll write the letter for you and anyone else who may be subject to this discrimination.

Has anyone looked at t.v. lately? The only thing not exposed is J. Jackson's nipple.

These people need to get a life and leave yours alone.

If it's any comfort, it was much worse when we were almost forbidden by our doctors to nurse. Really shameful back then.

Best wishes,

Ann Adams

adymommy said...

This is very upsetting. I applaud you for being able to breastfeed in public.
I breastfed my daughter(now 2) for 9 months and was always to shy and afraid to do it in public. I have sent a complaint to them. I donot shop at any of their stores but I plan to get the word out to people who do. Thank you for sharing this experience with us.

Wendy said...

My 4-year old daughter is this years Fred Meyer Strawberry girl (you can see her all over freaking town) and she STILL nurses strong every day. I will be writing a letter, and if you have a nurse in.....Ms. Strawberry would love to participate as well.

SM said...

I'm also a Portlander, who until today has frequented Fred Meyer. After reading your post, I no longer will.
I also sent them an e-mail - long winded and a little irate :)
Thank you for passing the word on, I will do the same.

Shana said...

Oh, I love your blog title. I feel the same myself. I hate that I have to be a lactivist at all just to feed my child.

I imagine you are going to get mucho public support once word gets out. No shopping at Fry's (our local Kroger's store) for me until you get that apology and change in procedure.

Anonymous said...

I shop at Freddies all the time. At least 3 or 4 times a week. I am incredibly offended by your treatment and have written a very long message (thank you for the link!)

It is hard enough on nursing mothers to have the confidence to feed their children in public without being humiliated by a nitwit

a rose is a rose said...

i was made aware of your story through a story on alternet

i am stunned beyond belief. literally.

i have never heard of fred meyers stores by the way but you and i both know it COULD HAVE BEEN ANYWHERE this happened to you. it's hard to believe it's 2006 in the united states of america.

perhaps if you were working at HOOTERS it would have been fine to show a little breast. but nursing your infant? NO WAY. that's disgusting (satire there by the way).

thank you for fighting the good fight. i have your back

Summer said...

Breastfeeding three children, I have never had a complaint, and rarely could anyone notice. I, too, would be offended if someone whipped it out not caring about modesty to feed their baby, and I own a breastfeeding support site! So, my question is were you being approached for breastfeeding in public or for showing breasts. There is a difference. I am pro-breastfeeding, but my husband would have been a person to say something. Being a business owner, our store is being made to have a breastfeeding nook, so I try ot be accomodating. I see both sides.

Anonymous said...

I think FM was right.

You should have been more discreet if this caused so many complaints.

The world does not revolve around you.

It's THEIR property, not public property. They have a right to do what they did.

Perhaps you should not go to Freddy's anymore until your chlidren are a bit more grown.

Couldn't you have gone to your car?

Carried a baby bottle of breast milk?

Anonymous said...

Why the Hell would she have to carry a bottle of breastmilk when her breasts are right there, warmed to the perfect temp?

Don't even aknowlege this last poster. This person obviously does not know what she is talking about. It's not like you were waving a naked breast around, screaming, "look at me!"

The images on tv, every other minute are much more offensive than any breastfeeding mother out there.

Your nipple was covered by your son's mouth. Your stomach was covered by his body. The only think you could see was the same amount of breast that is exposed every single day by women who wear low cut shirts and dresses.

I'm pissed. It just makes me determined to nurse in public as much as possible. People who have a problem with FEEDING YOUR CHILD WHEN HE IS HUNGRY are ignorant.

Anonymous said...

I just sent an angry email to Fred Meyer through their website. I am from the Bay Area, and know that many breastfeeding advocates here would happily boycott Cala/Bell and Foods Co (the two local Fred Meyers chains) if necessary!

Anonymous said...

Hate to break it to ya............


Fred Meyers doesn't care.



You guys are probably being looked upon as post-partum nuts.


Sorry.

Chris said...

