When Boobs Collide – The Public Breastfeeding Debate

Milk. Got controversy?

I generally shy away from major internet controversies on my blog. Sure I’ll occasionally toss out some pretty heated opinions from time to time (Seriously, Star Wars: Episodes I – III never happened!), but I generally tend to avoid the big debates that set trolls all a flutter. Stuff like politics and religion.

Yeah, I’ll still steer clear of that dichotomy of controversy thank you very much. But it doesn’t mean I won’t share some thoughts on some of the more debatable topics that permeate the blogosphere. This time, specifically, I want to unclasp the breastfeeding debate.

Granted, I’m a guy and I will never be able to nurse a child. Heck, scientists are still baffled about why men even have nipples in the first place. Though we would look pretty odd without ’em.

There’s all sorts of debates surrounding nursing from the “formula vs. breastfeeding” angle to the “You-nursed-your-kid-until-he-was-11-years-old-are-you-insane” angle. But I’m not looking at either of those debates right now. (For the record, though, I’m 100% for nursing and if you’re still doing it with your 11-year-old, I think you both have some issues.)

No, the one I’m talking about now is something that’s very much out in the open. Public breastfeeding. Some find it very natural. Others find it downright disgusting and demand it only be done in extreme privacy.

Personally, I find it really bizarre that this is even a debate. Ask an advertiser the #1 rule in marketing and you’ll get an instant response of “Sex Sells.” It does. Just look around you. Anywhere. Magazines. TV commercials. Movies. Billboards. Heck, people just walking down the street wearing revealing outfits. I’m not bashing any of that. Just pointing out that we don’t just accept the sexualization of women (particularly their “girls”) but it’s highly encouraged.

Yet if a woman dares use those physical assets to offer life-giving sustenance to her child…. gasp… out in public, it’s suddenly the crime of the century. I’m not saying that women everywhere should just “whip ’em out” and start stuffing mammaries into babies mouths at every possible turn. Most women would actually do it discretely anyways, so I don’t see the harm at all. In fact, the more it’s done, the more natural it seems and suddenly this uptight society we’re in may become a little more cohesive. A little more supportive of each other.

What’s the best way to get a point across to the most people in the quickest time? Celebs. Yep, there are loads of celebrities taking breastfeeding photos out there. Alyssa Milano. Jaime King. And who’ll forget Gisele “Mrs. Tom Brady” Bundchen? They’re doing their part to show how natural and accepting it should be to breastfeed your child in public. There’s even a recent article in Yahoo! Parenting, The Problem With Celebrities and Breastfeeding Photos, that points to the fact that these celebs aren’t helping to push the acceptance needle at all.

Heck, our country (and the news for that matter) recently went bananas when Kim Kardashian showed off her birthday suit to the world while taking a champagne bath. All my Twitter and Facebook feeds were overflowing with this exposure, yet hardly any news was popping up about the fact that scientists landed a spaceship on a moving comet. Maybe it’s just me, but something seems drastically wrong with priorities here.

I know no one’s going to tell a celeb to stop breastfeeding in public. But what about all the millions of other non-celebrity women who do it? Or want to do it? Or are too embarrassed/scared to do it? It’s a real shame that we even have to have this continual discussion.

Allie nursing Ryan on the couch with plenty of people in the room. Totally discreet.
Allie nursing Ryan on the couch with plenty of people in the room. Totally discrete.

Being a parent is the toughest job in the world. I’m saying that, and I’m a dad. I can’t even fathom how much tougher it is for you moms out there, getting by on little sleep as you nurse your infants any chance you can get. Why then are so many people in an uproar over women doing nothing more than feeding their children?

My wife nursed both our boys for roughly two years each. She fed them in public all the time. She’d just sit down in the middle of the mall, grab her megaphone and shout, “ATTENTION! ATTENTION! I’M ABOUT TO WHIP OUT MY BIG BOOBS TO FEED MY CHILD. COME CATCH A GLIMPSE!” Okay, that’s a “slight” exaggeration. She never used a megaphone. But seriously, she’d sometimes use a blanket to cover things up or other times just a shirt. It was pretty discrete and natural and most people passing by didn’t even have a clue. She nursed them in restaurants, libraries, airplanes, you name it without a single complaint.

Nobody in this packed restaurant seemed to mind my less-than-formal eating habits.

Trust me, I’ve seen plenty of adults eat in a manner that’s highly offensive to me! Food flying out of their mouths at Warp speed while they talk and chew at the same time. Soup being slurped loud enough to wake the dead. It’s enough to make me lose my lunch. But do I demand the management throw them out of the restaurant? No. I do something completely crazy. Yeah, I just look away.

Where do you stand on public breastfeeding?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

13 thoughts on “When Boobs Collide – The Public Breastfeeding Debate”

  1. While I was unable to physically breastfeed my children I am very pro breastfeeding and I agree with your thoughts of sex sells and it is ok for a celeb or model to have more of their breasts exposed then most nursing moms due. quite the double standard.

  2. I have no problem with women breast feeding in public,the issue I have is it needs to be descret,cover up,its really not that hard to do,,a blanket,a handkerchief

  3. I am with you 100% on this issue. It’s completely natural. If no one likes it they don’t have to look and yes, most Moms are very discreet about it. Geez you crack me up! An 11 yr old, LOL and with the slurping and slopping of the food. I love reading your blog! It’s never dull. I am all for the Moms out there to breastfeed in public. I did. I rather see that than the freaks you described.

  4. I breast fed my son and daughter and took them to restaurants and other places, and I breastfed discreetly I do not want anyone to see my breast in public! I am shy and modest, and I just covered my baby up with a blanket. That worked for me! But I do not think that women should just let the breast all hang out for everyone to see in public. At home it is okay.

  5. Everything you’ve stated is so true and important. There are so many double standards in our society, it’s quite ridiculous. I don’t have an issue with breastfeeding in public at all. There’s barely any exposure and like you said it’s quite discrete so I don’t see the problem. People need to mind their own business, seriously.

  6. I completely agree with your post. I don’t mind breastfeeding happening in public as long as it’s discreet. I breastfeed both of my kids and kept it discreet. Thanks for taking on the subject!

  7. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on breastfeeding! I made the choice to breast feed my boys with the support of my husband. I remember the first time Zander got hungry while in public and I had a mini panic attack realizing that I’d have to feed him in public. It was then that a light bulb went off for me that feeding my baby was going to have to happen where ever we were when he got hungry. Luckily I only encountered one annoying lady that couldn’t believe I didn’t want to go sit in a tiny space to feed my child during my six years of breastfeeding. Even during the period that the boys liked to play peek a boo while feeding!


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