Posted by: Helen Philpot | November 21, 2008

Got Milk?

Believe it or not folks but one of our readers has asked us to please write about the importance of breastfeeding.  At first I laughed because why would someone ask a couple of old bags about that? And Margaret only has dogs and a bird so I don’t know if she even has an opion about this.  Unless of course one of the dogs breast fed that damn bird. But this person has now sent several emails including information about the La Leche League.  For those of you who don’t know La Leche is a group that promotes breastfeeding.  Pardon the pun but I have a mouthful to say on that…

helen-mug1 From Helen
If I had a dime for every exposed breast I have seen recently, I’d have about a buck-fifty.  And I don’t hang out at those nude beaches that have become so popular.  What I am talking about here is public breast feeding.  One of the women in my quilting group has three daughters.  I can’t remember a time in recent memory when one of them wasn’t pregnant. The last time we were at her house, her youngest daughter was there with her three boys.   So in the middle of quilting I look over and she’s sitting there fully exposed feeding the baby.  In my day, you left the room and came back about 20 minutes later -often times  wearing your blouse inside out by mistake. But times have changed so I just looked away.  But then her four year old came into the room and said, “ChiChi Momma.  ChiChi”  And I wouldn’t have believed it had I not seen it with my own eyes, but the four year old reached up and grabbed his momma’s “ChiChi” and had himself a little milk with his cookies.  Well you could have knocked me over with a feather.

It seems that all three of her daughters are members of that La Leche group.  Well, I don’t know how far this group is willing to take it, but if a child is old enough to ask for it, their too old to see it.  And if a 4 year old ever grabs for one of my breasts their going to get their hand slapped.  Now a 44 year old is another story but don’t tell Harold I said that.

Breastfeeding is fine by me.  But putting it out there for everyone to see is like chewing with your mouth open.  It’s just not polite.   And that’s all I have to say about that.

margaret-mug1 From Margaret
First of all Helen, what did my bird ever do to you? 

Believe it or not dear, I have to agree with you 100% on this one.  I know they say breastfeeding is a natural bodily function, but so is a bowel movement.  You don’t see people dropping their drawers and doing that in the middle of your living room, now do you? 

For goodness sakes Helen.  Let me pick the topic next time.  That’s it.  I’m done.

Now keep safe this coming holiday.  Thanks for stopping by again.  I mean it.  Really.

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Responses

  1. Just thought I’d share this about foumlra I don’t have children, but I do raise dairy goats. This involves removing the babies and bottlefeeding, for a variety of reasons health and behavioral. I’ve tried replacer (the livestock version of foumlra) and if I feed more than 50% replacer at a time the kids ALWAYS get sick, with nasty runny bottoms, etc. Even pasteurized/homogenized cow’s milk works better, although I avoid even that. First choice is feeding raw goat’s milk, since they grow better (No illness + adequate nutrition), and well-grown kids win more blue ribbons. Second choice is frozen, year old goats milk if I have a supply and demand problem.So if my goats can’t even thrive on the stuff, why, pray tell, would I feed it to my much more valuable and longer lived human child?

  2. [...] this post – a blog written by two ladies in their 60s. One of them says this about breastfeeding in this post  “Breastfeeding is fine by me.  But putting it out there for everyone to see is [...]

  3. Breast-feeding grown children.

    What a choice of behavior serves, provides the evidence for why it is taking place.

    I believe that it is self-evident that breast feeding children is a form of sexual molestation.

    The evidence that continuing to breast feed a baby after it begins to function as an independent human being, is sexual molestation, is that there is no other bodily function of a baby that is continued in these cases except breast-feeding.

    This is the evidence that the mother is continuing the breast-feeding to serve her own sexual pleasure.

    There are two functions within the design of breasts of women… One is the sexual function and the other biological function is to feed a baby who can’t feed itself.

    The vagina also has two design functions… one function is sexual, and another function of it, is it provides the ability to create a baby and bring it out into the world.

    None of these mother’s being reported about continued to keep their children in diapers for eight or eleven years.

    They didn’t continue to dress their children and undress them. They didn’t continue to wash their children’s bodies as the child grew in the same manner they did when the children were babies. They allowed their children to act out childhood within every other childhood ability, except the stopping of the breast-feeding.

    It is the mother that refused to stop the breast-feeding, in spite of the baby learning to feed itself.

    This choice of the mother is what provides the evidence that it was the mother that wanted the breast-feeding to continue because it became a form of sexual pleasure (in other words, they chose to allow the baby function of the breast to become a sexual function acted out by the child to the mother… an abnormal reversal of natural function of the breasts).

    To the rational mind, how can this refusal of the mother to free the growing child from her breast not be considered a form of sexual molestation.

  4. Helen, sorry but I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with you on this one, but without any ill feelings. I can completely understand where you are coming from as when I was breastfeeding my kids I really didn’t feel comfortable hanging it out for all to see. However, I have to agree with some of the other comments in that it is not always easy or convenient to only breastfeed in private. I had to come to terms with the fact that there would be times when I had to oblige my children when my dad was still in the room and to tell you the truth I was very grateful he was able to be so respectful about it because picking up a screaming, hungry infant I was still learning how to attach to my breast and carrying them to another room would have been completely beyond me during the early days. I have to ask with all due respect did you breastfeed your babies?

  5. “Past the age of 1, children get no nutritional benefits from breastmilk. It may be comforting and a bonding experince between mother and child, but it’s not physically necessary.”

    This is completely untrue and inaccurate.
    Breastmilk does not suddenly turn into water at twelve months. It is still milk, still full of nutrients and immune system benefits just like it was at birth, and at 11 months, 364 days. It is no longer the primary source of nutrition, but it is still a beneficial part of a healthy diet for any child above the age of one year.

    While breastfeeding may not be physically necessary for the survival of your average 12 month old child, it does have benefits. If your child becomes ill, and is unable to keep anything down but breastmilk, you may be very glad if you can still nurse them, as my friend was when her child was hospitalized for severe vomiting.

    As I also pointed out, children with an allergy to cow’s milk benefit greatly from continued breastfeeding. As does any child who continues to receive it, at any age.

    If someone does not wish to breastfeed past a certain age, that is their choice, but to state there are no benefits is factually inaccurate and untrue. It does a disservice to those who do choose to continue, by leading others to believe there is no valid reason for their choice, and increasing pressure to conform to the preferences of others regardless of their own decision for their family.

  6. When I was…10(?) I was at my friend’s house, and her mother was holding her infant son. I wanted to come over and take a peek at him, and when I got over there and bent over to look at him, WHOA! Giant boob! He was breast feeding, but I didn’t know that. I just thought his mom was holding him. I didn’t know how to react-was it ok to keep looking, should I be embarrassed, would she be embarrassed if I was embarrassed? I think this is the issue that a lot of people have with breast feeding in public-we’re not sure what reactions we are supposed to have. Is it ok to admire a baby that is being breast fed? Should we engage in conversation while politely averting our gaze? Should we just walk over to the other side of the room until the “all’s clear” is given? Are the rules different for male and female interactions, a woman who’s covered up vs. one who isn’t, etc.?

    Several people have mentioned that people who are uneasy with breast feeding in public are the ones with the issues, and I agree, but understanding the issues might help clear some of them up. Just my two cents.

  7. I can only remember ever seeing three women breastfeed in public. One was in the children’s section of Borders, using a blanket. One was at my son’s daycare. One was sitting next to me on an airplane. I looked away to give them their privacy but never questioned whether they had the right to do so.

    I was not able to breastfeed my son. He came home from the hospital with jaundice and I had to get fluid into him every two hours and my milk hadn’t come in yet. I was very disappointed that I couldn’t breast feed and the only person who ever gave me a hard time about it was the nurse from the hospital who called up to check on me. My son is thin, healthy and smart. Bottle-feeding didn’t hurt him at all and I don’t think it’s fair make women feel bad about not breast feeding. I am 7 months pregnant with my second child and hope to breast feed this time, but I have to go back to work after 12 weeks and probably won’t be able to do so for very long. If society has a gripe with women not breast feeding, then demand employers pay for mothers to be off work longer. We recently had an intern from Germany at our office. When she asked how long I was going to be off and I said “12 weeks” her eyes got big and she said, “That’s all?” In Germany, as in many other European countries, you get 6 months paid leave. Of course, they also have universal health care and a society that is is much less individualistic, but that’s a different debate.

    I think we all need to understand that while breastfeeding isn’t “bad” or “shameful,” breasts are sexual objects. In ancient cultures they were a symbol of fertility. The bigger your breasts, the more fertile you were believed to be, the more children you were believed to be able to produce. Attraction to breasts is part of our programming. We cannot unsexualize breasts. There is a reason women’s bathing suits cover them. They are “private.” Seeing them in public, even with a baby latched on, makes people uncomfortable because they are sexual objects. It is perfectly acceptable to breastfeed in public, but it’s not okay for your breast and nipple to be exposed for all to see. Some discretion is necessary, but that is not the same as telling women that modesty equals shame.

    My son is about to turn 4, and the idea of him breastfeeding at his age is, frankly, creepy. Past the age of 1, children get no nutritional benefits from breastmilk. It may be comforting and a bonding experince between mother and child, but it’s not physically necessary. I believe that’s where the ickiness factor comes from.

  8. I was a bottle baby, and to my certain knowledge, it didn’t do me any harm. I’m healthy, hale and hearty at 60 and plan to live to be at least as old as Margaret and Helen.

    I know I’m very late on this one, but when I was about six years old, I went to see Snow Whilte with my mother, a school friend and my friend’s mother and three year old brother. Everyone was fascinated watching the dwarfs chase Snow White’s evil stepmother up the cliff, when suddenly this three year old kid pipes up, “Give me a tit, mom.” Good thing it was a dark theatre so we could all hide!

  9. “When my daughter was a newborn, she nursed about every hour for half an hour at a time. If I didn’t nurse in public, I’d have never gone out. Even now, at five months, she nurses about every 2 hours–not even long enough for a decent grocery shop.

    I nurse in public all the time. Most of the time, she’s in a sling or other carrier, latched on, and I’m moving through the mall, the grocery store, the local Indian restaurant, the farmer’s market, or just taking a stroll around the block. Lots of people see the back of her head and a little cleavage, if that. I can’t see how that could be offensive to anyone–or comparable to shit.

    As for the idea of putting a blanket over her head while she eats, forget it. If you don’t like it, look away. I’m not about to juggle a blanket, and no one is forcing you to look at (horrors!) the back of my baby’s head.”

    ———–

    I bet if your child was four years old, there would be plenty of comments made and, if you would insist on your rights to reveal and disgorge any time you wanted, then you should be prepared for the opinions of people that don’t appreciate seeing a toddler sucking on his mother’s breast while he’s playing a Nintendo game at the mall.

  10. Oh, good lord. It’s back to the breastfeeding issue again. That’ll be good for another 400 posts at least.

    I’m with Helen on this (and watch what kind of missles you launch because I return fire with an exponent).

    I think her comment in the Holiday Letter to her family indicated that she would just as soon not see someone breast-feed their four-year old.

    This does not seem like an unreasonable stance to me.

    For those who feel they need to breast-feed their four-year old where ever and whenever the child demands (and, really, shouldn’t a four-year-old have learned a modicum of impulse control by that point, so that you could go to a quiet room to feed the child?), don’t go to Helen’s house at Thanksgiving. She’s already indicated that it’s not acceptable.

    But I think what the issue is here, really, is what others have discussed–the militancy of some breastfeeders.

    Sufferin’ Jesus, when I used to moderate the old ACLU boards on AOL, I got assigned the breastfeeders. Understand, on AOL message boards are heavily censored and the ACLU offered a true free-speech zone. So we got a lot of “refugee communities” who had been so censored on AOL that they fled to the safe haven of the ACLU free-speech zone.

    I also got assigned the religious zealots and the BDSM crowd. I learned A LOT from both communities, and I was way more horrified by what I learned from the religious zealots.

    Anyway, the brestfeeder community was the most acrimonious, passion-filled, name-calling, accusation-oriented group I ever experienced as a moderator.

    The militants were the source of most of that. It was the lack of common sense and respect for what is judged as reasonable in whatever environment you are in that, IMO, made the militants militants.

    It’s also the lack of respecting others’ rights to express themselves.

    If breastfeeders are going to demand the right to drop and exude any danged time they and their child wants, then they have to understand that others are going to demand the right to object to it if it is, for that an environment, what most people would consider out of the bounds of what most people feel comfortable with.

    It’s kind of like the interview with Obama, early on in the primary, when an interviewer was trying to trick Obama (who is, you know, half African) into an uncomfortable answer by asking “Do you believe that laws specifying that the saggy-pants/ showing under-drawers that “some” (i.e., at that time, a large portion were African-American late-teens) boys wear should be outlawed?”

    Obama said (loose quote, but it is the gist of what he said), “In general, I am against laws that dictate dress code. On the other hands, the brothers should pull up their pants.”

    So, let the flames begin. I’m with Helen on this, so give it your best shot.

    Disclaimer: I nursed my daughter until she was 8 months old when I contracted a viral infection that produced a raging fever for days. Despite all of my attempts, there was no milke by the time I left the hospital. Yes, we pumped and pumped, but eventually there was nothing to pump.

  11. Breastfeeding in public is not dirty, gross, or indecent. I have seen many women breastfeed in public. Never on ANY occasion have I seen more “skin” than you see on some teenagers walking through the mall. Or what about the Victoria’s Secret posters? I don’t see anyone rushing to throw blankets over those. It’s a double standard, and it does a disservice to women and babies everywhere. I don’t doubt some woman somewhere may have shown more skin than you were comfortable with. Look away, cut her some slack, realize that she may be doing the best she can where she is right now, and her baby’s need to eat trumps everything else. Everything. That baby’s human right to have food comes first.

    As to the age of the child, that is irrelevant. You do not know what cultural, health, or other issues their family may be dealing with. In many cultures breastfeeding is continued well past the six weeks or less that seems to be average here. We seem to hear a lot about “cultural sensitivity” these days… until something cultural that gets under our skin comes up and then it’s “Oh no! That’s just… (wrong, messed up, crazy… pick one)”

    Having two children who were severely allergic to cow’s milk, the ridiculousness of thinking there is a magical age when cow’s milk becomes better for a child is even more obvious to me. My fourth child was nearly three when he weaned. He wasn’t nursing in public at that age, and he went several weeks where he didn’t nurse every day even. Was it “gross” or sexual that my *human* offspring still drank *human milk* at any point? Of course not! How silly. Is he scarred for life? I hardly think so, he’s a bright outgoing engaging boy who loves to make people laugh.

    When toddlers are learning to talk (and ‘ask for it’) they are often entering the stage where they are very picky eaters, and getting balanced nutrition into them can be difficult. Continuing to nurse is one way of making sure at least SOMETHING they consume is packed with nutrition, even if everything else you try to feed them ends up on the floor and mashed into their hair. Maybe you haven’t seen the commercials for toddler formula and “pediasure” but I for one can’t afford that, not when breastfeeding is still free.

    Supporting women should mean we support their choices. While I don’t *mentally comprehend* the choice not to breastfeed (notice I said “choice” I TOTALLY get having that decision taken away from you by health concerns, etc.) I support it as that woman’s personal decision. Just as I would hope someone who is in favor of women’s rights and freedoms could support other women in their decision to breastfeed as long as their child continues, and in any place their baby needs to be fed.

  12. THANK YOU for saying it Margaret and Helen. I am a 42 year old female who is repulsed by this practice. If it was a matter of seeing it, it would be icky. But how about the slurping noises and yummy sounds??? Are mothers deaf? Seriously, my husband bolted from the table when his clueless cousin sat down next to him while breastfeeding. I of course was lauging my ass off across the room. It was comical & she sat there with is weird look of “what’s the problem.” We have social etiquette so we have a basic standard of behavior. This whole “if you don’t like it then look away” opens up the whole question of, why wait in line, why say please, why not lick your fingers at the table. Does Emily Post really need a chapter on “keep your boob to yourself.” Being discreet shouldn’t be put on the endangered manners list.

  13. When my daughter was a newborn, she nursed about every hour for half an hour at a time. If I didn’t nurse in public, I’d have never gone out. Even now, at five months, she nurses about every 2 hours–not even long enough for a decent grocery shop.

    I nurse in public all the time. Most of the time, she’s in a sling or other carrier, latched on, and I’m moving through the mall, the grocery store, the local Indian restaurant, the farmer’s market, or just taking a stroll around the block. Lots of people see the back of her head and a little cleavage, if that. I can’t see how that could be offensive to anyone–or comparable to shit.

    As for the idea of putting a blanket over her head while she eats, forget it. If you don’t like it, look away. I’m not about to juggle a blanket, and no one is forcing you to look at (horrors!) the back of my baby’s head.

  14. P.S. “Jen” above me, you just sound jealous. The worst anti-public breastfeeding people are moms who are bitter because they couldn’t breastfeed. tisk, tisk,tisk!

  15. I’ve been reading your blog and I really love all of your point of views on politics and such, then I read this. I’m not in any pro-breastfeeding groups, I don’t think a 4 year old should breast-fed, and I only breast-fed my son for a few weeks, but you are wrong. Compairing bowel movements to breastfeeding is ignorant. Its a breast, get over it. If you don’t like it, YOU leave the room.

  16. I love your blog!

    Anyway, I am a mother of 2 preemies. My first was born so early that my milk never came in. With my second, it was a few issues: milk never came in and she wouldn’t latch. So, I decided that I didn’t want my kids to starve so I fed them formula. Now, many of the militant/breastfeeding nazi’s have told me that I’m a bad mother and that I didn’t try hard enough (right, cause the meds that made me sick and the herbs that were hard to swallow and the nasty tasting tea were such a joy to take).

    I totally agree with you 2 on this subject 100%. If you want to do it, do it descreitly because it I want to look at boobs I’ll take off my shirt.

  17. The militant La Lechers remind me of a joke from an episode of the show “Rick and Steve”: “I only ever nurse in public. Otherwise, what’s the point?”

  18. I breastfed both my sons, and while I understand the need to take care of a child’s nutritional needs, it can definitely be done without exposing one’s breasts to the world. It’s simple, drape a blanket over your shoulder. What’s so terrible about that? You’re maintaining some privacy for yourself AND for your child, and showing some respect for society’s norms.

    As for breastfeeding a toddler, it’s more about the mother’s needs than the child’s at that point.

