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A Dissenting Opinion on The Lactivists

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I am going to get in soooooooo much trouble here.

But I am going to have to disagree (somewhat) with the buzz right now among the Mommy Blogs.

Yes, I have seen the clip of the Bill Maher breastfeeding thing. And I have to say, I agree with the gist of most of what he says (even when he makes fun of my beloved iPhone!). Except for the DOG comment, which was obviously made for shock value… so whatever, dude. What can I say? He’s a massive jerk! But a funny jerk!

But before I go any further, let me just say this loud and clear: I absolutely, positively, 100% support breastfeeding. It is a natural, beautiful, healthy thing. I even support mothers doing it in public. Whenever they want.

What I don’t support is sitting in the middle of a restaurant and having to watch a boob in plain view and me trying to finish my meal. Listen to what Bill says. Yes, breastfeeding is natural – but so is peeing and picking your nose and clipping your toenails… but there are also times and places and ways to do it, and there may be people around you who are not comfortable with the sight of you doing it. If I understand the Applebee’s thing correctly, they weren’t asking the mom to stop breastfeeding… they were just asking her to do it a little more discreetly.

I realize some of my prudishness on the subject may come from the fact that I was never able to do it myself.

Declan was a 4 pound preemie and at the time (pre-breast reduction) I was a size H (for humongous) and we could not get the little guy to latch on. To be honest, the whole experience was humiliating and emotionally painful. I would dread our attempts at breastfeeding, when the lactation experts would grab my breasts and shove them into Declan’s face and the little guy would be just overwhelmed with their size and I would be overwhelmed with embarrassment and disappointment that I had to yet again turn back to the evil pumping contraption to extract his milk.

So, yes, maybe I am little biased.

But, sorry, I still don’t really want to see your boobs while I am eating dinner.

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Comments
  • comment avatar Amber Johnson September 25, 2007

    I, too am one of dissenting opinion. I’m not opposed to breastfeeding at all and managed to do it with both of my kids (though with great difficulty).

    However, I have always taken issue with moms who don’t cover up. I’m not against breatfeeding in public (because let’s face it–the baby has to eat) but discretion is often overlooked. It may not make the mother feel uncomfortable but guess what: many people around her are.

  • comment avatar Angela September 25, 2007

    I don’t know how anyone can really argue with your perspective. I think because nursing moms are “whipping it out” so much we don’t realize the impact we’re having on those around us.

  • comment avatar Karie September 25, 2007

    LOVE the Bill Maher breastfeeding bit. He’s a jerk. But a funny jerk!

  • comment avatar Gretchen aka mopsy September 25, 2007

    I don’t want to see MY boobs while eating dinner. Never mind yours, or anyone else’s…

    I am a pseudo-lactivist. Breastfed all six of my kids, in public, too—including restaurants. But I used a blanket over my shoulder.

    I am much more offended by middle-aged men who honk and sniffle and sneeze and nose-mine with hankies at restaurants than women feeding a baby.

  • comment avatar Aimee September 25, 2007

    Gretchen, oh my goodness! Yes! We have a rule in our house that you leave the table to blow your nose and I wish that would be enforced in restaurants too. Ick! 😉

  • comment avatar pisceshanna September 25, 2007

    I just don’t see how you can support breastfeeding, and then imply that it disgusts you at the same time. Saying you shouldn’t have to look at boob while you eat means you think the sight of a boob is gross. A boob is not gross! Plus if we are have the right to eat at Applebees, then why can’t our babies eat too? I am more disgusted how adults stuff their faces at buffets, and how my toddler mushes potatoes in her hair than if a baby is innocently (and for the most part SILENTLY) chowing down on a boob. And to what extent is “covering up” gonna satisfy people? We all know what the baby is doing under that blanket, so why cover it up? If you had the choice of breastfeeding in a clean booth at a restaraunt or in a putrid bathroom stall, which would you choose? Believe me, I’ve done both, and I shouldn’t have to choose the most unsanitary, uncomfortable, lonely option because other people have a problem with me.

  • comment avatar Aimee September 25, 2007

    PiscesHanna… I am sorry that you felt I was implying that I feel breasts are gross. I was just trying to say that, in society at large, breasts are generally covered up (the exceptions being Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton, of course) and it is usual and uncomfortable for some people to be at a restaurant eating with a boob in plain view. I get it that some Lactivists are putting it all out there on purpose to make it more of a socially accepted norm, and more power to them. I am just not comfortable with it, personally.

    And I would not want a person sent off to the bathroom to breastfeed, either. Ick! all I was trying to say is, there are ways to breastfeed discreetly in a restaurant… a small blanket, a tall booth, positioning at the table… that make *everyone* more comfortable.

