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Breastfeeding in Public: A Bare Breasted Mother's Response
by Tiffany Devol


April 11, 2005

I would like to respond to a letter published recently by Karen S. Hollywood of Ketchikan, AK. Imagine walking into a restaurant and everyone you see has blankets covering their faces while they eat. "How on earth can they breathe?" you wonder as you take your seat and peruse the menu. Several men nearbye are eating heaping plates full of food and it smears all over the blankets as they are unable to get the spoons to their mouth because the cotton keeps moving in the way. Frustrated, they tear off the blankets and throw them to the floor, their hot red faces sigh with relief and their hair is slick with sweat.

What person would actually eat this way and in this day and age of equal rights for infants and anti abortion, why on earth would any human being force an infant to eat while nearly being smothered? If it were not bad enough to be asked to breastfeed in a toilet, now we are being asked to restrict oxygen to our nursing babies all because some woman cannot handle the fact that her husband might see some cleavage. I venture to say that a woman afraid of her husband seeing cleavage is a very insecure woman and should perhaps work on her marraige through counseling. Breasts are for breastfeeding and the only people who make it anything other than that are those who have been socialized to see breasts as sexual. In other countries women walk topless and nurse their babies and no one bats an eye lash. There are not increased rates of adultry there, so why the big fear here? And as far as children are concerned, children of breastfed parents do not see breasts as anything other than a feeding tool. Ask my six year old son who openly discusses breastfeeding in public and at school because he sees his 12 month old brother breastfed inside the home and out every day of his life.

The problem with your view point regarding breastfeeding is that your argument against nursing in public makes no sense. Have you tried to cover a squirming infant with a blanket? And why should you sacrifice your baby's health and comfort for some stranger who is a bit uncomfortable and can leave any time they wish?

I find it appaling that this country is not more protective of a mother and baby's right to breastfeed and it is through women who openly nurse in public that the benefits of breastfeeding and the normalacy of it spread to other mothers. I am not a "closet breastfeeder" and I feel that women who only breastfeed at home and take bottles of expressed breastmilk or worse, formula out with them in public are just setting back the cause of breastfeeding ten years.

So to all you mothers out there who are breastfeeding your babies, do not be afraid to go out in public and share the benefits with others. The more of us that do, the more normal it gets so hopefully our daughters and sons won't have to deal with these petty and ridiculous issues in ten more years.

Tiffany Devol
Oak Ridge - TN - USA


Related Viewpoint:

letter Breastfeeding in public by Karen S. Hollywood - Ketchikan, AK - USA



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