Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The kid's gotta eat

I've been out of the breastfeeding business for five years now so I haven't read much about breastfeeding lately. I was really surprised when I read this article talking about problems that nursing mothers are having with breastfeeding in public. I find it so funny that people make a big deal out of mothers feeding their babies just because it involves boobs. As someone says in the article, people are so overly focused on breasts as sexual objects that they tend to forget their practical and very important use as a food supply unit.

I breastfed both girls - A Girl for well over a year and M Girl for a year - while working full time. I have such wonderful memories of that time with them - even though it was a hugely painful struggle at first and even though I had to lug a ridiculously large and heavy breast pump to and from work everyday. (Of course now they have these small yet powerful pumps that get stowed in a cute black backpack. They also have maternity clothes at The Gap when all I had was the mu mu crap from Motherhood Maternity that I could only find at sprawling suburbans malls. But that's a rant for another day.) I fed them in public many times without incident. Of course I didn't make a big deal out of what I was doing and I tried to be discreet.

One time I fed A Girl at the table while we had dinner with friends at a busy restaurant - and no one noticed. Our table was right next to the hostess table so there were people all around. A Girl was in her stroller, pulled up to the table. She got fussy so I picked her up and managed to get her latched on without lifting my shirt all while carrying on a conversation. When she was done, I put her back down and my husband (who is the most observant person I know) said "Don't you need to feed her?" Granted, it was fairly dark in the restaurant, which helped a lot. And to be fair - A Girl and I were a veteran nursing pair by then. I couldn't have done that within the first three or so months. The point of the story is that it's possible - in many situations - to be discreet about breastfeeding.

The article talks about a woman who was kicked off of a plane because she refused to cover up while she was breastfeeding. I always had a blanket or shirt or towel draped over my shoulder. It's not because I was ashamed of breastfeeding but because it's polite to at least try not to offend the people around you - even when you think they shouldn't be offended. You can't tell from the article but I wonder how exposed she was and why she didn't cover up when asked. Even if the flight attendant was being prudish and stupid, why make a big deal out of it? It's not like they were asking her to feed her baby in the plane's bathroom. Frankly, the stress on the mother (and the baby) of fighting about it was probably more of an issue than just putting a damn blanket over the offending boob and being done with it.


Kati said...

Yeah, I've not followed the issue that closely, but it just seems to me like everyone involved behaved badly.

Bimbo said...

I have followed it and the whole matter makes me uncomfortable- and it's not the boobie showing aspect that bothers me. It's the Boy Who Cried Wolf part. So someone behaved badly toward her for all the wrong reasons: do we need an act of Congress on behalf of all women everywhere or an apology and some corporate behavior mod? Not too long ago on PostSecret, someone sent one in that said: When I'm breastfeeding in public I hope that someone confronts me so I can make a scene. (or words to that effect) Which seems to fit the bill here.

MaryP said...

I breastfed each of my three kids for over a year. I even breastfed someone else's child, same age as my second, when I was caring for her for a few weeks. So much easier than bottles, which that baby struggled against.

I taught prenatal classes for years, and encouraged all the women who wanted to breastfeed. I've worked with lactation consultants.

Which is all to say: I'm in total support of women who breastfeed.

But I always covered up when in public, or did it so discreetly that most people didn't know what was going on. In over three years of breastfeeding, I never, ever had anyone complain when I was in public, and I breastfed everywhere. In malls, in restaurants, on planes, on busses, in church (in the sanctuary), in the bank, in class... This could be because I live in urban Canada. We are a lot less uptight about this stuff.

But perhaps it's just because I was discreet.

Shoshana said...

Hi Jessica,
My name is Shoshana Ritzler and
I am a casting producer for ABC Television’s hit reality show, Wife Swap. I am currently trying to a cast a stage mom for an episode for our show and I thought perhaps you might be interested in such an opportunity. I thought it couldn’t hurt to send you an email to see if you could help me with this.

In case you are unfamiliar with the show, the premise of Wife Swap is to take two different families and have the Mom’s switch place to experience how another family lives. Half of the week, Mom lives the life of the family that she’s staying with. Then she introduces a rule change where she implements rules and activities that her family has. It’s a positive experience for people to not only learn but to teach about other families and other ways of life.

Wife Swap airs on Disney owned ABC television on Monday at 8pm-the family hour! There is another show that copies ours. We focus on having fun, learning, and teaching. They focus on conflict. I just want to make sure our show doesn’t get confused with theirs!

Requirements: Each family must consist of two parents and at least one child between the ages of 7 and 17 and should reside in the U.S. ( There be other children living in the home who are older or younger than the required age… as long as one child is in the required age range.)
My hope is that you would pass this information on to all who would be interested in taking part. Maybe you even have a family in mind that you could refer to me. This is a very unique experience that can be life changing to everyone. In addition, each family that tapes an episode of Wife Swap receives a $20,000 honorarium for their time. Anyone who refers a family that appears on our program receives $1,000 as a “thank you” from us.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this- I know it is an unusual request. If you have any questions, please call me at the number below. Please let me know if you think you’ll be able to help me. Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Kindest Regards,
Shoshana Ritzler
"Wife Swap" Casting Producer
RDF New York
646-747-7948 (office)