  • comment avatar Lizzy September 25, 2007

    I am all for the modesty thing. A friend of mine says that people don’t get offended if they see a bottle sitting on the table, so they shouldn’t get offended when a breast is left uncovered. So, why does it bother me? I can’t explain it because for some weird reason I don’t get offended by people who use lemons for centerpieces and not for food, but I do get offended when a girl who does not have a baby to feed puts her rack on prominent display for aesthetic reasons. I guess I’m one of the unenlightened ones.

  • comment avatar No Cool Story September 25, 2007

    Sorry, I can’t stand not even one millisecond of Bill Maher 😉 (and I really wanted to watch it for Blog Interest sake, but alas…)
    Anyway. I agree 100%
    I breastfed both of my kids and I had a huge blanket to cover myself up: I didn’t want to subject anyone to my exposed breasts (even if I’m size A) . Yeah, as natural as it is and blah blah blah, sorry, please keep them covered.
    Like you Aimee, I support breastfeeding. But I don’t support exposed breasts, even if there is a cute innocent little baby at the end of it.
    Not because they are gross, or because I have an issue with female anatomy.

  • comment avatar Erica September 25, 2007

    I also support breastfeeding but would rather not see the actual boob. There are a lot of things that are natural and I don’t want to see those things in plain site either.

    I think it is possible to support something but not like all the things about it. This is just an example of that….

  • comment avatar Heather September 26, 2007

    I’m torn by this blog. I am an avid BF’er. I go to LLL meetings, I mentor young moms that are struggling with BF’ing. And I’m a woman who is not scared to stand up for my rights.

    “A time and place for personal things.”

    BF’ing is FEEDING your child. Let’s forget the “Breast” part of it for a second. Would you ask someone with a bottle to feed their child elsewhere, at another time more convenient to YOU?

    When an infant is hungry – its time to eat. Whether it’s formula or Breast milk. Whether it’s by bottle or breast.

    Now on the concept of “Modesty” yes, I agree, some people may flash excessive skin. But I do NOT support “Covering” the infant. Do you know that while BF’ing an infant’s temperature raises? Did you know that they sweat? It’s hard work! I sure know I wouldn’t want to eat my meal in a dark sauna – so why should I cover my daughter up?

    My mom made a good point “there are many other directions to look – your eyes aren’t prone to one direction ….” you can look up. You can look down. Or by golly, you can look at the people at YOUR table, and enjoy YOUR food … you don’t need to make a big deal out of my breast, which is 90% covered (99% when my daughter is latched on) and is tastefully draped by my shirt, at my table, where I am feeding my family.

    I believe that there are many BF’ing moms out there that are passionate about their cause. I am one of them. But I am not going to “Flash” you for shock value. I am going to continue to nurture my daughter when and where she needs it. If you want, I can show you some tips on BF’ing discreetfully without “Covering” your baby, and pissing people off. But the fact remains – society is leery of breasts. American people have “sexualized” them, when they were created for nurturing infants.

    I agree with the previous post – “I think it is possible to support something but not like all the things about it ….” but I don’t think it’s the BF’ing I don’t like, I think that its the people and their attitudes – there are hardly any of us at a “happy medium” it’s either “Feed your baby somewhere else” or “see my breast? I’m going to feed here, now, and you’re going to watch!”

    *shrug* as always, my two cents. I’m in 100%+ support of breastfeeding moms and their right to breastfeed ANYTIME, ANYWHERE. But tastefulness and respect is ALWAYS appreciated.

  • comment avatar pisceshanna September 26, 2007

    Saying I support breastfeeding, but you’d better cover up that boob is like saying “I support your right to be gay, just don’t you dare hit on me” or “It’s ok that you’re Jewish, just don’t bring your kosher food where I can smell it.” Its hyprocitical. Every time a young mom hears you say “I’m uncomfortable with seeing your boob” makes them even more uncomfortable with their desicion to breastfeed. OMG what if I accidentally flash some skin while i position the blanket? What if my baby de-lacthes and my nipple is exposed? What if my blanket falls off and everyone can see my boob? These things DO happen, and are things you should NOT have to worry about while breastfeeding. You should not have to worry about someone staring at you because you are holding the dreaded Taboo-b in your hand. Being a new mom is scary enough without the constant disapproval and judgement we place on each other. We should be supporting each other as mothers. If you support breastfeeding, you should realize that there is a boob involved, and if the boob makes you uncomfortable, how can you really fully support it? With so much public backlash against this, its a wonder anyone has the courage to stand for their right to feed thier baby in public.