  19. I am living in India, where people poop on the street. Having seen it a number of times I can say with some authority that I would hands down rather look at a breastfeeding mom and day.

  20. I remember when it was considered obscene for anyone to be seen breast feeding in public. With time and society learning the benefits of breast feeding, it has become more normalized.

    I now have seen many cases of moms covered with blankets when I am out and about. It seems very natural and even wonderful to see mom and child.

    It is a lot less upsetting than the gangster pants sagging, profanity, smoking, or loud denigrating which I feel is much more of an issue.

    About 4 year olds – I don’t think it happens often. We should not overplay the rare events.

    I hope those who say they are leaving this site reconsider. We live in America and we have free speech. We learn from each other by discussions such as this. I did not realize how big an issue this was until this post.

    In closing: I have not seen many cases of ‘boob sightings’ while a mom is feeding the little one. It might be more common for women, but as a male, I have not seen it. I have seen societal changes in regard to breast feeding and I feel that the changes have been for the betterment of society.

  21. I love you ladies, but I definitely disagree. I’ve read through the comments and the naysayers make the argument for me so I won’t repeat it other than to say the working breast is nothing to be ashamed of…and Americans tend to wean their children too early.

  22. I totally agree with you guys. Feed the kid in the other room. While breastfeeding may be natural, showing your breasts in public is not. Those La Leche Leaguers don’t have to like my opinion, but I certainly expect them to respect it and quit flashing us without asking us.

    KJ

    http://nanadiaries.com

  23. “breastfeeding is a natural bodily function, but so is a bowel movement. You don’t see people dropping their drawers and doing that in the middle of your living room, now do you? ”

    That remark, my dear Margaret …. let’s me know you don’t like women, or children. I have loved your blog until now. That was the deal breaker for me.

    I won’t be back.

  24. Lola, dear…I think Margaret was just being funny as well….

  25. I don’t see why women need to be ashamed to feed their children in public. Breastmilk isn’t waste therefore it’s just idiotic that someone would compare it to feces.

    Have you ever tried to cover up a baby’s head with a blanket!? Easier said than done.

    You know, there’s a lot of things I don’t like to see. Fat people in tight pants, old people with liver spots and crusty skin, teenagers with their thongs hanging out – just to name a few. I sure as HELL don’t go up to them and ask them to leave or to cover themselves with a blanket. PLEASE! If you don’t like what you see, please feel free to cover up YOUR head with a blanket. :)

    Happily nursing my 18 month old, who can ASK for it whenever she wants!

  26. I think Helen was just being funny…

  27. I love this site, but this is the first time I’ve felt compelled to comment.

    The “I have a right not to see it” comments SLAY me. When did it become a “right” to force other people to accommodate your body issues? I feel skeeved when I see men with boobs and hairy backs in tank tops. Alas, it’s never been my right to insist they stay at home or put on more clothes. I have to put on my big girl panties and deal with it.

    A baby has a right to eat in public just like the rest of us do. Just because you find the delivery method or the food offensive doesn’t mean it IS. And a baby’s right to eat supercedes your desire to pretend breasts are not for feeding.

    I nursed when my babies were hungry, where ever I happened to be. I felt more uncomfortable about potentially showing some belly skin if my shirt pulled up than my breast or nipple, because those didn’t show. No one would see them unless they happened to be STARING at the exact moment of latch or unlatch. If people were offended, it wasn’t by the sight of a body part; it was by the very idea. Which is an irrational silliness I really don’t have to accommodate.

    I see a lot of things in public that offend me. Fortunately, my neck has this amazing ability to swivel in another direction. The breast’s biological purpose is for feeding. If cultural programming makes you feel squicky about that, I’m very sorry, but there is no logical reason to give the irrational bias of other people a higher priority than just taking care of your infant, when and where you need to. It has NO comparison to elimination, as breastmilk is a food, sterile, and most definitely NOT a waste product or a hazardous material.

  28. Of course extended breast feeding used to be used as a form of bith control–my Grandmother (who died in 2000 at the age of 102) mightily embarressed her Mother by running to tell the preacher, who was making a house-call, “I is weaned Brother Jacobs–I is weaned!!”

  29. What fun! I think it’s hilarious that someone actually contacted you repeatedly to ask you to speak out on the issue, as if the subject was even remotely related to anything you’d written about in the past. I guess it’s a sign that people look up to you two. You’re like the Nation’s Grandmothers :-) Thanks for being honest in your opinions.

  30. Heather
    There is a whole website devoted to the subject of thumb sucking. It is actually more common that you think.

  31. OH MY

  32. I dated a guy in my twenties and woke up one night to him sucking his thumb. I thought maybe he was just doing it by accident in his sleep. It wasn’t until a couple days later we were watching tv and I looked over and there he was..fully awake, sucking his thumb. I’d never been so shocked in my life. I know this has nothing to do with this post but I just thought I would throw that out there. Then I also dated a guy for a while that after he would drink hard liquor he would pass out and then wet the bed. Has anyone else out there come across grown men acting like babies? Anyone?

  33. We’re beyond the breast-feeding stage of life, but we have a new saying:
    Got Caffection?
    We support equality in marriage. We found your blog through the Atticus Circle. How fun! We’ll be back for more.

  34. Brava, LD!!!

  35. First and foremost, I love reading this blog. You ladies are as deliciously candid as anyone could possibly hope for.

    Second, I am a feminist, liberal, free-spirit-open-minded etc. etc. college student. And astonishingly enough, I don’t want to see breasts. If I did I have my own and I have a mirror, enough said. The notion that a woman cannot wear a smock, or excuse herself from the area, is just silly. And no, insisting that if someone doesn’t want to see your breasts, That’s Their Problem, just doesn’t cut it. Of course nursing is a difficult time (when is parenting not a difficult time, really) but if you go so far as to make a point of stripping down and letting the kid go at it in public, and then furiously demanding that the breast be de-sexualized in modern culture, I think we need to have a talk.

    Furthermore, I’d like to address the individual who seemed so bewildered that gay marriage could be endorsed here, but not playing Rosasharn in public. I believe a quote was “breastfeeding is not a sexual act”? Neither is gay marriage, unless I missed the legal clause which mandates that newly-wedded couples immediately run to the nearest crosswalk and get busy.

    There seems to be a knee-jerk response to any sort of old-fashioned mindset, equating traditional approaches to oppression and sexism. It’s frankly just silly. You can love yourself and your body without trotting about the streets in the buff. You can take pride in your motherhood without breastfeeding, sans coverage, in public. When you put your body on display and get angry that others are offended, perhaps it’s time to look at it from the other point of view. Those may be values that you hold, but they aren’t necessarily views everyone else shares, and by enforcing your views in public display, you’re effectively forcing them on other people capable of registering them – in this case, anyone who can see. If you choose to express your views in this manner, it’s downright hypocritical to be angry if anyone chooses to express their views in return.

    Now that I’ve waxed academic, I’ll close with a toast to these two ladies, whose sensibility I wish a good deal more people could take to heart.

  36. You two are awesome! I totally agree about four-year olds breastfeeding. I mean by that time they’re on solid food and can drink milk from a cup, why do they need booby too?

    I don’t agree to the comparison of breastfeeding to bowel movements though. I covered up when breastfeeding in public, but to find a quiet spot away from people when not at home is impossible.

    Thanks for the honesty. Keep it up! ;-)

  37. Hi Girlz
    being a father of four (breast fed) children I think I might have a say here too…..
    well, the 2 mothers of my children both breast fed in public and both covered up as far as it was practical (without suffocating our children).
    But the bigot way this is handled here in North America appels me, really!
    I think it is perfectly natural and should NOT cause any issues, while I also think women should handle it with their normal natural decency……..
    They sight of a naked breast has NEVER ever harmed any child I have ever known, but the deformed mental attitude of some rightwing religous assholes has harmed more children than I care to count!
    And they breed like stupid!
    Ahhh what nightmares are lurking around the corner again………….
    this was my 5 cents worth
    Werner

  38. Oh Helen, you are a woman of my own heart. I so agree with you on the breastfeeding issue (and most everything else for that matter).

  39. ok I breastfed, but never understood what the big deal was with some woman and breast feeding….to use the breast pump fill a bottle when going out…. I never wanted to worry about my babe being hungry and having to whip out my tits….. did not care to announce how I fed my babies…some woman really do just like to announce that they are breast feeding. They go a little overboard.

  40. I breastfed both my son and daughter, now 30 and 28 years old. I wore loose fitting shirts or carried a lightweight blanket so I could drape it over the baby’s face as he/she nursed. A friend and I were having donuts and coffee as I nursed my then 3 month old daughter. I burped the baby and changed sides. It was a few more minutes before my friend asked “Are you feeding her”? I laughed and said I’d been feeding her for nearly 20 minutes. My friend didn’t notice and she was sitting across the table from me. I breastfed my children anywhere we went and the only time it was noticed was when my daughter cut a tooth on me in the Mayberry Ice Cream Parlor. A really old woman laughed her ass off because she knew what was happening as I jumped up with tears in my eyes… Breastfeeding can and should be done discreetly. Boobs shouldn’t be left hanging about willy nilly. And yes, I will say something to the guy scratching his crotch too. I like pointing out how unlikely the damn thing is to fall off unless, of course he keeps playing with it. Whatever happened to manners anyway?

  41. Helen, Margaret: Please write about something else now!!! I can’t take it anymore.

  42. Oh your blog is the best. Please don’t stop, ever.

  43. Wow – I actually disagree with you!
    I think it depends on the situation, and discretion should be attempted, but at the same time, I really don’t understand why anyone would be grossed out by it. I don’t think of it in the same way I do as someone going to the bathroom (quite the opposite, actually), and I believe that women should have the choice to feed their babies as they see fit.
    Now kids (and a few adults I know) who can’t seem to keep their mouths closed when they eat? TOTALLY grosses me out.

  44. So glad that Chuck knows all the places to breast feed. I’m sure he’s had to take care of that many times himself. Isn’t it great that men know so much about what we women should do and not do. Oh, wait a sec…..

    Chuck, when you have been pregnant and borne a child yourself, then you can opine on this topic.

    til then, nuts to you.

  45. It would never have occurred to me to go away to breastfeed any of my babies. They’re hungry and I’ve got milk – as simple as that!

    But then again I am Swedish, so you expect to see my boobs anyway… ;)

    But come to think about it, next time I see a man chewing with his mouth open, or sweat, or scratch himself, or a woman with a fall-out cleavage or a high pitch shreek-laugh I will ask if they can go do that in private instead of next to me when I’m trying to eat.
    They can share the same booth as the cattle with clashing-colour ties and bad-taste hair do’s!

  46. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha LOL

  47. Bobby: And you eat with that thing?

    I KNOW! See, sex and food become mutually exclusive. How twisted is that?

  48. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. HOW DID THIS BECOME ABOUT THE RIGHT TO BREASTFEED? I DON’T THINK ANYONE IS QUESTIONING THE IDEA OF BREASTFEEDING. NOT EVEN THE AUTHOR OF THE POST WHO SAID SHE HAS NO ISSUE WITH BREASTFEEDING. THE ARGUMENT IS HOW MUCH EXPOSURE IS TOO MUCH EXPOSURE WHEN BREASTFEEDING AND TO A LESSER DEGREE HOW OLD BEFORE THE BREASFEEDING SHOULD NO LONGER BE AN OPTION FOR THE CHILD.

    My answer – feed when and where you want and deal with the reactions of those around you. If you don’t like it, cover up. If the reactions don’t bother you then put it all out there and let it be their problem to deal with.

    As to how old? Well, I agree with Helen. If you can walk up, ask for it, and then have a little between cookies then momma needs to cut the apron strings… or bib strings.

  49. BaBaBlackSheep – who said no to breasfeeding? Are you reading the same thread as I am? No one has said not to breastfeed.

  50. Roxanne – “What body part is more sexual than the mouth?”

    And you eat with that thing?

  51. If you look at breastfeeding as a natural bodily function then comparing it to a bowel movement is acurate. What does everyone have against bowel movements? We all do it. Not to mention, breastfeeding eventually ends up as a bowel movement.

    Cheeeez. Some you are so touchy.

  52. My mother is 87. I am 53. Mom breastfed her first child (1943) and then it went out of fashion and bottle feeding (OMG! Evap. milk and Karo syrup!!!) was considered more convenient and more sanitary. The latter ’60’s and up to present day brought a return of natural mothering.

    If you gals are really in your 80’s, then you may be excused as a product of your times. (My Mom thought I was silly to breastfeed…)

    A few others commenting here…….I am at a loss to find an excuse for you…

  53. Hi Margaret and Helen! Love your blog.

    People feel uncomfortable about a lot of things for a lot of reasons. No, wait. That’s not true. We feel uncomfortable about a lot of things for a very few reasons, societal pressure being the biggest.

    A child used his words to ask for what he wanted? Outrageous! The penalty for becoming verbal is to be cut off from the comfort of his mother’s breasts?

    My discomfort is not the final word on any matter. Other people do not live and function for the sole purpose of making me comfortable. If I feel uneasy about another woman’s breast making a public appearance, I am able to look away and still be glad she has the gumption to make the best choice for her child.

    What body part is more sexual than the mouth? Still, we flap it – uncovered! – anywhere, and even eat with it in public.

    No one can insist that you be comfortable with public breastfeeding. But, being reasonable adults, we do have the capacity to move beyond our own discomfort in the best interests of even our tiniest brethren.

  54. So you equate breastfeeding with “taking your shirt off in a restaurant and exposing your non-feeding breasts”?

  55. I’m SO TIRED of hearing the “there’s boobs all over TV” argument. Maybe there are – on your TV in your living room. I couldn’t take off my shirt in a restaurant and sit there exposing my non-feeding breasts.

  56. I breastfed all three of my children, for different lengths of time. I have never been to a LaLeche Legue meeting, but ironically my family doc is a son of one of the founding members, and he has never been militant about how we raise our kids.

    I had always been discreet, but I too take offense to comparing breastfeeding to a bowel movement.

  57. I breast fed my now grown married son for two months before having to return to work. My main reasons were very pragmatic at the time; it was free and I was hoping it was healthier as allergies ran strongly in the family. To be honest though, I very much enjoyed the experience and they were all selfish reasons; I liked being the only person in the whole world the baby actually needed for food and I thought the time together was the only perfectly restful and yummy part of my day. Would I do it again? In a NY minute. Am I offended by other women breast feeding in public? No. But I admit I’ve only seen infants and not preschoolers.

  58. Actually this is my second comment on this controversial subject, I am trying to be poster #250 and win the prize.

    Back in my now begotten youth, I happened to catch a call to work a passenger train between Kansas and Texas as a flagman. While walking through a car, I came across a woman sitting in the seat breast feeding her baby and I said to another guy, “Will you look at that! My Gawd …. That has to be the ugliest baby I have ever seen in my life.”

    Well, this didn’t go over all that good with the rail customer and she had a talk about it with my boss, the conductor of the train.

    He reassured her that it was not the policy of the railroad for its employee’s to insult the ridership and that as a courtesy to her, he suggested that she retire to the dining car of the train and have a free meal on the cuff of the railroad.

    He told her in no uncertain terms he would speak to me about the incident and suggested that while she was in the dining car, that the lady tell them to make sure they gave her a banana for her monkey!

    200+ comments on breast feeding … Who would have ever thought that dog would hunt. It’s a natural thing, what makes it repulsive for some people is doing it openly …

    Perhaps covering the baby with a nice soft cotton blinky or something and making it a little discreet and less public would be a good idea.

    But what do I know, I am just another shameless self-promoter of lesser things up in the middle of the night ….. with nothing else to do.

    Have to go now girls, off to the frozen north to Mudflats.com to pick on Sarah and make sure that base is covered. It’s not an easy job, but someone has to do it.

    Tah-Tah tootle loo … I will see you.

  59. hilarious! wow, a few boobs really have gotten riled up about all this, haven’t they?

    rock on h & m!

  60. So let me get this straight. Some of you women would prefer that we all just get over our obsesson with breasts so that a woman can go barebreast in public without retribution.

    Well bring it one. You’ve got my vote!

  61. I was in a hip thrift store (owned by gay men LOL) and noticed a woman breast-feeding her baby on a bench right near the entrance. It didn’t bother me, but then, she wasn’t being blatant about exposing her breast. I’m all for public breast-feeding. I have no objections to it. I simply feel that a little modesty and consideration goes a long, long way!

  62. All I can say is, I couldn’t have said it better. Thanks again!

  63. This is obviously a very hot topic in our culture/society. Too bad we’re not more accepting, empathetic, and courteous toward one another REGARDLESS of our differences.

    Whether we like it or not, women are objectified and breasts are sexualized — just tune to your local hip-hop station if you disagree (or any TV channel for that matter!) But I don’t think people are offended b/c they attach a sexual connotation to breastfeeding. I think many people just expect a certain amount of modesty in public, and exposing the full breast to nurture one’s child…no matter how natural or loving the act…can be considered immodest.

    M&H did not attack the act of breastfeeding or those who condone it (as some commentators seem to believe.) They simply stated their opinion, which is that women who choose to bf in public could be a bit more considerate of those around them by being a bit more modest.

    If we all chose to be a bit more considerate of those around us, our world would be MUCH more pleasant. Overall, we have become rude, inconsiderate, self-centered, and thoughtless. (Note to breastfeeding moms: I am NOT equating breastfeeding w/ being rude, inconsiderate, self-centered, and thoughtless.) I will, however, state that many of the above comments of those who disagree on this topic ARE all of those things.

    Consideration, courtesy, understanding, empathy, acceptance…all those things that make societies civil…are rapidly declining in our society. I daresay teaching your children those qualities — and modeling those qualities for them — is at least as healthy, nurturing, and good for them as breastfeeding. If only we could bottle up compassion and acceptance feed it to the masses! I suppose we have more evolving to do!

  64. Watch “The Story of Stuff”…while it states that “Breast is Best” is also explains that breastmilk is the #1 most contaminated food in America. I’m not stating that…I’m simply quoting the documentary.

    http://www.storyofstuff.com/

  65. he’s hand stapled, lol, you’re right it’s not polite to walk out there showing your ChiChis!

  66. Oh….my….

  67. I really have no problem with a mother breast feeding her child in public as long as she is discreet about it, which most of them are. But a 4 year old ASKING to for a shot of boob juice??? I’m sorry but if the kid is old enough to talk about it with his buddies, he’s too old to be breast feeding.
    My sister in law had a co-worker who still breast fed her 7 year old and admitted that she got sexually aroused when doing it. If that’s not child sexual abuse, I don’t know what is.

