Her Bad Mother

Friday, August 8, 2008

You Got A Problem With My Boobies, PUNK?

Yesterday, I took my brood to the library. It's a lovely library, with soaring ceilings and vast windows and big, plush leather chairs and - of course - miles and miles of books. We settled into a corner of the children's section on a comfy sofa, Emilia with a stack of picture books and me with Jasper, on the boob.

It was raining outside; we were damp from our walk. Droplets of rainwater fell from my hair onto Jasper's cheek and he pulled away, gurgling his disapproval. My breast dropped from his mouth and sagged, exposed, below the edge of my yanked-up t-shirt while he squawked.

"He's mad at you, Mommy," Emilia remarked without looking up from her book. "Because your boobies are wet."

I laughed, and almost didn't hear the polite coughing from the nearby stacks. A woman stood there, books in hand. She didn't meet my gaze, but looked over toward a table of computers where three young boys - probably eight or nine years old - sat playing a game. She coughed again and raised her eyebrows in their direction. Her meaning was clear.

I tucked my wayward breast back into my shirt and pulled Jasper upright. My immediate impulse was to be embarassed, contrite. To gather up my children and my things and go find somewhere else to nurse, somewhere where I wouldn't risk exposing young boys to the indecent display of my breast. To feel badly for making such a naked display of my motherhood in front of children.

My secondary impulse was to let my boob drop out from beneath my shirt again and use my free hand to make an indecent gesture at the woman.

I did neither. I simply looked away and pulled Jasper closer to my chest, tucking him against my breast so that his pale round head covered the pale round globe of the boob. And struggled to control my anger.

That woman had hit a nerve. Had we been at a bus stop, or a park bench, surrounded, say, by seniors, and someone had directed a disapproving look my way, I would have ignored them. But this woman had articulated her disapproval on behalf of children. Her problem, she implied with her look, was that I was exposing children to something inappropriate, something indecent. And for a moment, I bought it, and felt ashamed. Surely young boys shouldn't see an exposed breast in public, right? Why, that would corrupt them!

Bullshit.

It's so ridiculous as to not even be worthy of explaining, but still. Sometimes important things need to be stated as loudly and as often as possible: BOOBS ARE NOT DIRTY. BOOBS ARE NOT SHAMEFUL. BOOBS SUSTAIN LIFE. OF BOOBS PUT TO THEIR NATURAL PURPOSE WE SHOULD BE PROUD. OF ALL BOOBS WE SHOULD BE PROUD.

Women who nurse - and, for what it's worth, women who don't nurse - should feel proud - and should be made to feel proud - nourishing their children anywhere, anytime, in front of anybody. Especially in front of children, who, more than anybody, need to know that a mother nursing her baby is a natural, beautiful thing. That breasts aren't just something for adults to leer that. That the human body is built for amazing things, and that the life-sustaining miracles that it performs are nothing to be ashamed of. Of course we teach them that some beautiful and satisfying things are private - but a mother caring for her baby is not one of those things. It is for everywhere, and should be celebrated.

It's World Breastfeeding Week this week. It should be a week for celebrating our freedom of choice in how we nurture and nourish our children. Instead, all the stories about nursing that I've seen have provided more evidence that we don't really have that freedom. A woman who was nursing in an H&M store in Vancouver was sent to a change room to nurse her infant. A woman on a WestJet flight was asked to cover up with a blanket. A woman nursing her baby in a library in Bowmanville, Ontario, got the stink-eye from some random stranger. We were - we are - all of us, at some point, made to feel ashamed for mothering.

Sure, we protest. But I'm getting really fucking sick of needing to protest. I'm tired of it. And this is why it sucks (no pun intended) (okay, sort of intended) so much: when women are made to feel ashamed for breastfeeding, they're being shamed at the most vulnerable times in their lives. They are exhausted. They are stressed. They are, often, struggling with depression. And still they fight on, working so, so hard to care for their babies. They are champions. And yet it is during this time, the most trying time of their championship, while they struggle to keep their footing and to keep going, that others kick them down and shame them.

And that just makes me so angry that I can't even see straight.

I'm not going to protest. I have no spare strength for protest. But I will do this: I will continue to bare my breast for my baby at every opportunity. Any time, any place. And if anyone so much as looks at me askance, I will look right back, and I will say - if only with my eyes, although I so wish for the courage to speak these words aloud - YOU should be ashamed of yourself for trying to shame me. You should be ashamed for belittling a mother. Shame on YOU.

And I will hope that my daughter is there to hear it.

Baby got boob.

********

Okay, for serious now, I am taking a small break, just a few days. There'll be some guests here while I spend a few days restoring myself. They'll take care of you. I'll be around reading comments and such, but mostly I'm going read and rest and flash boob. Wish you were here, don't you?

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135 Comments:

Blogger Dawn Johnson said...

Oh I could just go off but since I would be preaching to the choir I'll just shout out an AMEN! instead and go on about my way.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous MrsWaltz said...

I SO want to leave the emoticon thing for boobs here as a mark of support, but I am too far past generation TXT to know it. Instead, I'll settle for stealing the best (and shortest) pep talk I ever got:
Tits up!
Enjoy your (flash) break.

1:05 PM  
Blogger Whirlwind said...

That's BS. I have never had to defend myself while breastfeeding - even when I breastfeed in public (bookstores, zoos, stores) and in a state that doesn't protect the rights of breastfeeding mothers.

1:09 PM  
Blogger Marinka said...

My children are 7 and 10, so it's been a while since this was an issue for me personally, but it still enraged me so much, on behalf of all of us. How fucking Victorian do we have to be? Are there not enough studies out there that show the benefits of breast feeding? Why are we so scandalized by the sight of a breast?

Maybe I'm just in a mood today, but I feel very discouraged.

1:11 PM  
Blogger MissAnna said...

I'm still a good 5 years away from breastfeeding but I (and so many others my age) appreciate what all the mothers are doing (and have done) to gain acceptance in public (for a totally NATURAL act).

And I will certainly let it all hang out as needed when it's my turn. Stink eyes or not.