Actually, Fred Meyer DOES care!! I will be posting about my phone call today with FM customer service momentarily.

Anonymous said...

On the whole "discreet" issue --

My first baby insisted on eating every hour, and she would only latch on for three minutes at a time. Which meant every time she let go, I had to expose my nipple to get her latched on again. Telling me I had to be "discreet" while nursing a baby who eats once an hour is just another way of saying I should not be allowed to leave the house. Nursing a baby is not like hooking a hose to a spigot; a baby has a mind and will of its own, and frequently prevents any discretion.

You have my sympathy. Babies have a right to eat, no matter who gets offended.

Q said...

I breastfed my last two for nearly three years each. Only once was I the object of unfortunate attention, at the Aquarium in Tampa, Florida. A "helpful" employee mentioned that I might be more comfortable somewhere else. I politely replied that we were doing just fine (nothing showing!) and he proceeded to argue, but not insist. Smart of him, as Florida has awesome BFing protection laws. My good friend, however, was asked by a manager to leave a Stride-Rite shoe store in Jacksonville, FL when nursing her baby. Complaints from her to the company resulted in a less-than-sincere letter of apology from the manager. Turns out it wasn't the first time he had persecuted a nursing mother and baby. Strangely, he was let go a couple months later (yes!).

I have benefited from bucketfulls of praise and encouragement over the years, often from older folks. Maybe they've lived long enough to know what's important.

Those who are uncomfortable need not look. It's ok to be offended or disgusted by it, we are all allowed our opinions. As long as I'm not sitting myself down uninvited at your dinner table and plopping a breast on the tablecloth then it should not invade your personal space and awareness. Most of us try to be considerate of others while meeting our children's needs. Needs, not wants. You can return tha favor be leaving us in peace. Turn your head.

To the reluctant lactivist, I hope you can hear the applause coming from Florida.

mar said...

good for you, lucky baby, do the right thing, whenever your baby is hungry. It is the most natural thing in the world!

MomSquared said...

I feel your pain.
http://momsquared.blogspot.com/2006/03/its-boob-its-boob-you-didnt-even-see.html

MomSquared said...

btw, I agree with S that it sucks that we have to be lactivists just to feed our child.
I mean, come on, world, is it REALLY such a big deal?

Jenavive said...

Only a nipple nazi would tell a woman *how* to breastfeed, whether that's more discretely or not at all in public. Every woman is entitled to breastfeed how she wants to, no matter what personal issues the general public might have with it.

This culture is so repressed. "Don't show me your breast unless it's a porno"-please. The appropriate place to see a woman's breast in public is when she's breastfeeding. If you think otherwise, you're screwed up in the head :P

Danielle said...

I am sooo sorry that you dealt with this! It is so wrong that we must be lactivists just to feed our kids! I'll post this to my apmultiples group too!
And, WTG for nursing! I've been nursing my twins for 8 months now and nursed my daughter for 17 months.

Danielle

KrimoJo said...

Thank you for posting this. My three month old baby won't take a bottle, so I have to feed her with my breast, no matter where we are.

It pisses me off that FM doesn't support breast feeding in public, and yet they don't have chairs in their bathroom, (nor does Target) so we're sort of limited to where we can feed our children.

I have no problem feeding her in the bathroom if there's a comfortable place, but sometimes that isn't an option.

My baby has started to latch, suck, and then pull off to look around. I need to see what she's doing, and she's exposing me a bit. Thank you for being the reluctant lactivist.

Amanda said...

To the Reluctant Lactivist

I'm so sorry this has happend. If I had seen you, I would not have batted an eye. Infact, my 7 month old and I might have sat down with you to nurse as well. And our older children (my son is 4) could have kept each other entertained.

It's crazy, stupid and bass-ackwards. Thank you for the reminder to print out the Breastfeeding Law for my state! I keep meaning to make a credit card size print out for my wallet/back pocket incase this ever happens.