  68. You ladies are a riot. What a hornet’s nest you stirred up!! Keep up the good work. Apparently we all need a place to vent and you have provided one.

  69. It’s time for Americans to get off this prudish streak we’ve been on since we adopted it from the English back in the Nineteenth Century, when breasts were “bosoms” and “ladies” blushed at that word.

    There are far too many important problems in the world. A mother’s relationship with her kids, as long as it’s within the law, is up to her. If we find her behavior distasteful, we have the option of avoiding her company or speaking to her about it — but ultimately, it’s none of our business as long as the child is not harmed.

    As far as older kids nursing is concerned, it’s considered normal in much of the world where people would think this whole discussion puzzling at best..

    One of the biggest problems in this country right now is folks trying to foist their ideas of propriety and morality off on others. If it offends you, don’t look.

  70. Mel

    I do not think Helen or Margaret meant no one should breast feed in public. We all have done it.
    The point was we don’t need to see a mother hanging it all out there. Use a blanket or something!

  71. Here’s the deal on breastfeeding: It should be OK and LEGAL to breastfeed in public. Period. When my first daughter was an infant, I was doing voter registration. I had my preemie daughter at a high school program where they were teaching high schoolers to become child care workers. When I picked her up, she was hungry, so I went into the lobby and breastfed–if I didn’t she would become hysterical. One afternoon, I had simultaneously begin to register an 18-year-old student to vote. She turned out to be a Republican. (This will become important.) That little witch turned me in!

    Later, the director of the program asked me not to breastfeed in the lobby. Well, I didn’t want to be the Rosa Parks of breastfeeding, but the Nevada State Legislature has just signed into law a bill that gives breastfeeding women the affirmative right to breastfeed in public — in other words, women who had been asked to leave restaurants (which had happened) or to feed their babies in toilet stalls or face an obscenity charge, now could breastfeed in places open to the public without concern about legal repercussions. Therefore, I cited the new law and gave them a copy. I also asked them what in the hell they were teaching these kids about infant nutrition! (There’s absolutely no question that breastmilk is best for babies, not to belabor this point.)

    Shortly thereafter, the director apologized sincerely — she told me she didn’t know what she was thinking, as she was basically a liberal at heart and had breastfed her own babies, etc. She also said that starting right then, they would include a class on infant nutrition that included breastfeeding.

    Bottom line: breastfeeding is natural, and while I, too, believe it’s best if women are discreet — I do not enjoy flashing my boobs to the public — there should be laws that protect women from having to bow to the opinions of others on this topic.

    I say that with love in my heart for Margaret and Helen, but disagreement with their position on breastfeeding–unless it includes the affirmative right for women to breastfeed in public, which they didn’t state specifically.

  72. M&H…next topic…the pros and cons of circumcision perhaps?? :-) Lord you two make me laugh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  73. Its like a phone ringing in a movie theater, or screaming babies at a nice dinner place. Yes, you have the right to do it, but we don’t have to like you or even tolerate it. And don’t get on me about babies having to eat. I made sure I breast fed both my children, but I didn’t haul them all over the place to do it. It is much more peaceful to do it in a private place. To me, it is a more bonding experience between mother and child when we are both comfortable. And as far as Europe being much more open, fine. But! When in Rome, do as the romans.

  74. I think people are getting too wound up over this.
    I think many of us feel that it is ok to breast feed in public, we just would like people to be a little
    more discrete. Yes, we know our breasts are intended physically for feeding our babies which is a natural function. However, there are many “natural functions” in which we tend to be more modest.
    And I think for a mother to demand that she feed bare breasted in public is a sort of in your face thing.
    Cover up, you don’t have the right to make other people uncomfortable just to prove a point.

  75. Helen,

    Here’s a hilarious 28 seconds that I’m sure you’ll love:

    Maybe if McCain had actually done this, he could have gleaned a few more votes.

    Enjoy!

  76. Oh geesh, somehow, everything always leads back to breasts! Mommies who breastfeed, express onward. But if your baby projectile pukes onto me as I am coo-cooing to him/her, you buy me a new shirt!

    Working in animal rescue, I usually am fostering many kittens. My advice: if you run out of formula at 2am and have a screaming week-old kitten, DO NOT breastfeed…OMG those kitten baby teeth are like NEEDLES!

    (As Triumph the Insult Comic Dog says: “I KEED, I KEED!”)

    I draw the line as a kitten foster mom at breastfeeding and grooming them with my tongue (tried once, almost drove into a tree later trying to hack up a hairball!) (Again, refer to above “Triumph” reference!)

  77. Jason, I’m with you on the drink snorting.

  78. Well, Helen, I told you it would be a shitstorm!!

    All I’m saying is this: After a certain point, breastfeeding an older kid becomes MORE about the mom’s needs and not necessarily the child’s.

    There is a lot of “competitive mothering” going on these days. I don’t want to be told I-am-a-better-mother-than-you-are because I can breastfeed… stay at home instead of working… make homemade pie crust instead of buying it.

    Nobody has bothered to say this: Breastfeeding is usually the choice of the child, not the mom. Some kids cannot latch on or suck. I remember my sister trying so hard and I finally said to her, “Look, Emma is choosing it, not you, so go easy on yourself. For some reason she’s just unable to.” So my sister pumped for awhile and Emma also bottle fed. I think it gave my sister great relief to know that something she and Emma couldn’t physically work out together didn’t make her irresponsible and less nurturing, and would make the baby less bonded to her.

    Anyone who says breastfed kids are more bonded to their mother and more intelligent are full of crap. The allergy and immune thing has been disproved in numerous clinical trials published in medical journals.

  79. No. You don’t see people doing that in your lviing room but if someone did and you blogged about it, I bet loads of people would find a way to comment on how we value or don’t value women in our culture. talk about overreaching…

  80. You two make me snort my drink each and every time!!!!!!!:-)

  81. If you were taught to be ashamed of your body, you probably don’t want to see breast feeding. On the other hand, if you were raised to have a healthy outlook of your body you probably won’t mind breast feeding. Jus sayin’.

  82. About four and a half years ago I had a flight from Seattle to Detroit that lasted about three hours. I’m not one who enjoys flying… then again who does when they charge for just about everything. I’m waiting for the day when the heads (bathrooms) are coin-operated.
    Anyway, I had a window seat, and another person had claimed the aisle seat. I thought I was safe until, right as the boarding was about to end, a woman and her baby showed up to claim the middle seat. The woman had looked over at me and apologized for her baby’s kicking ahead of time. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she proceeded to breast feed her baby as the plane was taking off and did not seem to stop until we landed. For that three hour period, my flight experience was filled with the sound of a sucking away. I don’t give a damn how “natural” it is. It’s disgusting to be stuck next to that for three hours. If a person wants to give their child breast milk in public, pump at home and bring it along!!!

  83. Breastfeeding is just infant feeding in a way that ensures the survival of mammals. When I eat in a restaurant, I don’t put a blanket over my head. And when you think of all those people who chew with their mouth open, etc, if babies can’t eat in public, maybe no one should. When you look at mammals, you see that they breastfeed for different amounts of times, with whales breastfeeding about six years. For human mammals the expected age range is 2 years to 7 years.

  84. hehe. u gotta see it here in my town in indonesia. its a small town actually. in traditional market moms doing transaction/ sell vegetables etc while breastfeeding their baby.
    i think i got an idea to make a breastfeedshield, to cover the breast from public sight. with that all moms can breastfeed their baby anywhere, at restaurants, theatre, bus….

  85. What all this tells us is that woman’s body is still not her own to do with as SHE pleases.

    Seeing Eye Chick, Mothers are the most devalued women in our culture! Try being a woman of child bearing age who doesn’t have one.

    Please tell us how we should feel. Is childbearing and feeding just a natural process that we should not really “see” or is it something that should cause us to treat those who do it as special beings who are different and better than the rest of us?

  86. I see nothing wrong with breastfeeding, even in public. Babies need to eat and, contrary to popular belief, that’s what breasts are for. It’s the perfect food for babies, helps them have better immune systems, and makes them feel secure. I do think that once the child is out of diapers, they should also be weaned.

  87. Uh oh… this is a really heated topic. LOL

  88. [...] fell in love with  Got Milk:  Margaret and Helen  during the election.  Helen, and Margaret too, but more Helen, is an outspoken lady who [...]

  89. My 35-yr-old son was bottle fed, introduced to solid food much earlier than recommended, switched to whole milk from formula much earlier than recommended, talked at an early age and in complete sentences by the time he was two, had only normal childhood illnesses (and few of those), was always in the top of his class, graduated from college magna cum laude and went right into a high-paying, brain-intensive career where he remains today. He’s compassionate, caring, funny and a lovely human being. Some is nature, a lot is nurture.

    Hey, folks – breast feed or bottle feed, it’s your choice – it’s all about HOW you love and interact with your child that makes the difference.

  90. I’m with Mari on the subject of teeth – once the son got a top tooth to match the bottom one, breast-feeding stopped. OUCH! :&)
    Got chased out of the womens’ lounge in Foley’s once in the early 70’s for stopping to feed the baby while shopping. What the heck? Would they have rather I did it in housewares?

  91. Oh my good Aunt Fanny – breast feeding as an elder topic. I breast fed my son until he was 6 months old and always covered my actions with his baby blanket. I probably caused the kid some kind of trauma covering his head like that, but I agree that some functions are best kept private.

    You are so popular that I no longer have time to read all the comments. I hope you manage to plow through them.

  92. [...] – have started up a blog to stay in touch after one of ‘em moved away. Yesterday they tackled breastfeeding, and a few days ago it was Money, Guns and [...]

  93. You all need to lighten up. A breast is just a breast and feeding a baby is important. So if you want to feed your child, I so go for it and let others deal with their insecurities.

  94. Oh, ladies, you are really going to get some opinionated responses to this one!

    Not from me, though. MY mother taught me better manners.

  95. Me thinks the ladies knew exactly what they were doing when posting this…

  96. By: Mara on November 21, 2008 at 2:13 pm and 2:51 pm
    “Yes, I DO eat cheese, and drink milk, and eat honey…so? These don’t come from HUMAN BODY fluids.”
    —————————————————-

    EXACTLY! That is why THEY are gross and breast milk is NOT!
    Breast milk is made for human consumption…Cow’s milk is made for bovine consumption. Period.

    Mara you are truely very screwed up…

  97. Quite a firestorm, ladies. It’s stimulating to bring up controversial topics, isn’t it?

    Unfortunately, this is one that really shouldn’t be controversial at all. It will be a wonderful time when our culture allows women to feed their babies in public and no one will worry about it or feel the need to comment. Discretion is best, but subject to individual interpretation, as are most “rules” in society, so it’s best to live and let live.

    With regard to LaLeche League, I do want to belatedly thank them for helping me through breastfeeding my (now 25 yr. old) daughter. As a new mom, with cracked and bleeding nipples, I thought I’d have to give up breastfeeding entirely. A very nice LLL person coached me through healing and I breastfed until she was 12 mos. I, too, didn’t want to stop then, but she did so that was the end. (I worked, so she alternated between breast and bottle and cup for that matter, so she was ready to be weaned. However, the closeness and bonding we did at the end of the day when I came home from work was a real loss).

    On the age issue, I’m going to wimp out and not offer an opinion.

    It’s been fun reading the comments. Everyone have a nice holiday.

  98. Whatever happened to common sense? I breastfed both of my beautiful children, but my boobs were so huge that there was just no way to be discreet. Good lord, it was like unleashing a beast. So I stayed home for the first few months and then very carefully timed my trips away from home because neither one of my kids would take a bottle. I have no regrets…my kids were worth a little inconvenience. Now my sister-in-law had normal breasts and she could go about her business and breast feed in public without creating a scene. I have no problem with public breastfeeding, just try to be considerate of those around you …including your baby. There are five moms in my family, all breastfed but one, some for four months, some for two years, some publicly. some privately, and guess what? All 11 children have turned out great!

  99. I can honestly say I have never been offended by a breastfeeding mother, but I can also see a similarity to taking a dump and breastfeeding. It is all about being a woman. We (women) are not supposed to do anything personal and non sexual in public unless it benefits a man. Think about it. Men fart, belch, pee out in the open and everyone laughs. Us girls are not suppossed to do any of these things, and heaven forbid if we do. We are ridiculed and humiliated often by other women. Many of my friends won’t even take a dump in a public restroom for fear someone will hear or smell!!! All I can say is, I’m sick to death (literally sometimes) from holding back a fart. We should be mad as hell and not take it anymore. Maybe this is the spirit of Le Leche. They have a right to nourish their children and they do regardless of what anyone thinks. You go girls, but let each mother have the right to make their own decision.

  100. I think the LeLeche League is a bit militant – they want EVERY mother to breast feed. I think it is OK to breast feed in public, but it is easy to drape a blanket across your shoulder and the baby so that is is discreet. I’m all for personal choice but it makes many people uncomfortable to be too open about it and it is very easy to keep it a bit more private.

  101. Oh and Healingmagichands, I don’t recall them asking for our respect. How big of you to think they need yours.

  102. What i find interesting is that this thread has gotten more comments than the universal healthcare thread. I think Margaret and Helen know exactly what they are doing and those of you suggesting that they need to give it up should be ttaking lessons from the pros. Will check in again tomorrow to see what’s up!

  103. There is no reason to be showing boob in public, even while breastfeeding. Anyone who is showing some just wants attention.

    I breastfed two babies discreetly because it is common courtesy to do so. Not because breastfeeding is disgusting or wrong or any of that. Decency, people. That is what this is about.

  104. Don’t breastfeed the trolls…

  105. Things have not changed much since I chose not to breastfeed my kids. The breast feeders are still all in a twit (or should I say, a tit?). Chill out and stop feeling all holier than thou about yourselves. My kids were and still are healthy as horses and honor students to boot. Somehow they are loving, passionate, engaged human beings (now 16 and 19) even though they weren’t breast fed. Get off your high horses. Breast feeding is simply a choice. Like I said, my husband is a pediatrician and totally supported my decision not to breast feed. He said, it’s your body – you decide!

    I believe breast feeding is often times more for the mom than it is for the baby, and that is fine. The baby really will be healthy either way. If a mother wants to experience the pleasure and bonding of breast feeding, that’s fine. Go right ahead. Just cover up and keep your boobs out of the public’s eye. Because, like it or not, a breast are most certainly a sexual body part. And, if you think otherwise, try telling that to Pamela Anderson!

    And, by the way, both my husband and I experienced joy and bonding with our kids when we gave them their bottles. Breast feeding is not the only way to bond with your children. It’s all in how you relate to them – how much you love them and show that love. Contrary to some beliefs, women who choose not to breast feed (and their husbands) do not love their children any less!

    Keep those cards and letters coming…!

  106. Dear Helen and Margaret,

    Many of your readers posted comments that said it better than I could. As long as I come here, accept your hospitality, drink your tea and eat your cake, it is incumbent on me to respect your right to your opinions.

    The minor subject of public breastfeeding touches on an aspect of the attitude toward women that still prevails in this country and much more significantly in other parts of the world.

    It looks as if Hillary Clinton will be our new Secretary of State. I for one think she is no doubt, the best qualified person for the job regardless of gender. She will be able to rapidly mend many of the Bush-Administration-Trampled-Fences around the world, especially in Europe. It will be a different story in some parts of the Middle East where the status of women is dismal. For openers, she will have to cover her HEAD, never mind her breasts, before their leaders will even deign to meet with her let along speak with her. Our biggest international problems politically and economically are in the Middle East.

    In 2006 we went to Istanbul. Turkey is a predominately Muslim democracy and is in the process of trying to join the European Union. In fact, wherever we went, the Euro was accepted as well as Turkish currency. We visited the famous Blue Mosque. The grounds to the approach are exquisite. Off to one side there was a vast area abuzz with carpentry activity. They were building booths for the annual festival and fair held after the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Apparently it is similar to the kind of church bazaars held in this country.

    Outside the mosque there were two large bins; one with plastic bags, the other with blue scarves for the women to cover their heads. We were required to take off our shoes and place them in the plastic bags. That was no hardship for us.

    Here in Hawaii, EVERYBODY takes off their shoes upon entering someone’s home. In fact, there is usually a ceramic plaque by the front door that says, “Please remove your shoes before entering but no take bettah ones when you leave!” This is a custom, partially because of the Asian influence but also for a very practical reason. Our soil is red dirt from degraded volcanic rock rich in iron. If the mud gets on your shoes or in clothing, it will never come out! That applies to rugs and carpets too. In fact, they sell tourists Red Dirt T shirts dipped in a solution of the dirt and water.

    OK, back in Istanbul at the Blue Mosque. The interior is a VAST dome with acres of probably priceless Turkish carpets on the floor. There are no pews. Characteristically the Muslims prostrate themselves on all fours with their foreheads touching the carpets during prayer. That is their ancient custom. There was no service in progress while we were there. Off to one side, there was a small area for women with a railing around it. Our guide told us that women were not required to attend services but could if they wanted to. Muslim men in good standing ARE required to. He also told us that the men and women were separated because in the prostrate posture for prayer, it would be, ahem, distracting, for men and women to be together in that posture.

    A mental picture flashed through my mind and in spite of myself, I got the giggles. Now, c’mon. Despite our best intentions, who among us has not let our thoughts wander during a church service?

    Our impression of the female breast is deeply ingrained in the Puritan tradition and Victorian attitudes of modesty with vague sexual overtones. That’s a no-no. A hungry baby has not been taught much about that – yet.

    Aloha!

    Jean

  107. Seeing Eye Chick you seem to have gone off the deep end on this one. Wow. Touchy subject for you? Some people are bothered by breastfeeding in public and some are not. Get some perspective cause your scaring people : )

    “When we are done infantalizing her through the child birth process we make sure and isolate her from society, ostracize her, criticize her and offer her no support.”

    How the hell did you leap from breastfeeding in public to all that? Wow.

  108. La Leche League=Nipple Nazi’s

  109. Wow! This post has gone *Tits Up*. Here is my take…. You want a happy baby with it’s belly full or a screaming cranky wailing baby?
    Breastfeeding is the best thing you can do for your baby. Babies have little bellies & need to eat RIGHT NOW when they are ready. You are on their schedule, rather than the other way around.