1:15 PM  
Blogger CaraBee said...

So well said. I'm currently breastfeeding and I frequently feel looked down upon when I nurse my child in public. I am not waving my boobies around, I am not juggling them lasciviously, I am discreetly pulling my shirt up and almost immediately covering the "offending" protrusion with my baby's head. It breaks my heart that so many people feel so critically of this beautiful and natural activity.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

AMEN!! And thank you.

(from another lactating lady)

1:24 PM  
Blogger cIII said...

I have always been fascinated with the female body's ability to house a fetus for 9+/- months and THEN produce nourishment for said fetus. You ladies got the cool bodies. (Save for the PMS. That sounds like a Drag.)
All I got was this lousy penis. Stupid penis.

1:30 PM  
Blogger Immoral Matriarch said...

I'd whip out a tit and stare down anyone who had the nerve to look at me wrong. Bastards. I had no problem nursing in public.

And I'm still disgusted that our society has a problem with it.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen! Amen! Amen! Enjoy your break, and your boobs :)

1:44 PM  
Blogger Lasha said...

Thank you!

My daughter only recently stopped breastfeeding, but when I started, I thought I would want to use a blanket or something for a little privacy. Instead I found that it was a huge annoyance and didn't work anyway, so I quickly became comfortable nursing in public. Luckily, no one ever challenged me directly on it, as I'm much more outspoken in my mind than in public!

2:06 PM  
Blogger Brandy said...

Go boobies - go!! (o)(o)

Love the "baby got boob" pic! Too cute!

I tended to use a cover of some sort with my son Aiden but that was mainly because I am VERY well endowed and his little head barely covered half my boob, much less made it more discreet. I just felt more comfortable that way but that was MY choice. If anyone had ever tried to shame me about nursing in public they would have gotten a major earful, that's for sure.

I am currently 8 months pregnant with my 2nd and breatfeeding her is one of the things I have looked forward to most during this pregnancy. People who feel a need to make it a "dirty" thing or something to be hidden obviously have issues of their own to deal with. You keep whipping that boob out! :-)

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Karen said...

“when women are made to feel ashamed for breastfeeding, they're being shamed at the most vulnerable times in their lives”

Thank you Catherine…from the bottom of my heart thank you!

You know – as soon as I saw the subject line in my reader I knew what this was going to be about…
and that’s a damn shame…

My youngest nursling is 7 years old now and still…STILL…I remember the disapproving look and suggestion that I “take THAT to the restroom” when I was feeding the little guy at my older son’s baseball game, sitting on a blanket under a tree at least 50 feet away from anyone but my own family (and I hate that I feel I need to tell you I was that far away – as if feeding the munchkin while sitting in the bleachers with the other parents would have been a bad thing)…It hurt..I actually started to gather my things with the thought of heading to my car and watching from the parking lot when one of the coaches (big tall intimidating kind of guy) walked over, sat down with us, smiled and said “Don’t even think about leaving because of her – let’s see if she says anything now” and stared the betch down. I’ll always remember that gratefully, but I was humiliated and wish it hadn’t been necessary.

I might not have the time or energy to protest either, but I do try to make sure I always give a mother nursing in public an encouraging smile and if it’s a social kind of thing try to include her in the conversation and make her feel a part of things rather than isolated from the main group…I always hope it helps the mom to feel proud and sets a positive example for others.

Well – I didn’t intend for my story to get so long – I just wanted to encourage you to keep on being proud of those boobs!

2:19 PM  
Blogger heels said...

Boob flashing? I do wish I were there! ;)

Stay strong, mama. You're the one in the right.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Amelia Sprout said...

I agree, whole heartedly. It is a shame, but by not giving in to her, you're changing things. You're doing good, even if it doesn't feel like it. You're amazing. Have a good rest.

2:46 PM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

A most excellent rant.

I think the best protest is a good offense. Hmmmm, I don't think that is how the saying goes, but I think just doing what we need to for our babies, whether in public, with family, at home, in the middle of the night, whatever, is the best form of protest.

Here's to hoping you have a good recharging time.

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Penny said...

Well said. Amen and bravo and all that shit.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

I have chastised and shamed countless obnoxious strangers for hassling me while breastfeeding my daughter - all in my mind. I had some great witty retorts and shame-speeches all ready, and nobody ever gave me any trouble.

Oh well. I mean, hooray? Hmm...

:)

3:10 PM  
Blogger caramama said...

A-freaking-men!!! So well said.

I love that picture! That's what children should think is normal. That should be just as normal as holding a baby doll and giving it a bottle.

Have a nice break. :-)

3:15 PM  
Blogger Sass E-mum said...

Maybe I'm lucky to live in a family friendly place - but I breastfed everywhere. I'd sit up at the counter of snack bars with babe at my boob - chatting with friends and acquaintances.

I used to walk around the house with babe on the boob while briefing the builders on work to be done.

NOONE had a problem. My instinct on getting any hassle would have been to laugh. What's to complain about - it's lovely, natural, cheap and keeps a baby from crying.

Go girl! Smiling at those fools will enrage them and strengthen you.

3:25 PM  
Blogger Anissa Mayhew said...

I remember a gentleman who gave me the stink eye at the food court at the mall. My son got him back for it in a huge way because he chose during a particularly forceful moment of milk chugging to rear back his head and cause milk to spurt across the table..where is met with the back of stink-eye's head! I nearly dropped my son at the look of extreme horror on that man's face when he realized what had happened. I may not have helped the cause, but oh lord, did it make me feel better.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Jenifer said...

Both my girls have fed their babies at their breast. I could not agree more with this post!

3:34 PM  
Blogger Petunia Face said...

Adore the pic of the baby breastfeeding her baby. Pure perfection.

--From one mommy who didn't really breastfeed for a myriad of very legit reasons but wishes she could have if only to take out her tit in a library in front of children.

p.s. I despise the word 'tit' but I'm leaving it because it gives my point a little punch.

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Momily said...