  • comment avatar lori September 26, 2007

    I breastfeed my son, after great difficulties getting started, for almost a year, in private and in public. And while I tried to be discreet, my son wouldn’t eat with a blanket over his face. So, telling a mom to cover up isn’t always a solution.

  • comment avatar Norah September 26, 2007

    Well ladies. Keep your dissenting opinions to yourself. That would be respectful and supportive. Breastfeeding is a learned skill. It takes practice and 100% commitment. Over all it is what was meant for babies.

    What if you didn’t live in America? What if you’re spoiled selves didn’t have the choice to choose to bottlefeed? Or pump? What if all you had was your breasts? Would you deny your baby its nutrition? No. I think not. Would you still be interested in this argument? No. I think not. Infact, if it was actually physically impossible for you to breastfeed you would be begging the breastfeeding mother next door to feed your baby for you.

    Because you think using your breasts for what they are meant for is shameful is simply not a good enough reason for me to cover up if my baby might suffer heat exhaustion in the summer or refuses to latch on because she needs eye contact with her momma to feel comfortable. She is what I care about. Not anyone else’s effing dissenting opinion.

  • comment avatar Heather September 26, 2007

    I submitted a comment but it’s not showing up. I thought it was tasteful …. Hm.

  • comment avatar Heather September 26, 2007

    Here’s my orig. comment: I’m torn by this blog. I am an avid BF’er. I go to LLL meetings, I mentor young moms that are struggling with BF’ing. And I’m a woman who is not scared to stand up for my rights.

    “A time and place for personal things.”

    BF’ing is FEEDING your child. Let’s forget the “Breast” part of it for a second. Would you ask someone with a bottle to feed their child elsewhere, at another time more convenient to YOU?

    When an infant is hungry – its time to eat. Whether it’s formula or Breast milk. Whether it’s by bottle or breast.

    Now on the concept of “Modesty” yes, I agree, some people may flash excessive skin. But I do NOT support “Covering” the infant. Do you know that while BF’ing an infant’s temperature raises? Did you know that they sweat? It’s hard work! I sure know I wouldn’t want to eat my meal in a dark sauna – so why should I cover my daughter up?

    My mom made a good point “there are many other directions to look – your eyes aren’t prone to one direction ….” you can look up. You can look down. Or by golly, you can look at the people at YOUR table, and enjoy YOUR food … you don’t need to make a big deal out of my breast, which is 90% covered (99% when my daughter is latched on) and is tastefully draped by my shirt, at my table, where I am feeding my family.

    I believe that there are many BF’ing moms out there that are passionate about their cause. I am one of them. But I am not going to “Flash” you for shock value. I am going to continue to nurture my daughter when and where she needs it. If you want, I can show you some tips on BF’ing discreetfully without “Covering” your baby, and pissing people off. But the fact remains – society is leery of breasts. American people have “sexualized” them, when they were created for nurturing infants.

    I agree with the previous post – “I think it is possible to support something but not like all the things about it ….” but I don’t think it’s the BF’ing I don’t like, I think that its the people and their attitudes – there are hardly any of us at a “happy medium” it’s either “Feed your baby somewhere else” or “see my breast? I’m going to feed here, now, and you’re going to watch!”

    *shrug* as always, my two cents. I’m in 100%+ support of breastfeeding moms and their right to breastfeed ANYTIME, ANYWHERE. But tastefulness and respect is ALWAYS appreciated.

    ME? I could care less if they see some skin. Here, let me lend you my sunglasses. Or here, a magazine to peruse instead of gazing at the breast they so knowingly want to gawk at. This isn’t about me feeding my child. this is about THEM gawking at MY breast!!!

  • comment avatar Heather September 26, 2007

    why won’t it post my comment!?

  • comment avatar Heather September 26, 2007

    I’m torn by this blog. I am an avid BF’er. I go to LLL meetings, I mentor young moms that are struggling with BF’ing. And I’m a woman who is not scared to stand up for my rights. “A time and place for personal things.” BF’ing is FEEDING your child. Let’s forget the “Breast” part of it for a second. Would you ask someone with a bottle to feed their child elsewhere, at another time more convenient to YOU? When an infant is hungry – its time to eat. Whether it’s formula or Breast milk. Whether it’s by bottle or breast.

    Now on the concept of “Modesty” yes, I agree, some people may flash excessive skin. But I do NOT support “Covering” the infant. Do you know that while BF’ing an infant’s temperature raises? Did you know that they sweat? It’s hard work! I sure know I wouldn’t want to eat my meal in a dark sauna – so why should I cover my daughter up?