    So as a result I did sometimes have to feed the babe in a not convenient spot but once I tucked myself in a corner of a Goodwill store & was feeding the baby with a shirt covering most everything. A clerk came over & told me someone found this offensive ( you could not even see anything!).
    I told her if someone finds taking care of and feeding a baby offensive, THEY should leave.
    You are supposed to care for & feed babies.
    For the record I was more comfortable being home feeding the baby where it was no big deal, but not like you can stay at home for a year to feed the babe.

    I wish people found war & torture as offensive as all the fuss about breastfeeding!

    Lactation happens!

  110. My ex breastfed both of our daughters, even expressed her leftovers into one of those plastic bag thingies and froze it so I could feed them while she worked. No problem.
    One of the funniest (and painful) events of my life happened when my 4 month old daughter and I were cuddling in bed one evening, and she snookered up and latched ahold of one of my nipples and clamped down with those toothless gums.
    When you’re a part of that love, it really doesn’t matter what people think. I always thought of it as being one of life’s most private moments, but I’m a man. What do I know about breastfeeding?

  111. Goodness, what a bunch of defensive ladies and a few gents as well. You’d think M&H just advocated a wholesale return to the formula days. With melamine.

    They didn’t. They just said be discreet. And I completely agree. Women should be able to nurse their bebbies anywhere. But you can nurse w/o full frontals that may make people uncomfortable. And demanding that people just, you know, stop being uncomfortable, is as boorish as the idiots who think nursing should be relegated to bathrooms.

    I swear, the militants are their own worst enemy. Says this Mom who nursed her own three till they were a least 12 months old.

  112. While I respect both Margaret and Helen and their views, I beg to differ.

    I knew as a very young girl that I would breastfeed my babies, even though I’d never witnessed or knew of any mother doing so. I even had a mother who was not that supportive of my decision. I think that is very interesting that like myself, my two younger sisters all had the same desires. It felt as natural to us as being female.

    Personally, I think it is just our culture. I know many years ago breastfeeding was not even encouraged. Somehow we got away from it being the natural thing to do and instead promoted formula (I wouldn’t doubt that the formula companies had their hand in it too). All the while most women in other parts of the world continued to breastfeed just like they had always done for centuries.

    I had three children and breastfed them all. The first two almost 18 months each and the youngest until he turned 3. I know 3 years is a little long but I did it mostly because he was my last baby and he was my ‘velcro’ baby.

    As time went by, I did get more comfortable nursing in public. I was never one to broadcast it and yes if done correctly, most people have to do a double take to know you are actually feeding your child. I do remember with my first child I would excuse myself while at a restaurant to feed him in the bathroom stall (lovely picture isn’t it). The worst thing was, I lived in Arizona and they don’t air condition the bathrooms, so it was even more miserable.

    The biggest challenge for me was when I was on a long flight sitting in the bulkhead part of the plane. I boarded early because I had a child with me and got settled in, only to see three Marines come and take the seats facing me! I can tell you I was quite nervous but nonetheless, I had to nurse my son if it was required. Unlike a bottle, breastfeeding comforts a child even if they are not vigorously sucking, not to mention helping with their ears during take-offs and landings. I simply stretched my knit shirt over him and fumbled under it to rearrange everything. It was a little warm for him, so I directed the air flow to lightly blow down my shirt. I was actually amazed that it worked so well, and everyone was happy! I honestly don’t believe any one of those Marines sitting across from me had any knowledge of what I was doing!!!

    I don’t regret my decisions in any way. I enjoyed feeding my sons (as well as the convenience) and definitely feel that I as well as them, benefited from it.

  113. I think H & M rock most of the time. But you ladies completely lost me when you equated breast feeding with having a bowel movement.

    According to your logic, a baby eating in public is disgusting. Therefore, we should no longer have restaurants or fast food outlets, and for sure no one should buy a pretzel at the mall or have an ice cream cone.

    Too bad. I was really respecting you a lot and now you’ve lost a little of my regard.

  114. This is soooo funny. The post itself and then the flurry of comments. Who needs to watch TV anymore? You ladies are hysterical!!!! Thanks for all you do.

  115. Well, ladies, let’s just agree to disagree.

  116. “I make milk. What’s your superpower?” –as seen on a button.

  117. One of the fallacies being perpetuated in the discussion is that function is the same as symbol. What I mean by this is that seeing a 14 year old GIRL who is marking her sexuality in a public manner (with the visible thong) is NOT equatable with a WOMAN nurturing and feeding her child.

    Anyone who thinks so is equating nursing (semantically, that’s an important concept) with a sexual display.

    A female breast is not inherently sexual; it’s function is not sexual (in terms of reproduction) but it is hyper-sexualized when it is considered offensive in the context of nursing. It is dysfunctional to claim that a nursing breast is sexual.

    Prudish is not even sufficient here. As long as women do not allow other women do inhabit THEIR OWN bodies as they choose, the female body will forever be a commodity, packaged and perfected and CONTROLLED by forces outside of ourselves.

    As long as we are told we should be ashamed of our bodies (that they are dirty and wrong and something to be hidden) women will never fully understand the innumerable ways that we fail to realize ourselves as HUMAN BEINGS, not just human DOINGS.

  118. And another question- why is everyone so appauled to see a 4 year old carrying around a bottle and sucking on it, but then can accept a mother breastfeeding a 4 year old? I took my daughter off the bottle at a year and graduated her to sippy cups. Why shouldn’t a breastfed baby have the same graduation onto being a toddler? I just don’t get the 4 year old on the boob thing. I still think it’s more of the mother’s own issues with not being able to stop then it is the child’s. Your child will take your cues and move on because it’s what they’re supposed to do- ya know, that novel thing called ‘growing up’…

  119. I don’t have kids, but I think women should breastfeed. If possible. But it’s work. As to being offended, since a just saw a picture of Prince William taking a piss in public on another blog, breastfeeding doesn’t phase me. I’m more offended by the ads for pills for erectile dysfunction.

  120. Seeing Eye Chick-
    Your exact comment was “Women should support each other in every aspect of their lives.” and in another comment, you spoke of how women are the worst ones about being against one another in this- so which is it? Because from my own experiences with breast-feeding moms, it was those mother’s who felt the need to cruisify me the most for not breastfeeding my daughter. I’d never tell a mother she was ‘wrong’ for breastfeeding, (even though I do feel that there’s a time in which kids should be stopped because it really isn’t beneficial for them anymore) so why is it ok for them to tell me I am?
    Just because I don’t want to see a bare breast while shopping with my 2 year old doesn’t make me anti-femenist.. it’s simply common courtesy in my opinon to not push your antatomy on me in that way- the same as I don’t like seeing thongs hanging out of jeans or 14 year olds with their clevage all over the place. I commend you for being discreet, but that wasn’t what the OP was talking about. Why get so bent out of shape about it? Granted, that chuck guy wasn’t exactly tactful by any means, and I wouldn’t agree with motherhood needing more sacrafices then it already comes with. Definitely don’t agree with him at all.

    And to Some Guy-
    Seriously- are you the same guy at my husband’s work that accosted him and made HIM feel like shit because -I- couldn’t breastfeed? I mean, seriously- I got it enough from women, the last thing I need is a guy telling me how shitty I am and how my child’s going to turn out to be a retard because I bottle fed her (who, btw is already reading and comprehending at a 1st grade level at 2.5 years old. Damn that formula!) Ever stop to think *genetics* have a hell of a lot more to do with one’s health and mental capabilities then bottle/breast? Give me a break.

  121. I tried posting two links four hours ago, but my comment still has not appeared.

    So, I am trying again, but without the whole urls.

    Donna in Tallahassee wrote about a skit on HBO’s “Little Britain USA: Harvey ‘Bitty’ Pincher”. You can find it on youtube if you copy and paste the portion in quotes into the search bar. It’s too funny.

    I have to post this link, too:

    boingboing.net/2007/01/08/hungry-baby

    Copy and paste the portion above and it will lead you to the proper link.

    I love the opinionated, fierce, funny folks here.

  122. Well I grew up overseas and women breastfed everywhere. Not a big deal I don’t think – it’s natural. What bothers me is that our society likes to attach special status to normal activities. . . if a woman wishes to breastfeed, fine. it you don’t want to be stared out, then do it discreetly. I once attended a symphonic concert where the woman next to me very discreetly breastfed her baby (I was more surprised that she had such a wee one out so late and in such cold weather), I wouldn’t have noticed except for the fact her baby spit up on me as he was being burped. . .which made me laugh. I told her I agreed with the baby’s critique of the concert

  123. I had enjoyed this blog till I just read this. You see my MIL also equated breastfeeding w/ bowel movements. It is a bodily function, yes, but it’s very different from a bowel movement!

    I don’t understand why it’s so acceptable for people to bottle feed but to FEED a baby w/ a breast – what they were made for – is so disgusting to some people.

    I agree on the 4 year old though. Too old to ask for it. However, under 2 is not too old and they can ask for. My daughter could talk before she was two.

    I nursed both of mine till they were around a year old. I felt that was long enough for me but if I see a mother breastfeeding in public I want to congratulate her and say “you go, momma, good for you!”

  124. I had the same experience as Trish (5:48 pm post) 23 years ago…. the “would not latch on” problem….

    Most of the nurses and the LaLeche folks made me feel inadequate as a new mother (at a time when I should have been jubilant).

    I, too, thank the one kindly nurse who assured me that I was not a failure, that formula would be just fine, and that I wasn’t *hurting* my son by choosing it.

    BTW, the same nurse discreetly gave me a breast pump the morning I was leaving the hospital. That worked for me, and I was able to provide my child with beneficial breast-milk to supplement the formula. But I refused to speak to another LaLeche member ever again. (I don’t know what they’re like now, so I make no judgment on the LLL today.)

  125. You’d do better insulting the Taliban to their face then messing with militant breast feeders. I BF’d both of mine but really don’t see it as some accomplishment.
    Breastfeeding is for suckers ! or Breastfeeders suck? Pick your poison.

  126. My friend is breastfeeding her infant now, and when we’re at her house and her daughteer needs to be fed, she turns her back to me and others and does things discreetly. Out in public, she excuses herself and goes to the lounge for a bit, not because she’s embarrassed about feeding her child, but because here in Japan, it might be considered impolite and a little embarrassing to simply lift her top and let her child feed in front of everyone.

    As in all things, there is a balance. There are also cultural differences to consider. Some cultures feel a child, if so desired, can be weaned as late as six years old. Different strokes for different folks.

    Personally, what disturbs me more than the breast feeding issue is the fact that I, a 36-year-old woman who is single and childless by choice, cannot get my insurance company to cover the Essure procedure (which blocks your tubes rather than cutting or cauterizing them). They will, however, cover everything involved in an “oops” pregnancy up to and including care for the child until it is 18. In my mind, the coverage for having an unwanted child is FAR more expensive than the coverage to prevent childbirth. So what’s the excuse? Why am I not allowed to decide for myself that I really do not, in fact, want to have children EVER? Men at any age, or so I’m told, can choose to have a vasectomy with no questions asked and no impudent second-guessing of their motives and thought processes. Why are many women denied the same consideration?

    Don’t get me wrong. I love children. I just don’t want to have one.

  127. Another thought:
    Stay at home Moms can afford to waste bottles full of breastmilk for errands. Those of us who have to work outside of the home really need to save every pumped ounce for the hours we are not with our babes.

  128. Oh, ladies. I sure hope neither of you go to the mall, cause you’re going to see a lot more exposed breast on the teenagers there then you will from most breastfeeding mothers.

    In your day women may have went to another room to feed a baby, but if I just sat at home or went to Nordstroms (or other stores that have private nursing rooms) we’d have no groceries, my older child would have to stay at school until my husband got off work and I’d never see anyone outside my home. Not really an option.

    Many mothers nurse their babes in public and no one even knows. I’ve had people come to “peek” at my baby’s sleeping face and be surprised to find that he was eating because they couldn’t tell until they were just a few inches away. You don’t have to be topless to nurse effectively.

    This type of attitude is probably the reason that the US has such low breastfeeding rates despite the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization’s reccomendations that infants be breastfed for at LEAST one year.

  129. Oh my! I just discovered your blog and already I love you! I never could b-feed my girls due to health whatevers, but my older did b-feed my beautiful grandson but did so discreetly keeping private what ought to be private. Gee, I don’t have my breakfast out in the middle of the street do I?

  130. Chuck and people like chuck can kiss my ass.

    I am a free woman. I am discreet. But I cannot tell you how it saddens me to see this most insideous form of Sexism.

    Against the most devalued kind of woman. The Mother. The woman with child. When we are done infantalizing her through the child birth process we make sure and isolate her from society, ostracize her, criticize her and offer her no support.
    And we all pretend to act surprised about the rates of Post Pardum Depression and Post Pardum Psychosis.

    Yep, Ass kissing time folks.

    You disgust me.

  131. While nursing a newborn, the baby gets fed on demand. I was taking grad classes and nursing a newborn–awkward at first, but then I realized I was more concerned about offending than anyone cared. When she started making happy noises while nursing is when I started pumping a bottle for public.

    My first I nursed until age 5. After she was 2, it was only at “cuddle time” and in private and only for comfort. The health benefits were fantastic. Now she is 14 and has only this year had her first cold/flu in her life. Besides, we are very close and have a fantastic relationship.

    Teeth only hurt once. If the reaction is one of scaring the child into not doing it again, it will not happen. If the reaction is one of laughter…might as well stop right away and get pumping–you are doomed!

  132. You two continue to tickle my funny bone! I agree fully. I am a mother of two boys, my husband is a pediatrician, and I chose not to breast feed. As with other issues, it was my choice. And, guess what? My kids were (and still are) just as healthy as all the kids who were breast fed. Imagine that!

    As far as breast feeding while exposed in public and breast feeding after a kid is old enough to ask for it, just say no!

  133. I’m sure your post is not what the writer from La Leche had in mind, but you made me laugh so hard I just spit Coke all over my computer! I disagree with you about breastfeeding in your mothers home because, come on, that’s not a public place.

    But this business of allowing children to breastfeed when they’re old enough to eat peanut butter & jelly is (in my opinion) a twisted form of child abuse. Just because a child asks (or in this case demands) something doesn’t mean they should get it. And when a four year old asks to breast feed he/she should be asked, “Are you hungry sweetie? Do you want mommy to fix you something to eat?” Giving in is the first in a series of steps toward creating another one these complete self-absorbed monsters you see in the grocery store every week.

  134. I think women should be able to breastfeed where ever they are for any number of reasons but it is definitely within reason to expect them to have a blanket to cover with.
    As far as four-year-old’s breast feeding goes.. That’s just ridiculous. That kid may well remember that when he’s older and feel like an idiot.

  135. After the comment from Margaret about breastfeeding being a natural bodily function but so is a bowel movement (I’m not quite in agreement that these two bodily functions should be equated! :) ), I just had to add a little input on a subject close to one of those two bodily functions, involving a mother and her baby.

    Some years ago when my husband and I went to Disneyland, we went into a nearby restaurant just off the Disneyland campus for dinner. We were seated just behind a young couple with two children, a toddler and an infant.

    After my husband and I had placed our order, I detected a strange odor in our area of the restaurant. After a few seconds when the odor became stronger, I turned my head, and in the booth behind me the young mother had lain her infant down in the booth seat and had just stripped off the soiled diaper. She left the diaper on the booth seat while she put a clean one on the baby.

    All this took about a minute, long enough for me to be nauseated by the smell but not long enough for the wait staff to notice, I guess — because no one stopped this fool from fouling the air in the restaurant instead of taking her baby to the restroom!

    The woman’s husband was oblivious, because he’d had left with the older child to presumably go to the cashier to pay for their meal.

    I was almost — but not quite — disgusted enough to leave the restaurant without waiting for our meal, but I made sure the wait staff knew I was incensed about their own ignorance about what was going on. I suggested they get someone to swab down that booth table and seat pretty thoroughly before they seated another family there…

    There was no excuse for this woman’s behavior. I would have said something to the woman myself, but she was packed and gone by the time I felt like I could talk without retching.

  136. Damn it seems like some people forgot to put on the big boy and girl underwear on today! LOL….To the people taking offense to this subject..CALM DOWN…Its simply H&M’s opinion, you do not have to agree with them, and Im sure they were not intending to offend anyone…Take it for what it is….AN OPINION…

    As for me, I breastfed, didnt do it in public never had to I always made a breastmilk bottle, BUT to those women that feel comfortable whipping your tits out to feed your lil one in public, YOU GO GIRL!

    Once again dont take H&M’s opinion personal, its not that serious.

  137. At last….a divisive issue!

    At one time, I too, was uncomfortable seeing babies breastfed in public. But then I grew up. And spent some time in a third-world country where seeing a baby or a toddler breastfed in public meant that this child wasn’t going to starve to death.

    If you’re uncomfortable watching a baby being breastfed, maybe you should ask yourself why. Discomfort really has sooooo much more to do with your own notions of what is and is not “proper” than it has to do with what is really at issue here, namely the health of children.

    Like it or not, those children will be the people working to pay for our medicare and social security, and I would prefer them to be as healthy and intelligent as possible. An abundance of research tells us that breastfed babies have a decided advantage in both arenas.

    So all you breastfeeding mothers, feed on! I don’t care what you show in public or how long you breastfeed. You are providing nutrition to your children, and it if needs to be done in the middle of Wal-Mart, then do it right there and then. You are doing your part to create the next generation of Americans who will be healthy and smart. Think of it as a patriotic act.

    Both America and the world have so many more important issues to be worried about that I find it hard to believe that people would even concern themselves with what the “rules” should be for someone else breastfeeding a child in public.

  138. Back in the 70’s I was able to breastfeed my oldest son in public if need be, and did so in a discreet enough manner, that it was not obvious at all, what was going on. LOL, a whole lot more of “me” was visib;e in my bikinis before I was a Mom!

    2 years later, with twins, I simply could not “be discreet” when it was time to nurse, as I had found a comfortable way to feed both babies at the same time. So, with them, I just had to be organized, and in tune….or be sure we were in a place where I could slip away for privacy to feed.

    I loved nursing my babies, and never even considered bottles….too much work and extra expense!

  139. WOW…you guys really opened up a can of worms! In the world of discussion, I guess that’s a good thing! Whatever! It worked!