As a children's librarian who works in a good sized public library this makes me LOL and shake my head at the same time. What the "ahem, tsk, tsk" woman is probably unaware of is that the tween boys were probably sneaking a peak at porn on the (more than likely) filter-free public internet stations!!

I find a lot of libraries are ahead of the game and provide comfy space or a room for moms to breastfeed in . . . most surely "allow" it in the PUBLIC space that is the library. We don't have a designated space per se at my library, but anyone who asks me is told they can do it wherever they are comfortable and i always start my parented programs by saying if you need to breastfeed just go right on ahead while we shake our sillies out and visit the big red barn.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Black Hockey Jesus said...

FREE THE BOOBS FROM THEIR PRISONS AND THROW AWAY THE LOCKS!

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Momily said...

ach - peek! although they may have been sneaking a peak in other ways!

3:56 PM  
Blogger Maremone said...

You expressed thoughts I was never quite able to put into words, so well! Great post. I agree with you totally that women should not be shamed during this time in life. Maybe that woman would have been better directed to head over to the youth section and give the evil eye to teenage girls with thongs and cleavage hanging out in front of 8 year old boys.

4:06 PM  
Anonymous Vicki said...

I just love you to pieces. I swear if you get much more awesome, I might have to move to Canada just to hang out with you. I SO TOTALLY AGREE with you on this. I never EVER give a woman the stink eye for feeding a baby. That is the most glorious thing any one of us can do for our children. To give them nurishment and life sustaining antibodies from our own bodies is a miracle in itself. No one chastises the other animals in the world for feeding their young by breast, why should others be so inclined to do it to us?

4:28 PM  
Blogger cathy said...

Amen, sister! Breastfeeding is not a dirty thing, and it's sad that we're made to feel like it is.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Disclaimer: I breastfed my boys and used to take bottles with me to public places because I did feel very uncomfortable whipping out a boob at a restaurant. And I regret that I didn't have the courage to just do it. I did, however, nurse in a playground once or twice, but I made sure that the rest of the people there couldn't see the slightest bit of flesh.

And I know I'll probably get stoned for this, but, while I don't discourage breastfeeding in public and I applaud all moms for breastfeeding, I just think that a little discretion is the better part of valor. I have two boys, and while I would explain to them that yes, breastfeeding is a natural and healthy thing, I really don't want them seeing all breast either, the same way I didn't want them to see the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction, or see women walking around in their underwear on TV. I don't see anything wrong with keeping things a littly mysterious when it comes to the opposite sex.

So yes, if there's a mother breastfeeding in my or my boys' presence, no, I wouldn't shame her, because I know she's doing the best thing for her baby, but I would at least hope that she'd not just let it all hang out so we could see EVERYTHING. Like it or not, breasts are still sexual things, and overall, having them hang out makes others feel uncomfortable.

HBM, I love your blog, read it faithfully, and generally agree with you on just about everything. Even this post! But I cannot change the fact that I would feel awkward if I was somewhere with my boys and a woman whipped out her whole breast and started nursing without some bit of discretion. I'm not selling nursing mothers out, I just don't think that the general public needs or wants to see EVERYTHING. The act of nursing a baby? Sure, no big deal. The whole breast that's nursing the baby? Sorry, I have my own two that stare me in the face everyday. I don't need to see yours too. Neither do my sons.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Kyla said...

Love that photo.

At BlogHer, Mimi, Amy, and I were discussing this type of thing...and it seems that the disdain of breastfeeding is much more prevalent here in the US. It is a shame that it happens anywhere at all, though.

5:29 PM  
Blogger Britt said...

i had an old man go out of his way to stare at me with contempt for my bfing. i stared back at him for about thrity seconds, and just as i was about to offer him the other one he went away.
jerk.

5:31 PM  
Blogger BreezieGirl said...

Excellent post. Very excellent.

5:38 PM  
Blogger BreezieGirl said...

Excellent post. Very excellent.

5:38 PM  
Blogger mothergoosemouse said...

Fuck yeah.

Right there beside you, sister.

6:09 PM  
OpenID snarking said...

I know it will sound like so much sunshine up your skirt, but you are so fucking inspirational. Seriously, I am honored to take up space on the same internet as you, not to mention having my drivel posted on the same blog as you.

I wanna give you a big hug, or maybe a feminist fist bump.

Enjoy your rest, and flash your boobs with pride and defiance.

xoxoxoxo
(Snarky) Amber

6:28 PM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

As the mother of a boy, I hope my son sees many women breastfeeding in public. I have never taken steps to prevent him from seeing nursing happen and I will never do so.

I want him to grow up considering nursing to be an ordinary and natural thing, and I want him to understand from early childhood on that, whatever other fun purposes they may serve, breasts are primarily for feeding babies. If he chooses to marry a woman some day and have children, I want him to encourage his wife to nurse and support her if she chooses to do so.

A boy will only be upset by seeing breastfeeding in public if someone has taught him that he ought to be. Breastfeeding is not a sexual act and there is nothing inappropriate about doing it in front of children.

The only way we can change our society's unfortunate taboo regarding nursing is to raise our own children to regard it as ridiculous.

You can flash your boobs at my kid anytime, Catherine.

6:32 PM  
Anonymous in the news... said...

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/080807/national/breastfeeding_protest

7:20 PM  
Anonymous merlotmom said...

Oh, I'm sure that ol' lady flashed a boobie or two in her day (maybe not for breastfeeding though). She's just jealous cause boys no longer wanna look at her droopy bags of curd. You go girl.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Mandy said...

Some of my friends went to the H&M protest. If I were still breastfeeding, I'd have made the trek too. The store was pretty quick to "retract" what they said, but I'm amazed that it even happened. I breastfed both my kids just about everywhere in public and never once, ever, had so much as a sideways look. I guess I was luckier than I realized.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Jack's Mum said...

I love the picture - she even has the 'football hold' correct. She will make an excellent mother one day.

8:05 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

I have to play devil's advocate - is it possible she was just pointing out the boys in case you hadn't seen them? Not everyone would be comfortable showing their boobs to 8-9 year old boys (heck, I'm a guy and I don't even like taking off my shirt at the pool!), so she might have just been alerting you to their presence. Maybe?