Actually I was offered a dressing room when I was checking out at Motherhood. I was like "No thanks, the leather store has some tester chairs out in the hallway" so I walked into the busy hall of the mall and sat in one of the most comfy chairs to nurse my baby. I got some looks, but I had two old people, and one 19-20 yr old guy come sit in the other chairs! lol

Anonymous said...

WTF?!?!?! There is a time and place for everything. Breastfeeding in public is not the time to do it. The place to do it would be in your car, the women's room or at home. All you are doing is clammering for attention, and getting everyone all worked up about it. The manager of the store should of have went a step further and asked you to leave the store. People come to the store to shop, not to see a woman breastfeeding her baby.

Becca said...

YAY!! I am so with you that in public is not my favorite place to breastfeed. At the same time if that's what baby needs, then his/her needs come first. I think those who have sided with Fred Meyers in their comments here are clueless as to the realities of having children. Now their ignorance is on display for the world. We have the legal right to nurse our children in public. Deal with it. And kudos to you, Chris, for standing up for yourself and all of us. Now off to email Freddies.

From another reluctant lactivist

Anonymous said...

What's next? First, you demand an apology from Fred Meyers. Now are you going to demand that stores put in nice furniture for you to use, in the most high profile part of the store, so that everyone including kids can see what is happening? Fred Meyer had every right in the world to do what they did, and I don't think they need to explain anything to anybody.

Anonymous said...

I applaud any woman who can breastfeed in public. yes, you do have the right to feed your child anywhere you choose... BUT people are gawkers whether they claim it or not. In your home you can whip it out and feed you child... but you have to remember you're in public... IN AMERICA not another country where it's more accepted! Other people have the right to complain just as you have the right to feed your child. I've found that if my child starts getting fussy/hungry... I take him to the bathroom... or even a fitting room in Fred Meyer. There are other options. I'm sorry you felt humiliated, but even as you felt that way, others were embarrased too.

Brad G said...

You wanted to "make a point" by selecting the most public place possible for whipping out the breast, by so doing you were imposing on others your personal viewpoint on breastfeeding.
Yet ... oddly, you act offended when others voice THEIR personal viewpoint.
Be consistent.
If you expose your breasts in public without a blanket, then don't act offended if men stare at them.
Don't try to impose YOUR views on sexuality upon others.
If you want to "make a point" about breastfeeding, then don't get upset if others want to "make a point" about breastfeeding.
Hopefully it's still a free country.
You're entitled to your viewpoint ... but ... so are others.

civil said...

you should have went to your car, mothers in the past have done quite well without exposing themselves. training begins early and that doesn't mean giving into the childs request at all times. shame on you.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Amy H. said...

When I lived in Virginia, this was always an issue for me when I was nursing my oldest daughter.

I worked in a popular restaurant for a while and I had a regular customer that would always make offensive comments whenever he saw a breastfeeding mother. One afternoon he commented that she should "take it in the bathroom". When his food came I walked out to his table and told him that I would be serving him in the bathroom. He was shocked but he got the message.

The unfortunate thing is that we are surrounded by ignorant people. I now live in Oregon and I carry a card with me from the Oregon Health Division in case I get bothered while nursing my 13 month old.

Their web address is: www.healthoregon.org/ccfh/wic/bf1htm
They will send FM a letter to encourage them to support breastfeeding and that it is the LAW!!

It is important that we stand up for what is best for our children and our right!

stockingup99 said...

Notice how the fools post as anonymous. Too scared to be replied to I guess.

Good job following up, and having FM roll out policy to all stores.

Thanks

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Just so you know; Fred Meyer has NOT rolled out policy to all stores. There are no Read and Signs addressing this issue. In fact, no one at management level at my store has even heard that there is an issue.

Just don't want you all kidding yourselves that Fred has sucked up to you.

I'm sure you will forgive me if I post anonymously. After all, isn't my name enough?

Juan

A man said...

I can't believe the people here saying you should hide yourself.

A mother feeding her child is a natural every day occurance - a natural MANY TIMES a day occurance. It's a GOOD thing.