  140. The “Hooters” post will certainly be one to remember….You go, Ladies!!!! (what next??)

  141. “Some Guy” is obviously a great guy.
    :)

  142. When I had my son 11 years ago, he wouldn’t latch on. Each nurse kept shoving him on my boob. He didn’t want it. This went on 36 exhausting hours in the hospital. I was made to feel like a failure because I couldn’t get the hang of breastfeeding. I know some on here say formula is pushed – my experience is they push breastfeeding. Bless the kind nurse who finally told me it was okay to give him formula, it didn’t make me a bad mom. Moms who breastfeed have my respect – I know how hard it is, since I tried and couldn’t do it! However, I disagree with doing it openly in public. That’s all.

  143. “Some Guy” at 2:46 said exactly all the right things, in my opinion.

    This subject is so interesting because it is so not political. People from either side of the aisle will either agree or disagree with your opinion. Religious people, science people, people who don’t have kids of their own and kids who wish their parents had done something different will disagree. It doesn’t matter because nobody seems to have a “side” that is consistant with their other views in life.

    On the other hand, isn’t all the religious arguing about the same thing? What is “natural” for the human body is always a great debate. Are we “animals” (evolution) or are we “divine” (creation)? Is being human natural or blessed?

    I heard a preacher say what is good for the soul is not necessarily good for the body (he was talking about sex). Then he said God gave us our hands so we could build things, rise out of our comfy chairs and get to work. Later he said to follow your heart, but also not to listen to the voice of temptation. We seem to want to tell each other how to live because we, ourselves, can’t seem to understand what is right or wrong, so we feel a need to tell others. Why?

    The only thing that is clear to me is that when it comes to the human body, mind and soul we are still learning what is best. So if a Mom is daring enough to try something we are uncomfortable with, shouldn’t we admire her courage instead of shaming her for our own insecurities?

    Be bold, but be courtious of those who boldy disagree with you as well.

    ~A Dad still in Dallas

  144. I breastfed all 3 of my kids (now 9,6 & 3) for about a year each. All 3 totally weaned themselves off around a year naturally because they were eating more solid foods by that time. In my opinion beyond that they are doing it for a comfort source, not a nutritional source, much like a pacifier. There is no need to do it beyond that point.

    I was able to breastfeed for a year with all 3 without ever once breastfeeding them in public and I wasn’t trapped at home either. I simply organized myself and planned ahead so that I could have a pumped bottle along with me.

    I absolutely advocate breastfeeding for up to a year but there is no need to show it off for every stranger in public. Same as public displays of affection (straight & gay), thongs sticking out, boys underwear hanging out from their droopy pants, too much cleavage etc. All inappropriate in a public setting. I don’t personally have a problem with a woman covering herself with a blanket and feeding. I personally was not coordinated enough to do this but I don’t mind it if I see that. I am put off by a bare breast in public. There is just no reason for that except for shock value or to push values onto others.

    So again Helen and Margaret you are spot on!

  145. oops .. ‘breasts’ …where’s my proofreader!

  146. Mara, I’m sorry… but what do you think your breast are for?

    Your argument on this subject makes no sense and is not rational. You are drinking fluids from another animal that was meant for it’s own offspring – if anything, that’s disgusting.

    If you don’t want to breast feed, fine…. but your rational is that breast feeding your own child is gross because it’s a bodily fluid???

    Why do you think that ‘bodily fluid’ is created…. because a woman has just had a child and is nursing that child. It’s not like we produce breast milk throughout our life like tears or spit to name a few nicer ones.

    Our bodies are designed to feed our young, you don’t want to, so be it, but don’t say the mothers that do breast feed are doing something gross.

  147. I can’t recall where I saw it, but there is a youtube video where this woman is still breastfeeding her 8 YEAR OLD and believes that her children will decide when they are ready to be done breastfeeding. Here it is:

    I just think it’s disturbing. If the child is old enough to ask for it or old enough to walk to the fridge for a bottle of milk, I believe they are done breastfeeding…but that’s just me.

    I also think, more power to you if you can breast feed. It’s just not something I felt I could do…but that’s just me.

    I do believe though, that if you choose to breastfeed in public, you should be discreet, cover up. If you don’t cover up, then you have no right to complain about people starring at you. They are starring because they are in shock and disbelief that your breast is on view for all to see.

    http://lolasdiner.blogspot.com/

  148. Totally agree with you both and I PRIVATELY breastfed my 2 sons when babies.(1970’s) My DIL did it privately too now. (2008) and weaned our youngest grand when teeth started to grow in. Nothing to hide, just no need to see some parts of other’s private human anatomy exposed in public places.

    Thanks to both of you for bringing a breath of fresh air into many lives including mine!

  149. As a guy, I wouldn’t dare to have an opinion about this on this site. But say what you will Margaret and Helen sure know how to keep the party going. This posted only a few hours ago and already nearing 150 comments. You just don’t see numbers like that outside of the commerical blogs linked to news outlets and such. You ladies rock.

  150. Love ya, Margaret and Helen!

    A friend of ours married a somewhat looney lady who became one of those obsessed “helicopter mothers” and who breastfed her son until he was about three years old. Without any concern for who might be looking, including on several occasions some nice old men who were caught by surprise and may have been at risk of cardiac problems from the shock. If anyone dared suggest that looney lady cover herself or use a more private place nearby, she went on a tirade.

    That kid of theirs began to give me the creeps not long after he began walking. Six months after the son entered first grade, the school informed the parents that he had all the symptoms of a psychopath.

    Maybe that is just a coincidence.

  151. Spot on.

    Not long ago a blog I read was about how this woman who wanted another baby was having trouble conceiving .. then she mentioned her now 3 yr old was still breastfeeding … HELLO ….

    If you want to breastfeed .. more power to you .. but not in public and surely not a ‘baby’ who is on pre school

  152. I breastfed all three of my children–the first until age 3, the second until age 2 and the third until age 4. They are now 38, 35, and 32 and the oldest and youngest have babies of their own. I had the luxury of not being a mom who was employed outside the home. Working and finding an opportunity to pump during the day is no fun. The interesting thing is that the youngest, who breastfed the longest, does not remember that. Of course, we are not talking exclusive breastfeeding here. Most recommendatiions then and now are breastfeed for the first six months. That’s what I did. I think our culture is way too uptight. In Europe women swim without tops on their bathing suits and no one thinks anything of it. It someone did that here is the good ‘ol US of A people, probably you two, would be scandalized, but that is a cultural thing. Stick to the politics.

  153. Totally agree with you on this one.
    Although you opened up a can of worms.
    You don’t have to take your kids with you everywhere you go. Keep them at home with their father once in a while.
    These are the same woman who think they have a right to drag their kids along where ever they go. Some places are not appropriate for breast feeding just as there are some places are not appropriate for your children. (gasp)
    Have a little common sense.
    I don’t want to hear you baby screaming. Been there, done that.
    Sorry, but you are going to be inconvienced once in a while. That’s life. Having a baby changes your life. You cannot and should not continue in your old way of life.
    I breast fed my kids, but it was me who wasn’t comfortable popping out the boob everywhere. Have a little dignity.
    Feeding my children was something that I enjoyed. But not at an art fair. (I saw that last week, they couldn’t wait to pop out the boob. It was like a badge to show how cool they were)
    The woman who think nothing of doing this are the woman we raised. Sadly, my generation raised their kids to think the world revolves around them and they can do anything they want where ever they want. Just because you can, doesn’t always mean you should.
    You choose to have the kid. Sorry if your going to be a little inconvienced.
    As for the kid asking for milk. That’s crazy. If a kids can tell you he’s thirsty, give him a cup. If he tells you he has a dirty diaper, it’s time to put him on the toilet.
    Common sense people. I’m not sayng you can not breat feed your kid in public, just have a little dignity.

  154. Well, this response is the ga-thousandth, so will likely not be read, but I want to put in a word of support for the Mothers – all of them.

    First: as a man I can’t give a “thumbs up” for looking, and if I just look away I am supposedly saying with non-verbal cues that I disagree with your exposed breast. I am stuck with either a label as a pervert or a non-sympathizer. I am neither, and supported my wife through 2.5 years of breast feeding our now 10 year old son.

    So I only take offense at those Mothers that feel I am some how not approving because I am polite enough to feel embarassed for not knowing how to say “way to go” in a way that would not make anyone more uncomfortable.

    How long to do it? That is up to the family, not me, or you, or the Dr. Just the family (unless there are health issues, but that is rare), that’s it!

    Love your blog, and respectfully disagree with today’s premise.

    A Dad in Dallas

  155. Well said both of you! I breast fed my two children back in the day but I did so with a blanket to cover me or in a private place. It’s one thing to have my breasts hanging out at home and quite another to do it in public. The bowel movement analogy was right on!

  156. My aunt, sadly no longer with us, breast fed my two cousins. One day we were at a restaurant in a large-ish New York state location, and my lovely aunt started to feed my younger cousin. We had asked for an out of the way table. She turned her back to the room and opened the top three buttons of her blouse. A man seated a couple of tables away with his wife? girlfriend? craned his neck for the next 5 minutes trying to see, and then asked the waitress to make her stop because it was ‘disgusting’. The woman he was with was showing FAR more acreage than my aunt (braless as well). The waitress, not knowing what to do called the manager. By this time, we had decided that we would go, to avoid a further scene, thus the manager and waitress were spared actually asking us to leave.

    How much more ‘discretion’ was my aunt expected to exercise?

  157. I dated a guy once whose mom was one of the founding members of the area’s La Leche League. She was totally militant about it, and it made me VERY uncomfortable. On one of the first occasions when we met, she told me that I had “good birthing hips” and “nicely shaped breasts, so little hands can get a good grasp”. It scarred me.

    While I support other women’s rights to do it, I have no intention of every breastfeeding. And I resent anyone who tells me that I’m not a “real women/mother” because of it.

    Stay away from my breasts!

  158. P.S. Some Guy, you are my hero. Very well said.

  159. Gilletta: Everybody needs to just ignore Don and Duke. THey just come here each day hoping to siphen off some readers to their lesser blogs. Shameless self promotion.

    You need to develop a sense of humor. I drop by every now and then to see what is happening, and I could care less if you came to my site. If you see my comment just skip it, no big thang.

    DS

  160. Mara, you said you were squicked out by the idea of someone eating/drinking body fluids right next to you. So I simply pointed out that most people do that every day.

    As well we should. We’re omnivores, built to eat just about everything. We are also mammals. Nature intends us to drink the milk of our mothers when we are young. (Not the milk of other species, unless mother’s milk isn’t available.)

    To suggest that my statement can be extended to condone cannibalism is logically and scientifically ridiculous.

  161. Love you ladies, you crack me up. I wasn’t able to breastfeed my oldest (22) but was able to breastfeed my youngest (20). I really wanted to BF the oldest because of my allergies. They really say that BF can really help with food allergies.

    At any rate, I always BF in private (unless at home or around immediate family members – still under a blanket, etc.). I have nothing against mothers who BF in public but for me I just felt much more comfortable in private. No, I am not ashamed of boobies or terrified of them. I just think that it makes people uncomfortable. However, for those of you who don’t care then more power to ya!

    As far as when you should stop? All I can say is that once my son started eating more food he was far more interested in running around playing than BF. It does creep me out that people BF past 2 years even though I know in different cultures it is completely acceptable for much longer than two years old.

  162. ok so granted I a not the most qualified to comment on the issue since I do not have any kids but…..
    I think its only proper to do whatever you can to be discreet about breastfeeding. There are certain situations in which it is inopportune to breastfeed, but theres a huge difference between whipping out the breast for the world to see and being discreet. Common courtesy would tell a mother that if it is an inopportune time to breastfeed that the mother should at least go sit in a corner or turn away from the general public the best that she can.
    Also mothers should do whatever they can to make sure that breastfeeding is a quick process at these awkward times. I have a friend who’s 6month old son will just chew on her breast for ages without eating if she will let him. She doesn’t let him chew on her breast when they are out in public but she lets it go sometimes when they are at home.
    This is an interesting twist to the blog. I think that your best work is done when you do your political blogs or even the one blog on the View.

    What about the auto industry bailout? The Obama cabinet members? the fact that “the bitch” has done more interviews since the election has been over than what she did when she was a VP candidate? (I loved you calling Sarah Palin a bitch it was a hoot) Cheney indictment?

    I have an idea for a January blog. I think you should do a special Margaret and Helen style tribute to Bush…. A thank god hes gone tribute! A tribute to all of the idiotic things he has done these past 8 years! A straight up Bushism tribute for all of the comedy material he has provided Will Farrell on SNL and other comedians.

    Let me leave with a Frank Caliendo clip

    http://www.boreme.com/boreme/funny-2006/bush-impersonator-p1.php

    Cheers!

  163. Mara, you sound like breast milk is something other than food for babies. How odd. Cows milk is food for calves. Evolution (or God) didn’t make cows milk for human babies. So why do you drink it? Ewwwww gross.

    I am not serious. I drink milk, I eat cheese and butter. I just can’t figure you out.

    What happened in your childhood?
    :-D

  164. I’m kind of torn on the issue. When a nursing mother is a guest in a private home, I think she should look to the host for guidance regarding what is appropriate. In most private homes, there are places a mother can go to comfortably nurse her children.

    In public is a different story. In your day it wasn’t done in public; however, in your day ladies’ restrooms were usually equipped with a “lounge” area with chairs or benches. This is no longer true. While I don’t really care to see public breastfeeding, I much prefer it to seeing a nursing mother relegated to a stall in a public bathroom. Most of them are nasty these days, and my discomfort is secondary to providing sanitary conditions in which an infant is to be fed.

  165. As an afterthought — people who are really grossed out by the thought of breast milk — (BODILY FLUIDS EEK!!)

    My husband says breast milk is delicious.

  166. Tine – I knew my comments wouldn’t be popular, and that’s fine.

    Yes, I DO eat cheese, and drink milk, and eat honey…so? These don’t come from HUMAN BODY fluids.

    To turn your argument around…do you expect that the kid will eat human flesh when it grows up? Why not? It’s all flesh…and it’s already consuming its MOTHERS fluids…

  167. I have to respectfully disagree with you ladies on this also. I breastfed my two children for 1 year and 18 months respectively. I was able to this in public without offending anyone. 99% of the time no one had a clue what I was doing. I now have an amazingly healthy and bright 11 year old and 4 year old. I’m not giving breast feeding full credit for how intelligent they are, but I have to give credit for how healthy they are where it belongs. Neither of them have been on antibiotics more than a handful of times and normally can kick a cold in a matter of a day or two. I do not agree that breast-feeding is the same as taking a dump in public and I would never dream of nursing my child in a bathroom and sooner than I would expect you to eat your sandwich while seated on the “throne”.

    I’m on the fence about the 4 year old, while I’m not comfortable with the thought of my child still nursing at that age, I do know that in many less sexually repressed countries (our neighbors to the north included) it is considered completely natural.

    I agree with the others here who said if you don’t want to see a woman breastfeeding in public, just don’t look.

    And that is all I have to say on this particular matter.

    Keep doing what you do ladies, even though we may not always agree, I do so enjoy reading your comments!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  168. To all of you who are grossed out, think women should be discrete, that you have a right not to see that… get over yourselves. You don’t have to look. It doesn’t stink, it isn’t noisy, it isn’t even messy. Whatever issues you have are entirely inside your own head.

    My wife nurses our daughter, and let me tell you what I’ve observed. Nursing is WORK. Sometimes it hurts, it takes up a lot of your time, it is often inconvenient. Some women have health issues that complicate the process. Sometimes its HOT or your baby just doesn’t want to be covered up. In short, the nursing mom you’re seeing is probably tired/frustrated/hurried and just wants to get this thing DONE. She has her own problems to worry about. So look away and move on, people.

    And for everyone who wants to believe that bottle feeding is just as good… sorry to say you’re deluding yourselves. I was mostly bottle fed, and it saddens me to this day. I don’t blame my Mom. Like I just said, it’s hard work, and back then people had been misled by formula makers. Bottle feeding shaves off some IQ points, and probably makes it more likely you’ll have other health problems later, plus there’s something almost magical about the bond that forms from nursing. Yes, they will probably grow up “normal” on a bottle but that’s not the same as reaching your full potential. I mean, this process has been going on for millions of years. We’re kidding ourselves if we think we know better than nature on this.

    As for La Leche League being militant… oh gawd, if Le Leche League is militant then so is Walt Disney. You’d be hard pressed to find an advocacy organization so non-confrontational and pragmatic as LLL. Jeez.

    Lastly, how long should breast feeding go on? At least two years is best, but after that, for as long as mother and child find it beneficial. Could be three, or four, or even five. Get over it. Whatever bad thing you think is going to happen probably says more about your own hangups than any kind of real problem with breastfeeding itself.

    One thing about kids and their needs: needs that are met go away. If a kid is loved and gets the nurturing and attention they need, they will develop and move on. Weaning is something that happens on its own. I can see it happening in our daughter now, who’s three. Her mom has been there for her so that now she feels secure in the world, and you can see this fierce streak of independence blossoming. It’s a beautiful thing.

  169. Donna from Tallahassee: that skit was a RIOT!

    For anyone who wants to see it:

    (If the link isn’t functional, the title to search on youtube is: Little Britain USA: Harvey “Bitty” Pincher.)

    I can’t help it; I have to post this link, too:

    http://www.boingboing.net/2007/01/08/hungry-baby-suckles-.html.

    Not to worry, it’s G-rated (and hysterical).

    I love the opinionated, fierce, funny folks here.

  170. Everybody needs to just ignore Don and Duke. THey just come here each day hoping to siphen off some readers to their lesser blogs. Shameless self promotion. Guys, it didn’t bother me until today but on this subject you best be guiet.

  171. Hooters out vs hooters covered – no gut-wrenching reaction, either way. That having been said, nobody’s mentioned the breast pump & bottle option for emergencies. Seems like a plan, if you think you’ll end up somewhere with no good place to drop blouse.

  172. I didn’t read all the responses, so sorry if I am repeating things already mentioned many times…

    I breast fed 4 boys, each longer in duration than the last. As most others have said, I didn’t hang it out there for all to see, like a exhibitionist, but I surely was not going to go hide in some lonely room either, like I was doing something disgusting. Many many times people didn’t even know I was breastfeeding.

    People commented that they rarely heard my babies cry. My husband said that was because if they fussed “she just plugs them in” and they are happy.

    Would you rather sit in a room with a breastfeeding woman or a crying baby?

    I wouldn’t be afraid to bet that a total of all the times I was in a public place or a gathering of more than immediate family, over the coarse of 4 babies nursing, that no one saw any more of my breast than they can see on most any network TV show any night of the week.