Of course, she could have been one of those idiots everyone else is talking about. Lord knows my wife caught some comments while breastfeeding in public.

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Ree said...

It's simply amazing to me, (who, incidentally, couldn't breast feed my son), that such a wonderful, natural thing still has to be protested. That women don't understand this. That women who complain that they're seen as objects are the ones who complain about breast feeding the loudest.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Chelsea said...

I know you can't see me, but I am totally giving you a standing ovation right now for that post... I am lucky that I have only gotten supportive comments while breastfeeding - but I am awaiting the day when I can really give someone a piece of my mind for challenging me....

9:31 PM  
Anonymous ceeb said...

okay, I'm going to be the voice of dissent.
I am a mom who bottlefed both my children. I wasn't comfortable with the sucking boob thing. I really don't know why. And when I see people breastfeed, it kind of weirds me out a bit. I've seen my friends nipples and it's made me uncomfortable. Intellectually, I understand that it's life-giving and natural and all those good things. But... it makes me feel icky. (yeah, I'm in Grade 3. I really don't know how else to describe it). Seriously, do I just have some boob issues or does anyone one else out there feel the same?

9:36 PM  
Blogger Pgoodness said...

nicely written (as usual!). And you're right, shame on them for trying to shame a mama feeding her baby. What in the world?!

Great picture, too!

9:37 PM  
Blogger Mommato2 said...

Ohhhh....this really hits a nerve for me. Both of my children, one, gasp is even an almost 8 year old boy, know that they were fed by Mommy's breasts and that is really good for babies....

Don't let them get you down, and keep on nursing your baby ANYWHERE ANYTIME!!!

9:46 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Anonymous, ceeb - I totally get that some people feel uncomfortable about seeing any boob, and while I think that we should be trying to move past that, as a culture, I would never force my boob down someone's throat (um... that didn't sound right). What I mean is - I do try to be discreet. I don't wave them around. But neither do I want to force the discomfort onto myself or my baby, just because someone else has hang-ups. And they are, totally, hang-ups. Whether it's us, and/or an attitude we're transmitting to our kids, it's a hang-up. Breasts are only sexual in sexualized contexts. And if we accept (sexualized) cleavage in fashion but don't accept (non-sexual) nursing boobage, there's something really, really wrong with our culture.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

I should add - I get uncomfortable with the whole 'seeing boobs makes some people uncomfortable' argument, because I totally want to respect other peoples' comfort, and I don't want to dismiss someone's feelings on the matter of what causes them discomfort - but I also don't think that nursing should be on the table as something contestable on the basis of it causing discomfort. My baby's right to be fed trumps any other person's right to not be made uncomfortable.

I don't say this to bat away anyone who comes here and wants to articulate their discomfort - I'm totally open to hearing about that - but I want my very biased cards on the table at the same time as I welcome the disagreement.

10:09 PM  
Blogger Brandi said...

Thank you.

I just weaned (mainly because I was just tired of it) my youngest and he turns 2 next week. Two years, not two months! I sometimes feel I should get a medal for all the askance looks I've put up with. However, I don't know if I was in the right place at the right time or what but I have been approached by several women over the years who thanked me for nursing in public with no shame. I never just whipped it out on the table so to speak but my son would not tolerate a blanket, he wanted to look around so I let him. There were times, at play areas, when younger children would approach and ask me what I was doing, I just told them feeding the baby. Some babies drink their milk from a bottle and some prefer their milk from a mommy. Kids are usually just curious, unfortunately, nursing is not something they see every day. But they should.

So, because of the encouragement I've received from those few anonymous women I usually smile at any women I see nursing and if we make eye-contact, I'll thank them for nursing openly as well.

I guess it's a pay-it-forward kind of thing maybe it would help if all of us did that. Start small but it really makes you feel better to know not everyone is disgusted.

11:18 PM  
Blogger heffernhyphen said...

I tend to view Nursing In Public as my own little PSA, and I broadcast often. My little nursling will be five in a week. Yes, that's five YEARS, not months.

I have such fun watching the faces around us. Raised eyebrows? Sometimes I think they'll twitch 'em right off their forehead.

11:22 PM  
Anonymous ceeb said...

"My baby's right to be fed trumps any other person's right to not be made uncomfortable."

HBM - I totally agree, honestly. And I would never want any mother to even consider how their breastfeeding might make other people feel.

What I'm really asking is, do any other mothers/women feel uncomfortable with boob suckage? I know many women bottlefeed because they couldn't breastfeed, didn't produce enough milk, etc.

Me? the thought of it just freaked me out. Am I alone in this?

Maybe I am the true Bad Mother...

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Columbia Thorndale said...

All I can say is Thank you for this entry.

12:13 AM  
Anonymous Shadow said...

Agh FFS. Having nourished all 3 of my kids, whenever, wherever they chose I guess I was very lucky that no-one ever commented. I was ready for them though - prepared myself with "but it's ok for you to eat in public" and other such niceties.

Well done for standing your ground, politely. I think I would have given her a mouthful of MY thoughts.

1:20 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I'll never, ever understand why nursing a baby is scandalous.
Oooooh nipple.
Spare me.

1:46 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Breast of luck!

3:01 AM  
Blogger Mimi said...

Wow. That *is* bullshit.

But that picture of Emilia makes up for it all, I think. Who cares about moron grownup when the kids can get it, right?

(sorry, man)

6:17 AM  
Anonymous Lydia said...

Yup, I BF at our pool and no one seems to mind. Or if they do they sure don't say it! Cause I would whack 'em.

The picture is great! I just found out from my almost 4 year old son's teacher that he "fed" a baby doll at preschool. Made sucking noises with his mouth and everything.

Clearly a liberated man!

6:56 AM  
Blogger NG said...

It never fails to amaze me how people walk around with skirts so short and tight the WORLD is their gynecologist, and no one complains about that. We see more boobs on the front of People Magazine in the grocery store checkout aisle than we do when someone's breastfeeding, but no one complains about that. But whip out a little snippet of bosom and then cover it up with a baby's head and everyone's all "The sky is falling, the sky is falling."