    My mom made a good point “there are many other directions to look – your eyes aren’t prone to one direction ….” you can look up. You can look down. Or by golly, you can look at the people at YOUR table, and enjoy YOUR food … you don’t need to make a big deal out of my breast, which is 90% covered (99% when my daughter is latched on) and is tastefully draped by my shirt, at my table, where I am feeding my family.

    I believe that there are many BF’ing moms out there that are passionate about their cause. I am one of them. But I am not going to “Flash” you for shock value. I am going to continue to nurture my daughter when and where she needs it. If you want, I can show you some tips on BF’ing discreetfully without “Covering” your baby, and pissing people off. But the fact remains – society is leery of breasts. American people have “sexualized” them, when they were created for nurturing infants.

    I agree with the previous post – “I think it is possible to support something but not like all the things about it ….” but I don’t think it’s the BF’ing I don’t like, I think that its the people and their attitudes – there are hardly any of us at a “happy medium” it’s either “Feed your baby somewhere else” or “see my breast? I’m going to feed here, now, and you’re going to watch!”

    as always, my two cents. I’m in 100%+ support of breastfeeding moms and their right to breastfeed ANYTIME, ANYWHERE. But tastefulness and respect is ALWAYS appreciated. ME? I could care less if you see some skin. Here, let me lend you my sunglasses. Or here, a magazine to peruse instead of gazing at the breast you so knowingly want to gawk at. This isn’t about me feeding my child. this is about YOU gawking at MY breast!!!

  • comment avatar Heather September 26, 2007

    Comment Re-try PART ONE (Breaking it in two!)
    I’m torn by this blog. I am an avid BF’er. I go to LLL meetings, I mentor young moms that are struggling with BF’ing. And I’m a woman who is not scared to stand up for my rights. “A time and place for personal things.” BF’ing is FEEDING your child. Let’s forget the “Breast” part of it for a second. Would you ask someone with a bottle to feed their child elsewhere, at another time more convenient to YOU? When an infant is hungry – its time to eat. Whether it’s formula or Breast milk. Whether it’s by bottle or breast.

    Now on the concept of “Modesty” yes, I agree, some people may flash excessive skin. But I do NOT support “Covering” the infant. Do you know that while BF’ing an infant’s temperature raises? Did you know that they sweat? It’s hard work! I sure know I wouldn’t want to eat my meal in a dark sauna – so why should I cover my daughter up?

    My mom made a good point “there are many other directions to look – your eyes aren’t prone to one direction ….” you can look up. You can look down. Or by golly, you can look at the people at YOUR table, and enjoy YOUR food … you don’t need to make a big deal out of my breast, which is 90% covered (99% when my daughter is latched on) and is tastefully draped by my shirt, at my table, where I am feeding my family.

  • comment avatar Heather September 26, 2007

    RESEND- PART TWO
    I believe that there are many BF’ing moms out there that are passionate about their cause. I am one of them. But I am not going to “Flash” you for shock value. I am going to continue to nurture my daughter when and where she needs it. If you want, I can show you some tips on BF’ing discreetfully without “Covering” your baby, and pissing people off. But the fact remains – society is leery of breasts. American people have “sexualized” them, when they were created for nurturing infants.

    I agree with the previous post – “I think it is possible to support something but not like all the things about it ….” but I don’t think it’s the BF’ing I don’t like, I think that its the people and their attitudes – there are hardly any of us at a “happy medium” it’s either “Feed your baby somewhere else” or “see my breast? I’m going to feed here, now, and you’re going to watch!”

    as always, my two cents. I’m in 100%+ support of breastfeeding moms and their right to breastfeed ANYTIME, ANYWHERE. But tastefulness and respect is ALWAYS appreciated. ME? I could care less if you see some skin. Here, let me lend you my sunglasses. Or here, a magazine to peruse instead of gazing at the breast you so knowingly want to gawk at. This isn’t about me feeding my child. this is about YOU gawking at MY breast!!!

    PS- I didn’t watch the Bill Maher thing – and I probably don’t care to! LOL

  • comment avatar Heather September 26, 2007

    I believe that there are many BF’ing moms out there that are passionate about their cause. I am one of them. But I am not going to “Flash” you for shock value. I am going to continue to nurture my daughter when and where she needs it. If you want, I can show you some tips on BF’ing discreetfully without “Covering” your baby, and pissing people off. But the fact remains – society is leery of breasts. American people have “sexualized” them, when they were created for nurturing infants.