    To think a breast feeding Mom needs to get out of public view, when (let’s say) the waitress in the restaurant’s boobs are ready to fall out of her low cut top, is sort of ass-backwards isn’t it?

    My oldest nursed until he was two and a half. That was just when I rocked him to sleep for nap and bedtime. I would appreciate it if some of you not picture my 26 year old, 6 foot, black bearded, bow-hunting, rustic camping, truck engine swapping, foundry worker…as a Momma’s boy.

    You know, I had 4 sons and not a one of them had the overbite baby teeth, from sucking a hard plastic pacifier. Hey, is there any connection between the perfectly acceptable pacifier and all the metal mouth pre-teens these days? (Or is that just orthodontist conspiracy?)

    Yahoo, we will have the anal-retentive career women against the earth mothers, now. See what you did Helen?!

  173. Mara, do you drink milk? Eat cheese? How about ice cream? Butter? Cow body fluids, my dear.

    Like honey? Mmmm, bee spit.

    And a baby drinking the milk of his/her OWN MOTHER grosses you out? It would be better for the baby to drink a cow’s bodily fluids?

    That’s crazy talk.

  174. I know this is going to be unpopular, but the whole breastfeeding thing just grosses me out! ewww.

    Knowing that somebody is injesting someone elses bodily fluids RIGHT NEXT TO YOU….yuk! I don’t want to see it, to hear it, to even THINK about it.

    Yes, I know, I know – it’s “natural” and it’s “good for the kid” but still…it’s BODILY FLUID the kid is sucking out of you!

    …ewwww

  175. Go Don, go!

    Heck, every time I see a woman breast feeding in public, I just keep thinking, look at that lucky kid, look at that lucky kid!

    http://thedailyduke.com

    Duke

  176. I have no problems with breastfeeding, in public or not. If you want or need to do it, that’s cool if you can just be discreet. I’m not against seeing a naked breast (it’s just another body part, after all) but you don’t have to make a scene out of whipping our your girls in public either.

    Sidenote: as a mom who could NOT breastfeed, I absolutely despise the LLL. They are just a bunch of militant nazis as far as I’m concerned, no better or worse than other ultra-extremist groups like PETA. I had to bottle feed my daughter and the LLL rep at the hospital made me feel like a horrible person and a bad mother. I was already going through a lot, and did NOT need any of the grief and guilt she and her colleagues gave me! And you know what? My daughter turned out perfectly fine. She didn’t even catch so much as a sniffle until she was almost 18 months old. Now, she’s a perfectly normal, healthy, intelligent 7 year old girl, and would have been that regardless of whether she was BF’ed or given formula. Screw the LLL – breast feeding is fine if you can do it, but if you can’t, formula is fine too. And how dare anyone try to make a mom into a bad person for not BFing? That’s insane!

  177. And here I was feeling bad about wanting to do it in private. It’s nice to know someone else agrees with me.

  178. Holy shit! For two ladies who can without trouble call someone a bitch (rightly so, by the way) and the president a jackass, you sound like a couple of darn prudes here.
    What’s wrong with a bare breast that feeds a baby? I think it’s a beautiful sight and I applaud the US ladies who finally got that far. In Europe breast-feeding in public has been quite normal for a hell of a long time.
    What’s with you two? Old age catching up? Fèh!

  179. I asked my mom (82) did you ever breast feed me when I was a child. Her reply was “Why No! Why do you ask?” so then I told her about my miserable life and how things were simply not working out for me and that I just could not cope with matters and I asked her, “did anything traumatic happen to you when you were pregnant with me mom?”

    She thought about it for a moment and said, “One time, I remember now, one time while walking across the room with a big stack of 33 records, I tripped and dropped a bunch of them.”

    “But that shouldn’t have affected you, affected you,affected you, ….”

    Which brings me to this …. If you are right handed, which one do you choose?

    hahahahahahahahaha …. Oh, I think I just hurt myself!

    Your favorite girls are in the news …. Barbara and Rosie are feuding again and they are giving her ANOTHER TV SHOW on NBC.

    Groan.

    DS

  180. I have two young children. The first I didn’t breastfeed because he wouldn’t take it, at all, (I wanted to) I got so frustrated and upset because the health nurse kept telling me do not bottle feed. My son lost a pound and a half in a week before the doctor said to ignore the health nurse and give him a bottle. It was insane.
    My second I breastfed for six months.
    I think that women should have the right to feed their child either through breastfeeding or through bottlefeeding. I get so mad when women tell other women that they should do either one or the other. My mother inlaw kept openly belittling me because I didn’t breastfeed my son, when I had no choice, and because I chose to wean my daughter at six months she got on my case again.
    It also gets me when women are persecuted for showing a little upper body skin when men can walk around all day with their bellies and pecks hanging out (not that I would ever want to walk around with my top off, but that is my own choice). Women should be able to make their own decisions on how they want to dress just like men have their own choice. Equality people!

  181. Since I’m almost as old as you two, I completely agree. Maybe public opinion will gradually change and make our “Victorian sensibilities” obsolete someday.

  182. The comments by Left-Eyed Jack convince me that there is an age limit for breast feeding. By the time a child is too old for a bottle (1-2 years), they are too old for the breast, in most cases. Special needs children may need breast milk longer, but healthy kids should be getting most of their nutrition from solid food by the time they are 2-3.

    Other than that, breastfeeding in public is ok. If a quiet place is available, I think it is better for both baby and mom for the calm environment. Quiet doesn’t mean secretive or a toilet stall. I see more cleavage on family oriented tv than many nursing mothers show. If someone sees a bit more breast than they usually see, tough. Get over it and stop making it dirty. I’d rather see a mother breastfeed in public that listen to a baby cry because they are hungry.

    One of my pet peeves is seeing a pacifier in an older kids mouth. Those are another thing that should be given up by the time the child is 2 or so. If they still need it at bedtime for longer, ok, but seeing a 4 year old (my niece) with a plug in her face is disgusting. She takes it out to carry on a conversation, then puts it back.

  183. Oh and one more thing. Helen did say the emails about this kept coming. Sounds like a LL member got pushy and Helen decided to let it out…

  184. Does anyone else think that maybe Helen and Margaret were going for a laugh on this one to lighten things up? We did tell them they could write about anything and we’d come read it. I wonder what will follow this?

    My vote: breastfeeding in public is no big deal. THe issue is yours and not the mother and childs. A 4 year old kind of pushes it to the limit for me. Fine for you maybe but I wouldn’t want to quilt next to that either.

  185. For those of us that truly tried to breastfeed, but just couldn’t do it because of one reason or another, we should not feel bad. Those BREASTFEEDING NAZIS at La Leche League will have you condemned to the point that you question yourself on whether or not you should even be a mother. Yes, breast milk is important for a newborn to have, but the child is not going to die without it. I don’t mind seeing women breastfeed in public, just keep it covered. I totally agree w/ Helen about the age issue. Keep it up ladies, I thoroughly enjoy the blog!

  186. Breast feeding is the way to go for health reasons, but it should be done with discretion. About a year ago, a local paper ran a story about a woman who sat down in the aisle of an iParty and began to breast feed right there, with people stepping over here. Where’s the common sense in that? I agree with both of you, Margaret and Helen. Rock on!

  187. I breastfed my daughter but definately called the LeLeche group “nipple nazi’s.”

  188. Wow. Who would have thougth this was such a hot topic. Just goes to show you that even at 82 M&H are plugged in. While I am not surprised that at ther age modesty rules out, I will agree with Helen that times have changes and breastfeeding has come out of the closet and into the public. No big deal to me. Keep on writing ladies. You seem to know how to get a good conversation going. Can someone post a link to La Leche so that other can read more about it. I don’t know how to post links like that.

  189. I think what Margaret was saying, in her own special way, is that most bodily functions are private matters. That being said…Hold on to your hats ladies, you two are in for a bumpy ride on this one!! :-)

  190. I don’t have a problem with a Mom breastfeeding in public if she is adequately covered up. However, I do think it is kind of weird if a Mom is breastfeeding a child that is older than let’s say three years old.

    But the biggest problem I have is with others that find it offensive when a Mom discretely breastfeeds her child. It’s crazy to expect a Mom to breastfeed her baby in the restroom. Most restrooms are disgusting.

    One time we were waiting for a table when another customer started huffing and complaining about the Mom sitting next to us breastfeeding her child. The Mom was completely covered up and she looked so miserable being berated by this woman. Finally, this woman said to everyone that could hear “I am so sorry that you all have to witness this disgusting behavior.” My wife immediately responded “Yes, you should be sorry now just shut up.” The other woman was infuriated but shut up.

    Regards,
    Philip

  191. Yes, I’ve always maintained, if the kid can walk up to the boob, it’s time to cut ‘em off!

  192. MilleyB, I have nursed my children up through age 3, and two of them are now 8 and 5 (I also have a 2 year old who is still nursing). They are well adjusted and as independent as their same age peers, there are no negative residual effects from receiving comfort at their mother’s breast.

    The controlling mother you speak of would likely have been controlling even is she never breastfed, they are not one and the same.

  193. H & M, in the words of my 7-year-old, you definitely rock.

  194. Oh for goodness sakes! It’s a baby eating, it is NOTHING like going poop (unless you eat poop, and then you have other issues).

  195. Helen: You love a good shit-storm!

    LET’S GET BACK TO THE FOUR-YEAR-OLD, people:
    Can you imagine the poor woman that this child will marry someday?

    I have one LL friend who nursed — and slept every night — with her two boys until age 3. They are now 13 and 15 and seem to not be able to do anything for themselves without mom controlling or approving their every move. To me it’s a disservice to the kid — for those of you who disagree, please look up the term, “point of diminishing returns.”

    LL is good at helping people learn the right way to do something good for your kid. But there is a culture of pressure and superiority. Anyone who’s had a baby in the last ten years has been pressured or swayed one way or the other.

    P.S. to Helen: Be a good sport and buy the 4 year old a sippy cup for Christmas.

  196. I love your posts even more now that the election was over. You are so practical and I thought it was just me and I wasn’t with it. But I totally agree with the breast feeding in public and the age limit on how old a child should be. Doctors frown on a child getting a bottle after one year old so why should they breast feed. If you want your child to have breast milk, pump and put it in a cup.

  197. One more thing…

    RE: Chuck on November 21, 2008 at 10:52 am…”We don’t want to watch you breast feed….There is ALWAYS someplace private you can go to feed your child. You just don’t want to have to be inconvenienced so you think the world should adapt around you.”…

    (and all others of that mind-set)…

    I’m sorry, this just doesn’t fly. I don’t want to see YOU EAT in public! With your mouth open or closed, mouth-breathing-greasy-face-wiping-smacking-lip-finger-licking-at-the-mall-food-court-or-elsewhere! How’s that!

    Not to mention many other grossness that we all have to deal with DAILY everywhere:
    – gum-chewing (bleah! mega-gross!)
    – hairy-greasy-chest at the lake in summer
    – anything to do with phlegm/snot including blowing your nose, “hacking up a lung” into a hanky

    By comparison, a quiet content baby/toddler and a partially-exposed breast is a breeze. More, it’s a beautiful breeze of fresh air.

  198. ‘Mornin’ Gramma Helen!

    While I do love the way you put things, and you still made me laugh, as usual, there is a lot I could say here about this that may not exactly agree with your stance 100%.

    I breastfed my daughter (now soon to be 21 yrs old already!) for a full year and was heartbroken to have to stop so soon. I didn’t retire to my home and disappear…I went about my normal life, going to lunch with my still-single friends, shopping at the mall, etc. I will agree that an exposed breast in public is often not sensitive to others, but you don’t have to, or SHOULDN’T have to, slip off to some bathroom, changing room, or the car…there is a middle-ground when it comes to “public” breastfeeding. I know feeding under a blanket or tea-towel is not desirable by all, but my girl found it comforting and cozy. Often, if I was at home and was forgoing the cover-up, she would pull at my shirt or hair or her own blanket to cover head herself!

    While I only breastfed my girl for a year, both my own mother and I have had friends that continued to do so until their children were as old as 3 yrs old, though for my personal comfort that is pushing it. It was amazing to me that I got odd looks for feeding my child…uber-modest blanket and all…anytime when she was older than six months! In many countries and cultures, it is normal and expected that the child will receive at least part of their sustenance from mother’s milk up until age five, and weaning or cutting them off as early as 1 or 2 years old is considered cruel and unhealthy.

    And while La Leche League can seem a bit “militant” and was not the right fit for me, ever, you have to understand the climate from whence they were formed in the 1960s. Women were often scorned and even actively prevented from breastfeeding their children back then. La Leche League has been instrumental in reviving the practice in the past 40 years…and helped innumerable women without the emotional and ethical support of their communities and families in this regard. So give ‘em a break, okay?

    People on both “sides” need to give a little…and get a reality check.

  199. I discretely breast fed both my children, and for those who say they have no choice to do but flaunt it in public, I say HOGWASH! I also was not a prisoner of my home! If we went to the mall (for example), I’d feed the baby in my car prior to entering the mall. If we were at a restaurant (in a booth of course), I’d drape a blanket over myself and my child. If I was in someone’s home, I’d dismiss myself to another room for privacy.

    What many of these Mom’s who insist upon doing this where God and everyone can see it is that they’re doing a grave injustice to their child! Breast feeding is a close and personal time between Mother and Child. In a Mall, there is a lot of loud stimuli that distracts from the closeness during feeding. It does cheapen it! I loved my children enough take the time with them that they needed it .. after all, they’re only little for such a brief period of time! Why not cherish it?

    Ladies, I agree 100% with how you’ve addressed this topic!! You two ROCK!

  200. Sorry, hoo boy, I was being facetious about the militant thing. I was planning on breast feeding but the La Leche women I personally knew were ALMOST to the point where they were slapping bottles out of babies mouths. And when I was unable to breast feed my first child, they acted like I was a failure as a mother.

    And I’m sorry, but I agree with Margaret. If you’re old enough to ASK for the breast, you’re too old to breast feed (hence the “Little Britian” skit with the grown man breast feeding).

  201. OMG! Ladies, this is the FUNNIEST post ever!!! Don’t Stop! I mean it. Really!!!! :-)

  202. You know… I breast fed both my kids until they were a year old. I remember only one time when I nursed in public at a party (the hostess told me to go ahead when she heard my daughter whimpering). I used a blanket and nobody noticed. Somehow, somehow, I was able to nurse both kids for their year without exposing myself. My daughter used what she called a “Hooter hider” that worked perfectly.

  203. For all the mom’s defending breast feeding a 4 year old child- do you REALLY want that child remembering as an adult, latching onto their mother’s breast? Concrete memory has already begun to form, as you should know yourselves because I’m sure every one of you has memories from when you were about 4 years old… YOU may think it’s all kosher, but really- what are you doing to your kid’s mentally, and do you really think it’s still ‘bonding’ at that point?
    I think it’s the mom’s who have the issue with not being able to stop, not the kids.
    Flame away!

  204. M&H, I’m SO with you on this one. Every worde was right on the money. I love you guys!

  205. Can’t say that I really have an opinion on this one.

    I hope you all have a safe and grace-filled Thanksgiving.

    http://www.whatwouldwandado.blogspot.com

  206. I have to disagree with you on one thing. Breast feeding in public does not offend me in the least. I see it as a natural thing, not unlike a foal nursing from a mare. The 4 year old is another story. That is just WRONG on so many levels.

    I breastfed both of my kids for a few weeks until my dirty pillows decided they couldn’t keep up. I never fed them in public but during the short weeks I was able to breastfeed I rarely was able to leave the house! I have seen woman feeding their babes and it doesn’t bother me at all.

    I love you gals but I have to disagree with you on this one.

  207. I breast fed my 3 children who are now adults. We lived in the country so a trip to the city was an all day affair with errands to do.
    I did breastfeed in public, but always covered myself and never had a problem.
    Except with my mother. She was horrified that I was doing something so old fashioned and was afraid that my son was not getting enough nourishment.
    She told me there was a state law prohibiting breast feeding in public!!!!!
    I had to take her to my son’s first MD visit she she could calm her down and see how much weight he had gained.
    She never could stay in the same room with me while I nursed any of my babies, it was very strange.

  208. I see no problems with public breastfeeding but I do wonder why a mother is still breastfeeding her 4 year old. Shouldn’t this kid be potty trained and boobie trained by now? Even wild animals cut off their young long before they turn 4. Most 4 years olds I know eat solid food and have no need for mom’s milk any longer. The upside is the money she’s saving on formula/food for this kid now will come in handy for professional mental services later. I know, I know, I’m going to get called out on that one.

  209. oops! I mean breast.

  210. I agree with Helen on this one. Breat feeding is the way nature intended it to be. I breast fed both my children (1st for 6 months, 2nd for 20 months). But when out in public, I always used a thin blanket. When I was breat feeding, it was not as popular so there wasn’t much literature on the subject nor “special” slings or blankets to accommodate the process. I just wedged a corner of the blanket under my bra stap and it kept it in place.

    As much as I think it’s a natural and beautiful experience between mother and child, it should be customary to consider others when out in public. It’s unfair to say, who ever is uncomfortable with it should look the other way or leave the room. I personally don’t have a problem with it. I actually get a strong desire to give usefull pointers when I see a rookie breast feeder.

    Anyhow, Helen, I love your posts. Really. I mean it! =)

  211. If they’re too old for the bottle they’re too old for the breast IMO! I agree with Helen & Margaret – keep it to yourself I don’t need to see anyones bare anything! I breastfed as long as I could (2-3 months) and no one saw anything!

  212. Wow ladies—-you are getting some angry posts on here today. Good thing you are 2 tough old gals and I am sure you are getting a kick out of the whole thing. I nursed all 5 of my kids wherever I happened to be but no one ever really knew because I just draped a little blanket over myself—no big deal—but what I want to know is why no one but me has posted themselves in a M and H tee shirt———-

  213. Sorry, but my baby nursing has nothing to do with having a bowel movement. That is so insulting and degrading to a woman’s body. You ladies do realize why you have breasts, right? Plus, the breast you mentioned seeing was in the woman’s mother’s home! How do you know what she shows when she’s out? Now women aren’t allowed to breastfeed in houses too?

    Which is more disgusting-a woman breastfeeding or a woman choosing to increase her baby’s risk of obesity, cancer, autism, and behavioral and psychological problems (all scientficially valid statements, and the reason behind the “breastmilk is best” tagline that formula companies use). What about choosing to possibly lower your child’s IQ?