7:31 AM  
Blogger becks said...

My son breastfeeds his stuffed animals quite proudly, "See Mummy?" he'll say, "I'm feeding (reindeer bear, teddy, elmo etc) my baby milk!"
I breastfed him until he was a year and had to stop because my nipples were too sensitive due to the 5 month old baby growing i my tummy... His sister is now 1 1/2 years old and I'm typing this with one hand because she is sitting on my lap, nursing.
If I encountered disapproval during my first year of breastfeeding her, or the year I fed my son, I certainly didn't notice it.
It's the past 6 months or so that I've noticed the looks of disbelief, disapproval, disgust even. In a restaurant a few months ago I heard a girl of about 20 or so say to her boyfriend, "Does she have to breastfeed at the table!?" The boyfriend looked suitably embarrassed and as the rage bubbled up inside me all I could do was fix her with the coldest look I could muster (which at least made her turn her attention elsewhere) but there I was sitting in a family restaurant, there were children and babies everywhere, AND I happened to have been organized enough that day to have brought my nursing canopy - which I was using. There was no boob exposed - she was simply objecting to the mere idea of breastfeeding. For all she knew my daughter was having a private nap under there.

Breastfeeding is a natural function of our bodies - it's also one of the hardest things you'll ever have to master and unlike most skills we develop, it doesn't get easier. Sure, you learn your baby's cues for hunger, you get a feel for how your baby needs to be latched, you can even train your baby to stop biting you - in the comfort of your own home, breastfeeding goes from an anxiety inducing activity rife with feelings of inadequacey and physical pain to smooth sailing in a matter of weeks. In public on the other hand we are constantly being met with that wall. With evil eyes, sarcastic comments, general public disapproval.

I always take comfort in the fact that with all the breastmilk this child's consume, she's gonna be a friggin' genius.

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You *so* rock!!! Thank you!

Rebecca

Vinca Leaf Quilts

8:16 AM  
Blogger nomotherearth said...

Hear, hear!

9:12 AM  
Blogger Miche said...

I have to say it makes me really uncomfortable when I see a mother giving her baby a bottle, I mean doesn't she realize what she is doing???? I still nurse in public, discreetly but not secretly, and my dd is 28 months old. She is not so discreet sometimes and will say "I want NUUURRSEEE" it is rather cute the way she says it. I also agree with so many on your comments about never trying to hide from my older kids when someone is breastfeeding in public. I think it is good for kids to have exposure to good parenting and great nutrition. I actually saw a baby in its carrier carseat at Walmart ( of all places) with a bottle of red stuff propped up. How disgusting is that?
Michelle

9:37 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Oh, Ceeb, I don't think that you're at all unusual to have felt the way you do, I really don't. We're so conditioned to think of breasts exclusively sexually. I just think it's a shame that so many women feel that way..

And? I don't think anyone should feel badly, ever, for bottle-feeding their baby, for any reason. We should all be free to choose.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Meg said...

When I was struggling to learn to breastfeed my daughter, one of those Looks would just make it so much worse. I was frustrated, tired, and ready to give up already and I didn't need leering strangers to make it that much harder. I don't think people realize how much mental damage they can cause a new mother. I've been trying to make it a point to encourage moms that I see nursing in public, if only to counter-attack all those other trolls!

9:56 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Ceeb, see this - http://www.temporarilyme.com/2008/08/08/washroom-stall-for-two-please/

10:01 AM  
Blogger Patois said...

I just wonder if that woman in the library would have pointed you out to the eight-year-olds if they had been girls rather than boys. And I suspect that she probably wouldn't have.

I had the same brief feeling of shame whenever I felt the disapproval of someone as I breastfed, but it quickly manifested into anger. Perhaps that's why my youngest, whom I breastfed longest, is such a fighter. I must have been putting out angry juice!

Great post.

10:59 AM  
Anonymous lavandula said...

oh catherine i love that pic of emilia nursing her baby.its so cute.i have breastfed all 4 of mine in public.and yes people stared and said stupid stuff sometimes.and i would smile and keep feeding my child.on the rare occasion when i was having trouble relaxing and trying to feed crying screaming unhappy baby and someone would stare or say something i would just give them a withering look and continue.sweetie don't let those narrow-minded judgemental people make you feel bad or uncomfortable for doing something as beautiful and nurturing as feeding your child.hell i wish i was still nursing a babe so i could spend the next week or is it month of national breastfeeding week/month whipping out my boobage and feeding a baby defiantly in front of all those idjits who have problem with it.if you don't like it or our that uncomfortable don't look at the breast feeding mamas !...sorry HBM you have a well-deserved break and we will all be nice to your guest bloggers.hugs to you.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Kristi said...

I understand your anger, but could I suggest a different thought?

You said that the boys at the computer were 8 or 9, right? Maybe she was just trying to point out that the boys are going to start behaving inappropriately from seeing a boob. I mean, that's STILL wrong and as parents its our job to expose our kids to age appropriate issues and for whatever reason breast feeding in public is still so taboo.

Maybe she shouldn't have been worried about someone else's kids seeing something that SHOULD be normal for ANYone to see, but I'd really like to think that maybe she meant well... and acted bad. Does that make any sense at all?

I love the fact that your little girl thinks nothing of it but an adult worries about how kids will handle it. You really had a way of saying this on here. Maybe you'll see her at the library again and can have a chat with her. She needs to hear it!

11:28 AM  
Blogger crazymumma said...

amazing isn't it that the breastfeeding in public issue still raises so many eyebrows. So sad.

Flash away HBM, you have great boobs!

12:14 PM  
OpenID talea said...

I see nothing wrong with providing your child with the basic requirements of life, such as FOOD.
People are morons and overly sensitive about everything nowadays. Oh God, not a part of the natural human body!
I bet they'd give you even worse stink eye if you'd refused to give him the boob and let him cry and wail. They'd love that.

12:41 PM  
Blogger smiles4u said...