Women have breasts to feed babies. They do NOT have have breasts to shake as strippers, reveal in pornos, or arouse you or offend you.

If you see it as something sexual, something obscene, something indecent, then you have a SICK MIND. The problem is in YOUR MIND. It is NOT a matter of opinion. YOU ARE WRONG. You have a warped viewpoint probably caused by your upbringing.

In my very lifetime, in the state I live in, seeing a black person drink from a waterfountain "for whites" would cause similar upset, disgust, and cries of indecent from many. To this day, the sight of an interracial couple STILL elicits these reactions. This is not a matter of opinion, this is people with SICK attitudes inculcated by bad parenting.

There was a time when a nursing mother made ME uncomfortable. I was WRONG about this because of my own mothers' screwed up attitudes. I had to get over it.

If you haven't gotten over it, deal with it. If you can't, TOUGH. You do NOT have a "right not to be offended."

If a mother and child doing what is their right and what is a necessity and what is natural offends you due to your WARPED perception of what is occuring, then that's just your problem.

Learn to realize when your attitudes are the result of bad influences, and adjust them - or watch the rest of the world pass you by.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I do like the breasts feeding of the mothers. Such nature and beauty; it warms my.. heart. And,as I have said before, please I wish for all mothers to feed from the breast openly in public without shame or concern. What could be more natural and un-offending. Such a natural body function should not be surpressed.

When will Americans learn that simply living in a fully developed country does not mean that infants should not be nursed in public in a manner similar to that of the mountains of my motherland?

So, please, do not let the narrow mindedness of a slim majority of people prevent mothers from exposing full, nursing breast in public. I am hoping my children to learn, from seeing such tenderness, that the breast of a female is not only to be porno or club for stripping.


Juan

Chandra, Eugene, OR said...

I applaud you for taking a stand, although it is crazy that a stand needs to be taken in the first place. I am a nursing mother of a nine month old and I do not think twice before nursing my son when he needs it. You are a mother doing what is absolutely the best thing for your baby. I'm sorry for the ignorance of others regarding this matter. Keep breast feeding that precious child of yours because in the end that child is truly what matters.

Anonymous said...

Hello.

Today, I think, I saw the tender love of the original poster demonstrating in Gateway Fred Meyer once again.

It was being so open and beauty thing that I call my friends and was takng the photogragh with my phone to prove the thing happening.

My friend thinks like the way that this is not shame to do. He encourage more of such behavior for all to share in understanding of mother and breasts to be needed in public.

Why be the shamed? Nature will not reward to those who say not so.

Thank you.
Thank you.
We all thank you.

Carlos

Anonymous said...

I am a woman, I have no qualms about women breastfeeding their babies in public places, but be as discrete as possible! Cover up as best you can. If you're at the mall, many department stores have nice lounges in the ladies' rooms. sit on a public bench if need be, but I really don't care to see some other woman's tit lopped out in public, especially when it's done to make a statement. We don't live in Africa, or South American villages...this is not our cultural norm. One woman had the nerve to have her tit hanging out uncovered to feed her baby at a restaurant table, not even attempting to cover up. I find this rude, arrogant, selfish, and inconsiderate to others. Babies get hungry and need to be fed like the rest of us. How the mother approaches that is a different story. I don't care to see others personal lives on public display. Keep intimate moments private. I understand a fussy baby may try to throw the cover off, but at least it looks as if you're trying, as opposed to getting on your personal soapbox and making a statement with your breast in public view on purpose. Having a breastfeeding infant is not an excuse to purposely flash your tits to the world. Maintain a modest approach.

Anonymous said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Do I have this straight? He did not ask you to leave or tell you that you could not nurse. He only told you that other people were uncomfortable with it. Why would that be a problem? If I were committed to NIP I would have just said "It's always interesting to hear others' opinions."

You have the right to NIP but others have the right to comment.

Rebecca said...