    Sorry if my breasts offend you, but my children are healthy and smart, and that’s all that matters to me.

  214. I must be on a different planet because despite four cumulative years of breastfeeding my own kids, and being around countless other young children and their moms, I’ve rarely seen public breastfeeding, much less that of the fully-exposed-breast variety.

    And the few times I’ve seen an exposed breast in the act of feeding a child, it’s been in someone’s home where I wouldn’t dare think of criticizing them for relaxing the modesty a bit.

  215. First, I laughed myself silly. You two are truly a wonderful addition to the internet.

    But as an old man with a permanent scar, I feel I must comment. I am not some sort of a prude, far from it. I’m about as liberal as they get, but I do have my own experience to bring to this discussion.

    My dear Aunt Eunice, a devout Christian of the loud-mouth variety, insisted on breast feading her babies in front of God and everybody wherever they were. I still to this day have disturbing dreams about Aunt Eunice’s breasts. I don’t think I agree with incest, but my dreams call the whole thing into question.

    Ladies, by all means, feel free to breastfeed your babies, but PLEASE, don’t do it in front of your little nephews. It creates confusion that can last a lifetime. And just so you know, I wasn’t some sex-crazed teen-aged boy at the time. I was six years old and didn’t know ANYTHING about anything. So, once again, PLEASE!

  216. My god. THe woman simply said she doesn’t think breastfeeding in public is polite. No big deal.
    I do and I will continue to. But I understad some people are touchy on the subject.

  217. As far as age, there are many cultures where children are breast fed until they are 5. I don’t think it’s my place to say what age is “correct”.
    And I find it funny thinking that it’s inappropriate to breast feed a kid that is old enough to talk, but yet it’s considered healthy to nurse from another species (I.E. cow’s milk). Many people think that drinking another animal’s milk is unhealthy. Medical science changes all the time, so we have to be careful asserting opinion as fact.

  218. I breast feed all three of my children til they got teeth! (about 9 months) If need be, sometimes in public (and need be means newborn to about 3 months when feedings are more frequent) When they are older, can a mother not plan around the feedings or come prepared?

    Fine, occassionally someone may have to sit and feed their child. It is very easy to do without anyone even knowing what you are doing.

    Like I said, I’ve breast feed in public – but – no one knew what I was doing.

    All you have to do is wear the right shirt and cover your chest and baby with a receiving blanket, there is no need just to stick yourself out there for everyone to see.

  219. Everone needs to take a chill pill. THe best thing about this blog is that Helen and Margaret speak their mind and then invite us to speak ours. They don’t like breastfeeding in public. Many of you have made good points about why it is necessary sometimes. Others of you have stated you agree with the post. Everythign is OK. Enjoy the blog for what it is. A place that stimulates good conversation about lots of good topics.

  220. If all the pissed-off responses don’t clue you in to how touchy this subject is, nothing will.
    Having a 2 year old that I was unable to breastfeed, you’d think I’d commited the cardinal sin of all motherhood by not killing myself (and her) to try and breastfeed her, according to said “breast nazis”… I was accosted by so many women (and even one man!) telling me I wasn’t giving my child ‘the best chance possible’ and absolutely tore me a new one for bottle feeding. If looks could kill, I’d have been dead by the time she was 3 weeks old.

    Listen ladies- Helen said nothing about breastfeeding in public- she said she didn’t want to see your breasts hanging out and a 4 year old latched onto them. If that’s uncalled for, then so be it, but I know for a fact that a lot more places offer nursing rooms now then ever before, and I’m sorry if your child won’t feed under a blanket, but that doesn’t mean all of us have to know your intimate anatomy because of it. It’s common curtisy to just cover up or find a place that isn’t so public. Just because your comfortable with your body doesn’t mean everyone else has to be.

    And as far as age- if your child can ASK you for it, and they can drink out of a normal cup- something is really wrong. Nutritionally, they should have already started on cows milk and be eating solids. Mentally- their long term memory is well enough that it’s something they will actually be able to remember doing- would you really want to remember sucking your mom’s breasts as an adult? Yeah, I think not.

    Great post Helen and Margret!

  221. Summer – How is my logic running wild? Maybe we have different definitions of “logic”? As well as “decency”, “sex” and “wild”. At least I presented a clear argument of my stance, rather than just saying “You’re crazy to disagree with me! I can’t be bothered to validate my opinion!” It’s easy to make large swooping assertions. Backing them up takes work. Ow! Thinking is hard! If you can’t be bothered, than obviously your own values matter very little to you and your original comment was a waste of time anyways.

    I will have a nice life, thanks.

  222. If you can see the entire breast of a woman who’s nursing, she’s doing it wrong.

  223. Danyell: It is clear to me now that your logic is running wild. Can’t waste my time with you. Have a nice life.

  224. My husband read this, and now he wants to breastfeed in public. He says it’s “totally natural.”

    Thanks for nothing!

    Jules

    ;-)

  225. Summer, you obviously have a hard time with analogies, so there’s no point in me trying to explain that again.

    If you don’t think breastfeeding is offensive for sexual reasons, please explain why it IS offensive then.

    You say that breasts are “privates”. Doesn’t that relate to sex organs? Then doesn’t that mean you’re offended by breast feeding because it seems sexual? If not for the sexuality of the breast, there’s no reason an exposed breast is offensive. If it has no sexual connotation , then it’s just another body part.

  226. I once had a similar experience with a breastfeeding mother. Public breastfeeding has never bothered me at all until once when a child of about three came and asked for milk from her mother, and I confess it was jarring. But you know what? I think it was my problem, not theirs.

    It’s regrettable that people have hang-ups about breast-feeding. It’s important for mothers to be sensitive to others’ feelings, but not to the point of confining themselves to their homes so others won’t be offended. Hopefully it’s another hang-up that we’re getting over. Any visit to a country where breastfeeding is treated as the normal part of life that it is will have you wondering what our problem is here in the U.S.

  227. I agree!

    I had a job interview once, and the interviewer suddenly brought her (rather large) breast out during the interview. I was alarmed and then realized there was a baby on her lap (under the table). It was very odd.

  228. Ah well, I nursed both of my children. And carried a blanket. You can change some of the people some of the time……
    So if someone gets off on leering at you while you are nursing, thats what the blanket is for.

  229. I’d like to get my hands on a chichi. It’d go great next to my coffee maker.

  230. Danyell: How is this the same as being gay? Gay people do not expose their privates in public! If you think people who don’t want to see bare breasts in public are against breastfeeding, you must be a homophobe then! This logic do not make any sense to me.

    And, most people don’t think breastfeeding as a sexual act. It is just socially unacceptable as long as we cover ourselves up in public.

  231. Hey Bud,

    After reading this last post, I can see you’re tiring of this gig. Kudos for the initial posts, those were some of the wittiest posts I’ve read. Of course the guise was an interesting twist.

    But, I can see your heart isn’t into this as much. And, you’ve mistakenly added in “Margaret”, it’s too easy to see “both characters”, they’re just not dissimilar.

    It was anice , but, after reading/skimming the comments of today, you’ll need to let these people go someday. Make it sooner than later.
    Your wit can be used better elsewhere.

    F M

  232. I don’t care if it’s public or private, but please put a blanket over it – just be modest about it, fercryinoutloud.

    Now the 44 year old grabbing for a breast… LOL Speaking of, I’m off to find my 44 year old husband now!

  233. Hey, H & M,
    TOTALLY with you on this one. The VERY same thing happened to me. I went to an old high school friend’s house about 10 years after high school, trying to reignite our friendship.

    She had 3 children at the time. I met all three. We were having coffee talking about old times….when the 3 year old came up and said, “I’m thirsty, Mommy.” She pulled out her boob and the kid started sucking. OMG, I was sitting there in total amazement.

    Needless to say, I finished my coffee as fast as I could, thanked her for the visit, never saw her again….well, until the next reunion. I was hoping that her now 13 year old had graduated to the milk carton, but was afraid to ask…HEE HEE.

    And, yes, women should be able to find another place to breast-feed other than your living room chair. Women, where is your dignity?

    As for those of you that are complaining that there is no where for you to go…..what about your vehicle? I visited my girlfriend who had just had a baby. Every time she needed to feed her baby, we went off to the car and it was very discreet and not in anyone’s face. Think about it.
    There are ways, you aren’t thinking logically…start.

  234. Margaret and Helen, I agree with you to a point. When you have a baby (emphasis on the word baby, but I’ll get to that later), and it’s time to feed him or her, then if you have the opportunity, you should go to a private place, like a restroom, to do it. However, there are some situations where this may not be possible, and in those instances I’m willing to just ignore the fact that it’s happening in front of me.

    Onto my next point. I completely agree with you that there comes a time when breast feeding crosses the line from necessity to just sickening. Breast feeding should end long before the child is 4 years old. If nothing else, that child is going to develop an incredibly unhealthy relationship with his mother. I don’t know much about parenting, but I know that breastfeeding a 4 year old is just plain wrong.

  235. Chuck- if you don’t want to watch a woman breast feed, then don’t. Just because it’s occurring near you, doesn’t mean you have to stare. That’s like saying that no one’s allowed to do anything you don’t like in public.

    So many people are saying “I’m not against breast feeding so long as you cover up/stay home/ hide somewhere/be ashamed, etc”. If that’s your stance then it seems to me like you ARE against it. It’s similar to saying “I’m ok with gay people so long as they don’t kiss in front of me.” You’re saying that you’re tolerant so long as you don’t ACTUALLY have to tolerate it. I call shenanigans on all of you.

  236. Well, I breast fed all four of mine, but I never exposed myself doing it. I also belonged to La Leche, but our group never did that either. In fact, one of the first things they taught us was how to be modest about it, even in public, though it wasn’t encouraged in public, and I never did that.
    My youngest breast fed too, and did it often in the same room with us, but never exposed herself at all. A diaper or little receiving blanket over the baby and her breast was all it took and we didn’t even realize she was doing it most of the time.
    I guess this generation of breast feeders must have different ideas about it. That’s really too bad.

  237. This made me sad. Do you guys like to eat in public bathrooms?

  238. What kind of cookies?

    DS

  239. This is the first time that I DISAGREE with your post 100%.

    Our society have so over-sexualized the breast that we often forget what it’s for. A breast is not a dirty thing and breast feeding isn’t lewd. I don’t think a woman doing one of the most natural things in the world should have to be shooed off to some corner to feed her baby in shame, as if she’s done something wrong.

    So many women turn to formula to avoid the embarrassment, the pain and inconvenience of breast feeding. Since we know that breast milk is the best thing to feed a newborn, we should be making it easier for women to breast feed, not harder. We can’t do much for the pain aspect, because it’s gonna hurt. But we can at least be accommodating and even proud & thankful of the mothers who take such good care of their kids.

  240. Hey Chuck. It’s perfectly legal to breastfeed one’s child and it is perfectly legal for you to walk around without your shirt. I have the option to turn away if I’m offended by your man-boobs and you have the option to turn away if yo happen to catch a small glimpse of my breasts when I’m nursing my baby. My guess is that if I were sporting a bikini and my breasts were big and perky, you would have a different opinion on whether you should look or not. And, I’m also guessing that if you happened to be built like David Beckham, I’d look at you too. It’s funny how American men can be so offended by something that they strain their necks to see on a daily basis. Guess when a baby is attached, it’s a different story. Selfish.

  241. Dear Margaret & Helen,

    I have written to you before, telling you how much you remind me of my Dear departed Mom. Everytime I read your blog, it just brings back wonderful memories for me. Thank You for that.

    It would be great to read about some of your Holiday memories. Since I had moved from CT to TN about 15 years ago, what I miss most is being with my Mom. We would help each other cook great big meals, and we both really loved to feed people. We always took in a couple of people with no place to go and tried to make them feel as though they were part of the family. Isn’t that what Holidays are for? Reaching out to the lonely and helping them to feel good?

    Then after dessert, the dishes, and everything settled down, we’d catch up on the drama in everyones life. Not in a bad way.

    So, I know everyone has some good story from some Holiday dinner to tell. It would be nice to feel like part of a family again.

    Saying all that, No, I am not crazy.

    So, to Both of You, have a great Thanksgiving and a wonderful Christmas. I look forward to each and every blog that you write.

    HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!

  242. It’s all a matter of image. Round, perk, surgically enhanced boobs are works of art and should be celebrated. Swollen, distended, drooping ones are icky and to be covered. Double standard much?

  243. Nobody is against breastfeeding. But as long as we don’t walk (or sit, or whatever) around our breasts or other certain body parts exposed in society, it is NOT ok to breastfeed in public places. It is as simple as that.

    Thinking that this is similar to gay couples holding hands is also ridiculous.

  244. I don’t want to see it.

  245. Aw, Ladies! Come on! If you’re going to purport to be pro-woman, you’ve got to stop bashing other women for what is a natural function of a woman’s body. I can’t believe that you (2 smart, seemingly progressive women) would allow the media, men (and puritanical women) to bully you into this line of thinking. Breasts are not icky. Breasts are not primarily sexual. Plus, most breastfeeding women that I know, myself included, don’t just whip it out. Don’t fall for that propaganda. Most of the time I am nursing, no one even knows. The only time I had an issue was when I was breastfeeding my son (under a hot blanket) and a man strained his neck to see what I was doing. Yup..basically to catch a peak at my boob. Juvenile.

    My sister in law was in Spain recently and she was breastfeeding her daughter under a blanket. An older Spanish woman came by and yanked the blanket off. She said “That baby is beautiful. Don’t hide. Nobody here will care.” How refreshing.

    Honestly, when a woman chooses to nurse her baby in front of you without a blanket, are you really that weirded out by the sight of a breast? You have 2 yourself, don’t you? I’m more offended by a toddler sporting a pacifier.

  246. Exposed breasts make people very uncomfortable. I think that is the crux of the breastfeeding issue. I have always felt that in public one should be aware that it might make another uncomfortable seeing a breast exposed. In the privacy of your own home, by all means let it all hang out, but in public cover yourself. If your child doesn’t like to be covered, either stay home or adjust said cover so the child is alright. I didnt breast feed long because I couldn’t, but did try. I was always covered in public, I didnt want people seeing my breasts.
    Keep in mind that M&H are from another era of life and also have a right to their opinions.

  247. Babies don’t wait for the perfect breastfeeding conditions, and mother’s have to go out in public for various reason…you get the drift! There are always discreet options, not because of your feelings about breastfeeding, but because of the OTHER people…not everyone is comfortable with it, right or wrong.

  248. Ok, right up front I admit I nursed both my kids cuz if I didn’t they would have starved as we were really up against it money-wise when they arrived. I went a month and a half with the first one which at the time was 3 times the average length of nursing for a first-time mother. I had to quit and find a way to afford bottle feeding cuz my precious baby was a head-turner! That meant she would get deep it slurping, then start turning her head to look around, even in the dark! I could just see what my breasts would look like if both of us kept that up!

    The second one went three months and then started sprouting some really damaging teeth “buds” which hurt as much as real choppers. I discovered this, as usual, by accident when he bellyed up to the bar and started hammering away. I almost went through the cieling!

    Both kids were bigger than average at birth, grew like mustard, and really didn’t need the effects of natural immunization from mother’s milk after a short while.

    I have a friend who nursed all five of her kids and while they were on her production, all five were as roly-poly as polar bear cubs. The minute they went on formula they started to drop the avoirdupois. That’s French for flab.

    No, I never did the bronze statue thing (as I used to call it) of nursing in public like I belonged as a still life in the Louvre. Yes, the female breast was meant for feeding babies and it is a natural thing but there are a lot of natural things that are huge no-no’s in public, especially in a developed country.

    I do thank my lucky stars that I did not get in with La Leche. There are as many fanatics in that bunch as there are very generous and stable moms who will donate breast milk for hospitalized infants. The fanatics are the ones who will keep the kid on breast milk way past time when infant bones need a much more diversified diet to avoid damage of that sort, not to mention neurological development.

    In sum, when you get right down to it, its not so much what you put in your baby’s mouth as what you put in the little darling’s mind and heart.

  249. My goodness, no kids here, so I’ve had no action, but if you gotta feed you gotta feed. I do agree that it is kinda like chewing with your mouth full, everyone has blankets. But no one should be made to feel bad because of a choice they made. It’s all about consideration from both sides of the blankie!

    Karen Syed
    http”//karensyed.blogspot.com

  250. Ladies, ladies, ladies- Boy did ya’ll start something with this one.

    Did you nurse Helen? I did, all five but only until the babies were almost a year. I found it very relaxing and being the lazy person that I am, the night time feedings were a breeze. Of course now you could be thrown in jail for sleeping with your baby, but I did and some how managed to never smother or crush any of them (5 in all) now ripe old ages of 27, 24, 21, 19 and 10.

    Since the word chi chi was used I will assume that the young mother is Hispanic? Different cultures are much more comfortable with seeing women baring their breasts for the purpose of feeding their babies than we are here in the uptight US of A. I work with a lot of Hispanic folks and frequent a vegetable stand manned by a lovely young Hispanic mother who very openly nurses while she waits on you to make your selection of her wares. She is so innocent about it that she truly has no idea that anyone could possibly be offended.

    As for the young mother in your quilting circle, she probably felt that she was in a room full of women that no one would take issue. I personally always had to find a quiet corner as my babies would become distracted if I talked to anyone or should any loud noise should occur.

    You ladies crack me up even with this one. But you should give her a break and be happy that these children are loved and well taken care of when we read every day about the ones who aren’t. I bet you that these children will never be abandoned in Nevada.

    Peace out from South Georgia

  251. HAHAHA!! Love the wit and humor. And I agree with you completely. I take no issue with breastfeeding discretely, even if there’s a whole mess of people in the room. But discretely is the operative word.

  252. PS:

    I am going to be blatantly sexist here and say I don’t think ANY man has a right to say ANYthing about this topic. (Unless it is to say: What women do with their lactating breasts is their business and I’m going to stay out of it.) There’s nothing even REMOTELY comparable in the male life that gives them the ethos to make a peep.

    I don’t think “convenience” is a word to use in the same sentence with the phrase “breast-feeding in public.”

  253. I am not a mother (yet) so don’t feel qualified to comment other than to offer this little factoid: I knew someone in high school whose 9 and 7 year old brothers were still on the breast.

