Some still squeamish about public breast-feeding
Even with all the information out there nowadays promoting breast-feeding and nursing mothers’ rights, there are still breast-feeding-phobes among us. And what’s even more disturbing is that some of these phobes are parents themselves.
The recent incident at Pirates Cove Water Park in Colorado is a perfect example.
After complaints from other parents, a park employee asked a woman to either stop breast-feeding her 10-month-old son in the pool or to cover up or go somewhere private, such as a bathroom, out of respect for others. How is asking a woman to feed her baby in a disgusting bathroom respectful? The woman was nursing in the pool to keep an eye on her other children.
People who complained said their children were seeing too much. Apparently some still think a woman breast-feeding her baby is more obscene than women walking around in skimpy bikinis. The nursing mother’s response: “If you’re not prepared to have tough conversations with your children, then you should rethink parenting.” Ouch.
A group of women enraged about the incident staged a nurse-in a few days later. It’s disheartening that women feel they have to go to these extremes to fight for their rights and their children’s right to have a meal in public like everyone else.
According to an editorial by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Horsey, “From business offices to high school classrooms, modest displays of cleavage are commonplace. Bolder up-front fashions are standard at dance clubs, proms, beaches and bowling alleys. Breasts are so out in the open in America these days that it has become ho-hum. Yet, when a new mom exposes far less skin while trying to satisfy a hungry baby, some people still get upset. Yes, some of them are crudely sexualizing this maternal function, but many others with a more traditional way of looking at the world are simply made uncomfortable when they observe a breastfeeding woman. For them, nursing is a purely private act and it should stay that way.”
Eating has never been a private act. If someone at your table was eating with his mouth open, would you ask him to go finish his meal in the bathroom because you’re seeing too much?
If you’re one of those folks who get uncomfortable around a nursing mother, please give her a break and get over it. She’s not doing it to upset you; she’s giving her hungry baby a meal.
Cartoon by David Horsey, LA Times