I read The Oregonian article today and was intrigued enough to visit this blog. I think it’s comical how certain mothers are turning the concerns of many who are uncomfortable with seeing naked breasts in public into the idea that we’re all against breastfeeding in general.

Of course you have the right to breastfeed in public. It’s not about that! It’s an issue of not taking the time to cover up those breasts of yours that others do not want to see – and did not choose to see when they walked into Fred Meyer or New Seasons or Starbucks. No one is suggesting that you give your child a bottle of formula in lieu of natural breast milk, we simply ask that you use a shawl, blanket or other cover-up.

I completely agree that no one has the right to determine whether or not a mother should breastfeed, as that is a very personal decision. I also know that Oregon law protects a mother's right to nurse in public – something with which I also agree. The issue at hand is regarding mothers who continue to breastfeed in public with no attempt to cover up and with no regard for anyone else’s comfort.

While I am a woman who does not yet have children, most of my contemporaries do have babies who are still breastfeeding, so I understand the need to feed your children in situations that often aren’t ideal. But even I am aware of the variety of items specifically made for such a purpose. In fact, a quick search on amazon.com reveals a limitless supply of nursing covers/shawls/blankets for purchase, so there are some mothers out there who choose to breastfeed in public AND are somehow able to cover-up their breasts. Astounding! Speaking with my friends with babies, there aren’t many situations in which they haven’t been able to cover-up with a blanket, nursing cover or other item. Rather it’s the moms who have their own personal breastfeeding agenda who feel the need to go to the extreme and put this out there in everyone’s face.

I think many mothers completely lose touch with the outside world when they have a baby – which is obviously quite understandable – but please think about the comfort of others when you are outside of your own home, not just those of you and your child. It just takes a second to cover up those girls … and it’ll make the world a much happier place.

Jess said...

Know what I hate?

I hate people who think that just because they've popped out a kid (or two, or 15), they're automatically entitled to stuff that nobody else is, like being able to flap their tits out in public to feed their damn kids. And when you call them on it, they squall (not unlike their infants) about how life is SOOOO hard when you have a kid. Wah. I hate to say this, but having children does NOT make you special or more important than anyone else. People should not have to see your tits just because you're using them for their intended purpose. You are not in a place where exposed tits are expected to be seen, like a nudist colony, Hooters, or a strip club. COVER THAT SHIT UP.

mommy dearest said...

Wow! Sounds like my hateful stepdaughter!

Alana said...

When I lived in Seattle, I would nurse my little ones in Fred Meyer all the time. I would go in the women's fitting room in the clothing section. There is always a large one that will accomodate a stroller, and which usually has a bench to sit on where you can lean back against the wall and get comfortable. It's almost always quiet with some musak in the background, which is far more soothing for the little ones than being in the midst of people. And you can take as long as you want.

Another good place in larger department stores, is of course the furniture section - plenty of couches and armchairs!!!

That being said, if I had been approached as you were by a store manager and asked to cover up, I would have been incensed and refused just as you did. I have nursed my babies in public from the get-go - in pubs (in California), restaurants, in church, at the mall, at my older son's school, at the local swimming pool, at Mariner's games. I have never used a blanket to cover up because both of my sons would struggle and fight the blanket off. To me this would cause much more of a distraction that discretely tucking him onto the breast. I do not "whip it out" or "flash my tits" - I am always discrete but hey, if you are staring, you might just see something you don't want to. It's a free country. You are free to look away.

I REFUSE to be sent to a washroom to nurse my child. I would not personally eat food in a washroom (especially in a department store where they are usually gross!!) and I would not let any of my children eat in a public washroom - whether it's my 6-year-old eating an apple or my baby having a quick nurse.

What we are lacking in North America is a culture that recognizes breast-feeding as what it is - the way that we feed our babies as nature/God intended. As long as other women continue to revile breastfeeding mothers with comments like "cover that shit up" (how intelligent), our whole gender is being done a disservice. Comments like these only serve to reinforce the cultural prejudice against breasts - that they are somehow dirty, rude or sleazy. We need to disconnect the sexual connotation of breasts from the breast-feeding act. Instead of insulting each other, women need to have some solidarity and affirm the fact that breastfeeding is perfectly natural and something to be proud of as a woman.