    Love you ladies! See, you can write about anything and we will come to read it.
    Hugs,
    Jess

    http://skyewriter-novemberfifth.blogspot.com/

  254. Wow- for the first time, I disagree with Margaret and Helen! Shocking!

    To Chuck…. if you don’t want to watch Seeing Eye Chick feed her child… look away. As she and others stated, breast feeding is not a sexual act. I know it must be hard for some people to try to see breasts as their intended purpose, instead of sex toys, but that seems to be a personal problem and a mother who needs to feed her child shouldn’t have to worry about your perversion, when she’s only trying to do what she believes is best for her child.
    No, I don’t have any children of my own, don’t plan on it, but I certainly wouldn’t expect a woman who does have kids to hide herself because I felt icky. Americans do need to grow up about their repulsion of breast feeding- after all, they seem to be a-okay with boobs in cleavage and movies.

  255. Oh my lord, I couldn’t love you two women any more than I do if I tried with both hands…

  256. Chuck, there is NOT always someplace private to go. I’ve gone to my car to nurse my newborn and had people make nasty comments because they got right up next to the tinted glass to see what I was doing. So what is a reasonable thing for me to do? I HAD to go to the doctor that day to have him tested for jaundice. I nursed right before leaving the house, but they were packed and after waiting for too long, the baby got hungry. They were unable to give me a spare exam room to nurse in, so I went to my car and still got the nasty looks and comments. WTH was I supposed to do?

  257. To Seeing Eye Chick: We don’t want to watch you breast feed. You chose to have children, that means you have to make some sacrifices. The act of creating children is also natural and beautiful but I don’t want to watch you do it. You do it in the privacy of your home.

    There is ALWAYS someplace private you can go to feed your child. You just don’t want to have to be inconvenienced so you think the world should adapt around you.

  258. For those women who are breastfeeding, good for you. You have every right…..but I have every right not to be exposed to it – no pun intended.

  259. This is a non-issue, ladies. It is possible to breastfeed in public (even without a blankie) without showing the world your nipples. Most fully dressed teen girls these days are showing more of their cleavage than I ever did by breastfeeding. And don’t even talk to me about the beach!

    Love you guys, by the way! You’re a hoot.

  260. There is a woman in my world who does this. I read up on it and they call themselves LACTIVISTS. I say, who cares. Just show some courtesy to others in your field of site. Would you walk around with your breast exposed if you weren’t feeding? Why the need to advertise?

    I know a gal who exposes herself everywhere. It makes me crazy, but in some of the places where we meet, there are older women and men. So we really have to have nature jammed up our noses? Do you have any “brunging up”?

    Discretion is an action verb. People need to put it into play with this and other issues.

  261. P.S. And this business about children being too old to breastfeed when they can ask for it is baloney. A newborn baby asks to breastfeed 10 times a day. So when a kid develops a new way of asking for it (words), suddenly it’s morally reprehensible? Why? A verbal toddler/preschooler, just by virtue of learning to talk, now sees breasts as sexual and is doing something immoral? Please. Breastfeeding is food and comfort. Neither of those needs changes when a kid learns to talk.

  262. I started out with a fair minded approach when I was pregnant. I didn’t mind people who breastfed or those who didn’t. But when we decided not to breastfed, I was faced with such a horrible campaign of harrassment including truly mean comments from breastfeeding mothers that I have really lost respect for most of them. I still believe that breast and bottle feeding are equally good for the children.

  263. I think you just lost me as a reader. Which is sad, because I fell in love with you both when you were politicizing.

    My child wouldn’t nurse with a blanket over her head, she’d pull it off or she’d wail. I’d like to see both of you ladies eat a meal underneath a hot blanket.

    That’s also like asking someone to go into the bathroom to breastfeed. Would YOU eat your sandwich in the stall?

    There are nursing bras and nursing shirts and they are all incredibly expensive. I don’t see anything wrong with a woman exposing a nipple for a little bit while their child is nursing. The nipple would be in the baby’s mouth anyway…not much to see.

    I nursed my children for 17 months, 4 months (milk dried up), and 21 months, respectively. No one ever gave me a bad comment when I nursed my children in public. In fact, my youngest was 6 days old and I nursed her in Walmart, while I was walking around. Granted, my breasts weren’t fully exposed, but even so…the act of breastfeeding is a protected right in most states. And eventually it will be all states.

  264. Breastfeeding is better compared to *eating* not taking a dump. Would you be offended if I ate in front of you? What if it was something really gross that you don’t eat? If I’m bothered (and trust me, being pregnant makes me a lot less tolerant of other people’s food choices) I look away.

    I nursed my youngest son until he was 2 and plan to nurse my next child for at least a year. They are able to “ask” for it at birth…have you ever heard of rooting? Is it OK that I continued to nurse my son who wasn’t able to say nurse long after most children can? The benefits of breastfeeding do not end at an arbitrary age. It’s more than just nutrition. Even now that he’s weaned, the child I breastfed is much, much healthier than his older non-breastfed brother.

    I covered myself in public for my comfort, not anyone else’s. But it just wasn’t possible for me to stay home, nor was I able to produce enough output via the pump to make a bottle every time we needed to leave the house. And I couldn’t justify the expense of formula when I was making milk for free. Even if I could, I doubt he would have taken it because the taste, smell, texture, etc. are so different.

    It’s hard enough being a mom, worrying if you’re doing OK or if you’re causing your children to need a lifetime of therapy. In the grand scheme of things, is breastfeeding in front of people really a big deal? I say no. I’m much more concerned with bigger things. And just for the record, I’m not a LLL member and I’ve never even attended a meeting.

  265. I didn’t breastfeed my son for more than a couple of weeks, not because I didn’t want to, but because I couldn’t. I wanted it badly, and I was bitterly disappointed when I had to quit.

    Yes, some midwives and women’s groups can get pushy promoting breastfeeding. Still, the fact is that breast is best, and if you can and don’t want to, you’re depriving your children. I was appalled at a 23-year-old friend who said she wouldn’t breastfeed at all because she didn’t want her boobs sagging like an old cow’s. WTF happened to putting your child’s needs before your vanity?

    Breastfeeding is NOTHING like a bowel function. If it were, there would be breastfeeding areas on every corner, just like toilets. Most women don’t do it conspicuously. If you don’t mind huge lingerie adverts all over the place and teenagers engaging in tonsil hockey in the middle of the street, then keep your gob shut when a mother is trying to feed her young one the way nature intended.

  266. I still love both of you ladies, but I’m afraid to say you’re way off-base on this one.

    The only reason people think breastfeeeding is yucky or inappropriate in public is because our screwed-up culture has sexualized breasts. Yes, breasts CAN be sexual, but that is their secondary function. Their first is to feed a baby. When babies don’t get the full benefits of mother’s milk, their risks of all sorts of infections, illnesses, cancers, allergies, etc. rise significantly. So do mothers’.

    That’s why it’s important to have a breastfeeding-friendly world. How would you like it if you had to eat under a blanket, in a bathroom, locked in a bedroom or a car, confined to the same four walls, etc. for every meal? (And I’m sorry, but asking ANYONE to eat in a bathroom is just gross.) Furthermore, most babies eat a lot more than 20 mins. every 4 hrs. (That’s a formula-feeding paradigm.) A mom who feels trapped because she has to avoid “offending” people is FAR less likely to breastfeed. And she, her baby, and the world will be much the worse off for it.

    Babies have a right — and the need — to eat the best possible food when they’re hungry, which is often. And women who are just trying to meet their babies’ needs deserve not to be ostracized/forced to hide for it. People who think breasts are nasty for whatever sick, twisted reason DO NOT have the right not to be offended. Get over it, people.

  267. Without writing a dissertation let me just say that women have been fighting over body image/body rights for time out of memory. Now we are onto the next great frontier: breast feeding. Time was no respectable (wealthy) woman would ever dream of nursing her own child. How crude. How common. How naughty. Women shouldn’t think about their bodies, touch their bodies, and know their bodies. They most certainly shouldn’t do something as crass as have something touching their breasts with their mouth.
    On the other hand is the belief that women exist solely to produce and nurture children and not breastfeeding was a rejection of God since God created you for that purpose.
    Look at small societies (tribal etc) women breastfeed without even thinking about it and NO ONE CARES. Look around you at people next time your out and about. How many behaviors do we ignore because we just don’t see them anymore? The man adjusting his balls, the woman “scratching” her nose, the homeless person asleep on the corner, the woman adjusting her bra strap, the little girl lifting her skirt, the little boy scratching his butt.
    Wouldn’t it be nice if we could look across a crowd one day and have our eyes skip over the woman with a blanket over her shoulder breast feeding her child because that is now just one more common thing that we don’t “see” anymore?

  268. I’m betting you get raked over the coals for this one, ladies, but I happen to agree with you. My first experience with this was a coworker who breastfed during our faculty meetings. She did move to the back of the room and was discreet, so I didn’t really mind. Later I knew a woman who had two kids after she turned 40. She breastfed both for as long as they wanted. I think one was coming home after school for an afternoon snack. That was a bit over the top for me. I’m all for breastfeeding because it’s cheaper and better for the baby. But there is a limit, and whenever there is a limit there will be those who cross the line.

  269. I’m all for breastfeeding, but once those babies have teeth, forget it!

  270. When my son was an infant, back in the early 70s, we usually stepped into a church if we were out of house when he got hungry. Since his mother and I had just left oppressively Catholic families, it was the only time we were ever in churches, but I was glad they were around for such purposes.

    I was also appalled by the anti-breast-feeding propaganda put out by people who had a financial interest in pushing ‘formula’ on mothers as a replacement for their own milk. We don’t see that so much these days, but it was omnipresent back then. And you can add me to the list of people who think there’s many more offensive things in popular culture than the sight of women breastfeeding babies.

  271. You two are such a breath of fresh air !!! I am with you both on this subject: don’t care, but don’t want to see it and there is a time to stop !!!!

  272. I don’t think being militant about anything people are skeeved or uncomfortable with is good. That would be true regarding sexual orientation, religion, choice of candidate, or whatever.

    I did breast feed all three of my boys. I like my boobs. I’m not ashamed of them, but I also know that an exposed boob in any context in this culture isn’t really a good thing. People aren’t going to be celebrating this symbol of motherhood and connectedness when it’s generally equated with girls gone wild (not so noble, but oh so much more common).

    Nutritious shake? or Major league yabohs?

    Kind of hard to resolve the two.

    The answer isn’t to say it’s somebody else’s problem and they shouldn’t ogle. Until this whole culture becomes okay with boobs being attached to women rather than bobble heads (if people can look that far up), it’s far easier to use a blanket or scarf and demonstrate that feeding one’s baby isn’t such a scary thing.

    I’d agree that breast feeding a 4 year old would definitely put me off. I would disagree that it’s the equivalent of taking a dump. But there’s a pretty long continuum of ages and motherly discretion to wiggle around in, isn’t there?

  273. I still can’t figure out why so many react to breastfeeding as though it’s gross. *shrug*

    Would much rather see that then a thong sticking out of some pudgy teenager’s muffintop.

  274. I had a thought just now.

    Its okay to let Gay People Marry, and for them to hold hands and be spouses in public, but its not okay for a mommy to breast feed her child in public?

    Breastfeeding isnt a sex act. Its not dirty and its absolutely NOT the same as relieving –going to the bathroom taking a dump or wiz type thing at all.

    I will reiterate. Women should support each other in every aspect of their lives. Whether its to be free as children from molestation and institutional sexism to limit their potential, or for adult women to receive equal pay for equal work, equal opportunity and freedom to live their lives as they see fit–as human beings and as sexual beings.

    But also, Mothers deserve that same support. We dont cease being human just because we had children. Our desire for freedom or intellectual stimulation or social interaction doesnt die when that umbilical cord is cut.

    A Free Woman–Period. No matter what stage she is in–in her life.

    Mother, Maiden or Crone.

  275. what seeing eye chick, hoo boy and natalie said…ditto for me. What’s the big deal? Look away if it bothers you. And yes, comparing breastfeeding to taking a dump is more than a tad insulting.

    Otherwise, love you ladies and love this blog! first time I’ve disagreed :)

  276. Now that I’ve wiped milk off my keyboard from the spit take laughter I will comment.

    I see nothing wrong with breast-feeding. Asking for a drink is a bit much though.

    My friends have breastfed their kids. It didn’t take all that much effort for them to drape a kitchen towel over themselves and continue on their merry way.

  277. And FWIW, I left a playgroup one time because a woman asked for advice on breastfeeding and when I gave it (nothing forceful, just my personal experiences), another woman called me a militant nazi, apparently due to her own insecurities about her choices. So just remember, there are always two sides to a coin.

  278. I had to breastfeed my now 30 year old daughter for two years and four months due to her health problems, and I ended up in the hospital with that painful infection. Ouch! Thank goodness the quilting bees I attended back in the 1990s in New Braunfels didn’t have children present much. I considered that my special time with the ladies! As for breastfeeding in public. It is a natural thing, but as you say, so is relieving oneself. Keep that booby covered or behind closed doors! I have to say, ladies, I do like this present format whereas we get both your opinions. It lets both your unique personalities shine through!
    Brenda in Tyler

  279. While I was never a public breastfeeder, comparing breastfeeding to bowel movements is just a tad insulting. Most women are very discreet about it, and unless you are REALLY looking, you’ll never notice. Do you really think the better option for a mother and baby is the dirty bathroom in a public place? If a woman’s choice is a bathroom or doing it discreetly in public, do you really think it’s fair to ask her to feed her baby in the bathroom for YOUR benefit? You’ll see much more public cleavage (of the upper and lower kind, meaning: rear) out of young girls these days and it has nothing to do with breastfeeding and everything to do with what they wear.

    FWIW: When I went out in public when my son was an infant, I always made a point of going somewhere I knew had a nice, private nursing area, like Nordstrom; because I was insecure and I knew people would judge me. It limited my activities, so I stayed home and ate instead. :P

    For those who say “They don’t want to see that!”, I wonder if you are offended when you see naked breast that’s not being used for it’s intended purpose.

    No, I’ve never belonged to La Leche, for the same reasons I would never belong to Peta, but Americans really are very prudish and puritan when it comes to these types of things.

    I see a lot of things in public that bother me, for instance: Thong panties sticking out of jeans, but that doesn’t mean I can’t look away.

    But, I have a feeling you brought this up just to liven it up around here ;) I love you guys and this is the first thing I’ve had to disagree with you on.

  280. Agree, also. Never breast fed my 2, back in the day it was considered a personal choice. Nowadays, new mothers are made to feel subhuman if they choose not to…

    Love you guys, I never blog back, just read alot of them but felt comfortable here!!

  281. Well, you lost me on this one, ladies and previous commenters. How is my personal choice to breastfeed my child “militant?” La Leche League has helped many women without other decent support, and last time I checked, they don’t team up to chase women down the street and slap bottles out of babies’ mouths. I never understood how people who never attended a meeting could have the nerve to call something militant. I think Sarah Palin is dumb, but I still listened to what she had to say, and I read every word on the McCain website in the interest of fairness. In my personal experience, La Leche League meetings are informal, non-judgmental places for breastfeeding mothers to get advice, ask questions, and meet other mothers.

    I am not one to pull out a breast and make a show out of it, and it’s really not necessary in that there are nursing clothes and slings and covers that make it very discreet. Not everyone can afford those, and not every new mother is immediately coordinated enough for “discreet,” however. If you do see something you don’t like, try looking away or excusing yourself.

    As for the walk and talk thing, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers breastfeed exclusively for 6 months, then start gradually introducing food, with breastmilk continuing until at least 12 months. Then they say that breastfeeding should be continued as long as mutually desirable thereafter. Whoa, a personal choice. The World Health Organization recommends a child get some breastmilk up until at least age 2. My child is over 2, and we are now starting the weaning process, and we do it inside the house only, but that’s more because I know someone is going to give me the stink eye than because I think it’s wrong. I don’t care what other people do, but I do care when other people are going to attempt to abridge my personal rights with the subtle pressure of whispering, staring, and snark. We’re OK with a black president, we’re starting to become OK with gay marriage, but heaven forfend a woman make a personal choice for her family.

  282. What annoys me about this issue: You have regular moms like me who breastfed, but who found very little support in the regular world.

    When you breast feed you are tied to your children. Not just to feed them, but because if you dont let that milk down like clockwork you can get something called Mastitis. a painful breast infection that can lead to hospitalization.

    The other issue with this is that, if there are no places for you to breastfeed, you cannot go anywhere. It limits your freedom and it shouldnt. I always covered up too. I didnt like breastfeeding in public at all, though I had to a few times when we went out to dinner.

    But the problem is there are people out there who think that they have to stare. That the act of doing this no matter how careful you are, makes it an affront to their visual stimuli.

    Granted they will go home, turn on the television, and watch some chick shake her silicone breasts all over the television, or even go to a strip club and pay someone to stick those puppies in their face, but for some reason, a woman—-Using those mammary glands for the reason they were made, is offensive.

    As if, one is not displaying them like inflatable toys, then it is you! Oh Breast feeding woman who has sinned–and not their dirty sex obsessed selfish mind.

    Now I didnt breastfeed until my kids were walking and talking. Some people are quite militant about it. I believe that its because they face such intense scrutiny and public insensitivity over the issue, that perhaps they overcompensate with their reaction.

    Women should not be chained to the Breast Feeding Chair at home with no social support, social interaction and no options. This is a free country. And Breast Feeding moms, every parent out there should be free to move about without constraint.

    Of course they have an obligation to use that freedom wisely–But those that don’t, shouldnt be the exception that makes the rules for the rest of us who are more considerate.

    I also went to Midwives to deliver my children and not doctors and didnt have my children in a Hospital.

    I have found that there are a variety of ways that this society tries to limit a woman’s freedom. Not just in terms of Birth Control and Abortion, but also how, when and with whom or where one gives birth.

    Women’s Rights are Special Rights. We should fight to change that and the only way to do that is to support each other in those choices.

    If women turn against other women, then we have nothing to complain about. Men dont keep us down, men simply step over the carcasses we create ourselves.

  283. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!!

  284. I agree with you ladies 100% (on a lot of things). If you must breastfeed in public, throw a blankie over yourself or something. Yes, it’s a beautiful and natural thing but no one wants to see that.

    PS. I used to call the La Leche women the “La Leakies”. I think they may be militant.

  285. Thanks for the post, and I agree with you. I love breast feeding and I breast fed all three of my children, but I covered it up in public and I think you are right on about the 4 year old, they can get a glass of milk!


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