Amen, Amen, Amen...breast fed all my kids too. It's really sad when something so perfectly normal and natural is made to be something to hide. Great post! Have a great much needed break!

1:04 PM  
Anonymous MiniMammy said...

I have a wee tiger called Caitlin who is now 8 weeks old. We were in the library a few weeks ago and she decided that she needed feeding RIGHT NOW! We sat in the childrens section while she fed: there were a few kids around with their parents and I felt so self concious that it was a while before I fed in public again. Whether the looks were imagined were real or imagined breastfeeding in the UK is also still seen as somewhat inappropriate and embarrassing for other people. last week i started feeding in public again; as I got a bit mad that I was feeling like that, when my daughter needs feeding that's all I need to know...next time I get any looks I will look straight back and like one of your commenters has said 'I'll offer the other boob' and then laugh my arse off...

I loved this post, you've boosted me up like a wonderbra (o)(o)

1:10 PM  
Blogger Stacy said...

Best. Post. Eva.

I love it!!

I was freaked out about nursing in public. Now, 2 years later, I am freaked out by what I thought before I was a mom about nursig in public.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Lorna said...

I nursed all three of my kids and I remember several times being pissed that people expected me to go into another room, a bathroom, or starve my child because they were squeamish about a boob. I never caved to them though I'm proud to say, but my favorite incident came to mind as I read your post.

We were in a restaurant having dinner with friends sitting at a table in the corner. I was faced away from the whole restaurant and only the people in my party could see me. I heard people at the table behind me talking about how they couldn't believe I was doing "that" right at the table and how I should have gone in the restroom. I got up, turned around, with the baby still on my boob, and said "If you think the bathroom is such a fine place to dine, why don't you go eat in there?". That shut them up.

7:19 PM  
Blogger just beth said...

I can't believe what a hot topic this is! For those of us who nurse and those who didn't... some of those who didn't nurse take it as judgement by those of us who do, and those of us who do walk around on eggshells trying not to sound judgmental to those who didn't! I'm on my third baby,(second in two years) and I've just finally come to a place where I can at least stare right back at whoever is doing the 'stare down', without feeling embarassed. It's such bullshit. What about MY right to feel comfortable? Or my baby's? I'm so tired of always putting everyone else first. Grrrr!

Thanks, I guess I needed to get that out!

xo

b.

8:34 PM  
Blogger Loralee Choate said...

We are thinking about having another baby and I know that I am not going to be able to nurse (For OH, so many reasons) and comments like Miche's make me shudder with the judgment I look forward to.

So, I appreciate your comments about bottle feeding.

As for the nursing,I would never expect a nursing mom to go into another room to nurse. EVER. It is such a hard job, and the baby's needs come first.

However, I also appreciate it highly when discretion is used. Although I would never say anything, I get uncomfortable when I see women just whip it out with no effort to be at least a little discreet. I truly have tried my best to have it not, but there it is.

It's kind of like...peeing??? It's a very necessary function that is carried out by life-giving organs that are also sexually functional. I would never hold needing to urinate against someone as it is completely necessary and vital but if it has to happen in an area where there is no restroom (and all of us have been there at some point), try not to flash your groovy bits too much?

Probably a very lame analysis, but it's all I could come up with.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Jenine said...

I breastfed all three of my children. Currently they are 17, 5, and 3. You can imagine the difference in breastfeeding right and comfort between when I was nursing 17 years ago and just several years ago.

Back then, I went to a car or a restroom. It was not 'natural' to breastfeed in public. Not in this country. But I still did it.

When I was nursing two little ones, it was all public, baybee! I got wonderful support from my friends and family. We would go out in public together most often and my husband was always there and ready (boy was he ready) to get in someone's face if they didn't like it. However, he never got the opportunity because I was very lucky in that no one ever complained whereever we went. No one shouted praises in my direction, or even gave me a understanding look either, but at least they didn't complain.

People in this country really need to get with the times, get their knickers out of a twist, and just get over themselves. Breastfeeding is THE BEST for everyone involved and the public eye can just go poke themselves until blinded if they don't want to see the beauty around them.

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought of you and this post today as I breastfed my five-week-old daughter in public for the first time. She started fussing as we waited for our breakfast to arrive at our favorite restaurant, so I moved to the bathroom to latch her on (I haven't yet figured out how to get her latched without flashing everyone in a room), and promptly came back out to take a seat. There was a preteen boy sitting at the table right next to us, so I was nervous, but encountered no overt judgment. I was probably more uncomfortable than anyone who may have figured out what I was doing, actually. But I did it, which is a step in the right direction. Keep on keepin' on --- your post helped me me brave when my daughter needed me. -Chan

9:46 PM  
Blogger Jenine said...

Oh, I forgot one other thing. As far as exposing children to a breastfeeding mommy and baby... well if those children were breastfed themselves, they'd have no problem with it.

My 5 year old, when she was younger, saw a women walking around with a blanket over her shoulder, breastfeeding her baby in a store. She turned to me and said, "Mommy, look! That baby is having a little snack." How cute is that!

9:47 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Loralee - one of my very best friends - who has four children - was never able to breastfeed, and I was always horrified by her stories of being approached by people and chastised for using a bottle. How a mother chooses to feed her baby is nobody's business but her own, and no mother should ever feel shamed for whatever choice she makes.

The breastfeeding/shame nexus is tricky, though. I totally understand that some people don't want to be flashed. Once upon a time I wouldn't have wanted to be flashed. But even if I still felt uncomfortable around someone else's bare boobs, I would stand by their superior right to nurse (over my right to not be made uncomfortable). I know you're not challenging that right, and I happen to be one of those women who strives for discretion (because I'm shy), but even the thought that other people are around me wishing that I'd cover up makes me feel shame. Sometimes, one can't help the boob slipping out - baby moves her head away, the latch breaks, whatever. When I snapped at Guy Kawasaki's party, part of it came from frustration at not being able to get Jasper to stay on the boob - he kept squalling as my boob hung out AT GUY KAWASAKI'S POOLSIDE, and the only thing that kept me sane was knowing that odds were good that most people at the party would not be made uncomfortable by that stray boob. Had I been anywhere else, I might have lost it entirely - the anxiety compounded by shame would have been too much.