You go, mommas!!

Anonymous said...

Let me rephrase this.

What would you think of your unabashed display of flesh if there was a group of people out there in malls and such takng photos for posting on a web site dedicated to breast feeding females?

Point is, you're in public and just curious if such a thing would concern you.

Maybe this comment won't get rejected.

Jess

Chris said...

Jess--No profanity? How novel.

How many women have you ever seen unabashedly displaying flesh while breastfeeding their babies? How many do you think you never even noticed were breastfeeding, because they are so discreet they appear to just be holding a sleeping baby? I can't tell you how many times people have walked up to admire one of my babies, only to realize, as they were getting within a foot of us, that my baby was nursing. The fact is, more nursing moms are uncomfortable nursing in public than members of the general public are seeing mothers nurse. Most who screw up their courage and NIP anyway do so as discreetly as they can. You don't like to see babies breastfeed, seem to have issues with people even having babies, and until this last post, couldn't even express your feelings on the issue in a manner most people would consider even remotely reasonable. I can't help but wonder why you are SO worked up about something that really has no impact whatsoever on you and your well-being. What is it that bothers you so much that you think your psychological discomfort needs should supercede a baby's basic physical need for food?

You really work in the medical field? Would you be at all interested in correcting your friends over in your "childfree" LJ chat room about the medical evidence supporting breastfeeding on demand? There is SO much misinformation being spewed over there, it's really amazing that people can be so self-righteously stupid.

Chris said...

To answer your question: I really wouldn't care if someone was taken pictures. I would think it somewhat rude if someone was purposefully trying to catch a flash of flesh...especially if they were using pictures to publish without permission, but I do understand that when one is in public one cannot demand that everyone behave according to my preferences (an attitude I wish people like you would adopt). Besides, I think breastfeeding is BEAUTIFUL and should be seen more often! I have in fact put pictures of myself breastfeeding on the Internet already, beating the pervs to it!

Anonymous said...

Look. Iff Chris isn't ashamed of breast feeding, let me at least post to ask her where the pic is. Anything less is makes this whole thread a farce.

Chris, where is this picture that you are not totally ashamed of? Share the love.

Juan

Anonymous said...

>How can the offended sensibilities of even a dozen customers trump the legitimate needs of a baby?

You are creating a false dilemma. Your baby can feed in private. You could at least use a blanket, and it at least sounds like you didn't.

It reminds me of something I saw on MSN (that led me here): "In a study for the U.S. government, 48 percent of women said they would feel uncomfortable nursing their own babies in a park, store or mall. 'We define breast-feeding as good, and we define breast-feeding as disgusting.'" The set-up of the paragraph makes it sound like people think such feeding is disgusting if they feel, or think others would feel, uncomfortable with seeing/doing such feeding in public. That's not a split personality. That's saying some things are good AND private.

Anonymous said...

I am a woman in my early 30's and while I fully support and encourage women to breastfeed their children, I would also encourage these same women to practice modesty when doing so. Ther is absolutely no reason that a woman dining in a restaurant where there are many other people, cannot go into the bathroom and breastfeed her child. I have been in this situation numerous times and find it distinctly uncomfortable and my feeling is that women who do this are just looking for someone to say something; looking for an argument. Why would you want to expose your breasts in public anyway? To get attention? I know that while I'm eating my steak and salad, I don't want to look over at the next table and see a big breast popping out of someone's shirt. This is an issue about modesty; not whether breast feeding is ok or not. Thank You.

Joan said...

I would carry around a copy of the law -http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/109.html, and tell anyone who said anything to me to go fuck themselves.

If they had any other response than shutting the fuck up, I would ask them to call the police, and I'd have news stations on voice dial.

Don't mess with moms.