    I agree with the previous post – “I think it is possible to support something but not like all the things about it ….” but I don’t think it’s the BF’ing I don’t like, I think that its the people and their attitudes – there are hardly any of us at a “happy medium” it’s either “Feed your baby somewhere else” or “see my breast? I’m going to feed here, now, and you’re going to watch!”

    as always, my two cents. I’m in 100%+ support of breastfeeding moms and their right to breastfeed ANYTIME, ANYWHERE. But tastefulness and respect is ALWAYS appreciated. ME? I could care less if you see some skin. Here, let me lend you my sunglasses. Or here, a magazine to peruse instead of gazing at the breast you so knowingly want to gawk at. This isn’t about me feeding my child. this is about YOU gawking at MY breast!!!

  • comment avatar Sage September 26, 2007

    I 100% agree with you! I am currently breastfeeding my son. I don’t see why a lady can’t feed her baby discreetly.

  • comment avatar Aimee September 26, 2007

    I wanted to thank you all for posting your comments, and keep them coming! Many have given me something to think about. I may never 100% agree with you, but I appreciate this forum for us to discuss it.

    And P.S Heather, I am sorry you were having posting problems!

  • comment avatar Brandy September 26, 2007

    My daughter has never let me put a blanket over her. I have tried many times. Even at home I tried to get her accustomed to it. When I put a blanket over her she rips it off which surely brings MORE attention to the fact I am bfing. I try to be discreet by wearing loose shirts but I hope that other people will also just look away.

    Also, Bill says bfing in public exhibits “poor planning.” He obviously has not spent much time with infants. They’re hungry when they’re hungry. Period. I suppose if a baby was hungry at an unexpected time and a mom was too embarrased to bf in the restaurant and let her child scream he’d have a problem with that too.

  • comment avatar Doodaddy.net September 27, 2007

    It actually sounds like you’re all pretty much on the same page, actually, which is the “reasonable” page. My wife breastfeeds in public, and when Boo was younger, even at the table. Boo wasn’t comfortable with a cover, but it honestly wasn’t that hard to be discreet… She wears loose-fitting clothes that more or less block any view from the sides without covering the baby, and baby blocked most of the “view” anyway. I suppose there was a little moment during latch and unlatch when someone might have noticed nipple if they’d looked *really* hard, I kind of doubt it.

    As a stay-at-home dad, I’ve been around breastfeeding women a lot, and I’ve never seen anything inappropriate. Breastfeeding is an intimate act, and so I look away gently, like you might upon seeing really good friends in an intimate hug. *Not* because it’s gross, but because it’s personal.

    The funny thing about this debate is that I’ve never seen anyone to be especially indiscreet on either side of the question — I’ve never known a breastfeeding mom to be silly about flaunting her breasts, nor an anti-breastfeeding person to be silly enough to take offense. And when either happens, it makes the news.

    I think breastfeeding is fantastic and should be practiced whenever and wherever moms and babies feel is right. And I’m going to continue to look away, (gently, not in an offended way), because that just seems polite.

  • comment avatar Norah October 6, 2007

    Thank you Doodaddy. I don’t believe bfing mothers ever are purposfully indiscreet. Like you said its personal…but it is also just the way babies were made to eat. It is also goog that you said that it should be practiced whenever and wherever moms AND babies feel it is right. You are a stud. We need more men like you in the parent community!

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  • comment avatar Kagey October 29, 2007

    There is point people seem to be missing in this discussion. If a woman is wearing a low-cut shirt, showing much more than I typically do while BFing, she is not asked to leave the restaurant or cover up. When my dd didn’t like to have her head covered while BFing, my dh would help shield me until dd had latched on, and at that point, I was showing less skin than, say, our server in the babydoll t-shirt. What people seem to object to is not the amount of flesh showing, but that it isn’t being shown in a sexual manner.
    The thing that squicks them out is the IDEA of a boob being used for food not for sexual titillation. And that’s what bugs me the most about people objecting to BFing in public!

  • comment avatar dave April 29, 2008

    This is kind of a tough subject with no simple solution. Every one of us is unique, and have our own reasons we might agree or disagree on public breastfeeding. When I’m trying to eat, I dont wanna see any type of bodily function, because it skeeves me out. Nothing against the breast, or even breastfeeding.I just dont wanna think about about the ingestion of bodily fluids while I try to enjoy my milkshake, no more than I’d like to think about where that milkshake came from in the first place.On the other hand, the guy in the next booth may be sexually aroused by the hole thing.
    My stance (in spite of being skeeved out once in a blue moon) is that I neither condone nor condemn public breastfeeding. Just keep in mind that you dont know what’s going through the heads of the people in your surroundings. Try to breastfeed in the same way as you would be smart to do anything in your daily life: with caution and consideration.

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