ANYHOO. Long-winded response. Long way of saying that I wish that no-one was made uncomfortable by this. So that we could all feel empowered, always, everywhere, in these choices.

10:39 PM  
Anonymous Lu said...

AMEN! I nurse my son and it is beautiful and necessary and I am SICK of strangers, friends, and families making me feel bad for something so natural.

Someone asked me the other day "Where should I look when you are nursing?" And all I could say was "WHAT?! Where do you normally look when you talk to me? How about my face dumbass!"

11:13 PM  
Anonymous Angella said...

As a Mom who has been both a breast feeder...and a bottle feeder (reasons too long to list), this was perfect.

NO ONE should feel uncomfortable around a feeding baby, regardless of the source. If they are?

They are free to walk away.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Loralee Choate said...

This would be one of those lovely comments I make that I totally regret making. On the re-read, man...do I sound harsh.

What I regret not vocalizing in my comment (You know, because I was way too busy writing that hideous "Peeing analogy" is that I feel my embarrassment about this issue is a FLAW of mine.

I wish I didn't feel uncomfortable regarding it. I have nursed and I have loved it. I have also been stressed out and shamed by it.

I need to examine why I get embarrassed when someone who doesn't opt for any discretion breast feeds in public. I had a pretty shame-based upbringing but still...

It's a hard thing to examine, because I feel like I should know better. I'm 33, I've nursed three children. This shouldn't embarrass me like it does.

Ok, no more rambling. I absolutely adore you and I hope none of this was taken the wrong way. Sigh.

11:18 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Oh, god, Loralee, don't regret your comment. I totally get what you were saying. I get the shame too well.

Nothing was taken the wrong way! These kinds of comments make the discussion richer - bf'ing isn't as straightforward as 'rah-rah yay boobies!' because so many of us ARE so vulnerable to shame.

xo

11:26 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I just silently think that vegetable oil is the number two ingredient in formula when I get these looks. I just ignore and let the babe nurse away. Your kid is way more important! Besides I find that men are almost always more accepting of nursing whether they are 8, 38 or 78 years old. Any age in between...

1:27 AM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

I would on one hand be inclined to give the woman the benefit of the doubt in thinking that maybe she was pointing out that those boys are entering the age where they will get silly about these things and you might not WANT to be the object of that...

and yet, isn't that all the more reason they SHOULD see breasts put to another use? Because by grade five, more than half of boys have seen some internet images of naked female flesh in the least realistic of forms and poses? Because boys at that age are starting to get curious about boobies, and maybe it would be a positive thing for them to see them in an everyday light, where it's not all about airbrushing and men's pleasure? A more holistic view of them might just be a good thing, if you ask me.

Though I'm not sure the giggling would be worth it to me. If they even noticed, which they likely would not have, since boys at computers in libraries tend to be pretty intent on the screen.

3:12 AM  
OpenID strawberriesandwhine said...

You are so right. I suffered 10 weeks of bleeding nipples, and am still getting up every 3 hours at night to give my son what is best for him. I am, quite rightly, pretty damned proud of myself. And, no matter where I am, if my baby is hungry, I will feed him. I am lucky to live in Europe, where people seem to be a bit more relaxed about the whole thing (how we laughed at the outrage over Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction), but still have got some looks from people. It's sad...

4:02 AM  
Anonymous supertiff.com said...

i fear the day when i a) get pregnant and then b) become a mother, because i can't even get through half of this post without starting to cry.
in related news, i have been looking for a second job ( the economy is TOTAL crap in michigan) and if you want, i could just follow you around with a baseball bat when you're out in public, and then just whomp people on the head when they have the nerve to shame you.
let me know, i'm totally available.

4:53 AM  
Blogger karrie said...

Well, let's hope she never allows her boys to wander into the science section.

Obviously it was all about her discomfort since it sounds as if the boys did not even notice or care.

6:58 AM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

My breastfeeding days are behind me (and I had a couple of negative reactions while nursing in public), but I'm so happy to see you and other moms standing up and fighting for the right to nurse where ever, whenever. There should be no backlash or negativity associated with this very natural act. Soldier on!

2:16 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Amen, Hallelujah! I'm still trying to get out of my shell , but I'm getting better all the time at baring my boobs for my angel.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Kimberly C said...

It sucks that this happened to you- I never had anyone shame me in public, but MY FAMILY was not okay with breastfeeding, at all. My mom was more or less okay with it,and supportive, my brother and father act as if I am molesting my child or something- my brother less so- his wife attempted nursing but had an unwilling child (LC said- wow, I have never seen a newborn fight to not be held as much as this one. That's my niece.:)-)but my brother TRIES, it just makes him uncomfortable to see his sister nurse, whether I am covered or not. I was left going into another bedroom to hide for my daughter's marathon boobie sessions- I just wanted to socialize, Dammit! Instead I am kicked out to another room, like nobody would have ever thought to do if I had given her a bottle. Bullshit.
I just don't understand people like this.

4:15 PM  
Blogger clueless but hopeful mama said...

Thank you so much for this. Incredibly well written, as usual, and just plain RAD.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Desiree said...

Hear, hear! I hope when I am breastfeeding no one will have the audacity to make a comment like that. They'll likely find a foot in their ass if they try!

5:19 PM  
Blogger THopgood said...

I really hope that when the next person gives you the "stink eye" you'll find the courage to say what you wrote. And then I hope you'll post about it so I can say "here-here" and send you a cyber cheers...

9:10 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

karrie - the boys didn't notice or didn't care. they didn't give me a second look. perhaps THEY had breastfeeding mothers...?

10:08 PM  
Blogger The Super Bongo said...

From your story . . . it appears that the woman was all hot and bothered for nothing . . . the boys she was so tenderly concerned for never even looked around at you did they? I think you found the real pervert!

12:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I breastfed my daughter for 3 months and son for 7 months and EVERY DAY was a struggle and I persisted until I really felt i could no longer do it and switched to formula. I have to say that I bristle at the few little digs in here at bottle feeding moms. I am very pro-breastfeeding and breast is best, but at a certain point it gets kind of Gestapo-ish. I don't think women should be judged either way and i find it a bit hurtful that some of the same women who are angry about being judged for breastfeeding in public would make derogatory remarks about women who choose to or have to bottlefeed.

1:59 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Anonymous - I'm very sorry if you found anyone's comments here hurtful. I hope that I've made it plain that *I* do not in any way judge the use of a bottle. *I* have used the bottle in periods of nursing-related desperation (and after my daughter self-weaned at 8 months), and I have seen women get persecuted for bottle-feeding. NO mother should be shamed for nourishing her child, however she does that.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Laural Dawn said...

Honestly, when I compare the looks I get now vs when I was breastfeedig my son 4 years ago I'm amazed.
With Matt I used to get comments all the time both positive and negative.
This time around people kind of ignore us. It's nice.

11:24 AM  
Blogger apathetic bliss said...

Hallelujah sista!!!!
The fact that this is even an issue pisses me off. Feeding your child is not a sexual act and the breast is continuously oversexualized in N America. How come a woman can walk down the street with a tiny skirt and her boobs falling out of her tank top and it is acceptable but a woman discreetly feeding her child is offensive? This is a N American phenomenom; when are we going to catch up with the rest of the world?

11:38 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

It's sad that breasts are so overly sexualized in our society that one commenter compared breastfeeding to Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfuntion. Victoria's Secret ads show more boob than a breastfeeding mother. Perhaps if more boys and girls could see what boobs are really about, this debate could end for the next generation.

11:46 AM  
Anonymous samara said...

not everyone is sympathetic to the breastfeeding mother.

i've found a resource that will help with some tips,http://hrbaby.com/page.php?go=482 for ideas

1:39 PM  
Blogger Tiaras & Tantrums said...

WELL SAID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1:54 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I've breastfed my son all kinds of places, and nothing will make me stop doing it.

However, I'm very discreet. It actualy makes my husband uncomfortable so for his sake I'm careful to cover up when possible, or I wear nursing tops.

I could care less if people see my breasts. I'm rather proud of them actually and would show them off freely if I could. Heh.

But, because I don't want to make others uncomfortable I take care to be as discreet as possible. Rarely is there a need to whip it out for all to see from my experience.

3:14 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I've breastfed my son all kinds of places, and nothing will make me stop doing it.

However, I'm very discreet. It actualy makes my husband uncomfortable so for his sake I'm careful to cover up when possible, or I wear nursing tops.

I could care less if people see my breasts. I'm rather proud of them actually and would show them off freely if I could. Heh.

But, because I don't want to make others uncomfortable I take care to be as discreet as possible. Rarely is there a need to whip it out for all to see from my experience.

3:14 PM  
Blogger ML said...

Well done!! Brava!! I've never been able to articulate all that and you did it so well. Made me proud just to read it, saggy as I may be.

7:48 PM  
Blogger mo-wo said...

I had a very similar rainy day at the library. I don't think I quite got any looks that day, but I've had them. I considered it fortuitous that my toddler was enjoying the story Sheila Rae the brave while her brother gobbled up.

Also, I'm sure lots of folks think it's silly but I am all for signage. I love those blue breastfeed here signs. You know like this one.

We are getting them more and more around time. I know it is a give we can breastfeed anywhere but I like the encouragement these signs represent. I wish there were more of them. I almost wished I could care 40 or 50 around and when i found a supportive site give them one to post because it means something when a coffee shop, museum, pool, bookstore, bike vendor, or god knows LIBRARY is rated as some where good for a feed.

10:52 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Mo - I'm ambivalent about those signs. I wrote about it over at BlogHer - http://www.blogher.com/baby-booby-go

We've started getting them in Ontario, and you're right that they provide some encouragement. But I worry that they might send the message that bf'ing is ONLY okay in BF-Safe Zones marked by such signage.

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Stacy said...

Thank you.Thank you.Thank YOU!
This posting has given me the courage I need to stare down the next person who tries to make me feel shame for nursing my baby in public. Even friends have made me feel shameful for nursing openly in their homes! (yes I know, are they really friends?) Again Catherine, beautifully written and well said.
And also? The picture? BEAUTIFUL. Just ... awesome.
Thanks for standing up for mothers everywhere.

11:57 AM  
Blogger Joe Girl said...

Amazing, amazing, amazing. Every WOMAN, mother or not, nursing or not, should read this post.

You hit the nail on the head.
Excellent.

First time commenting here. Extraordinary blog.

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Oh, I forgot one other thing. As far as exposing children to a breastfeeding mommy and baby... well if those children were breastfed themselves, they'd have no problem with it."

That's kind of a dumb remark. What kid really remembers being breastfed??? (Unless they were nursed past the age of 3). I nursed my kids, and I can tell you that, at their current ages (12 and 9), they don't remember it.

And while HBM has graciously commented about some of the judgmental remarks made here about women who DON'T nurse their children, I'd like to add how offensive it is to me, and I nursed my kids. What if one of those women you're criticizing is an adoptive mother and can't breastfeed? Some of the commenters here are enraged that they are judged, but they are quick to judge others...

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Karen said...

You so inspire me everyday! And thank you for using all the words I can't think of. Here are a bunch more breastfeeding photos.
http://peckedbyducks.com/2008/08/12/a-boobs-gotta-do/

7:05 PM  
Blogger the calm before the stork said...

You rock.

My boob is out with the masses.

What's funny, this post reminded me -- never said anything about this at the time, or in BH08 posts, but the lactation room at BlogHer... it was small, uninviting. I didn't use it. Passed it on my way to and from Sesame Street suite. Nursed in panels and in the cafe instead. I'm sure they meant well, but the little lacti-room looked like confinement/banishment to me.

Just thinking out loud here. Per the comments about the happy lacti here signs.

At least all are well-intended.

8:04 PM  
Blogger womaninawindow said...

They're real good for selling things.

10:00 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Anon - I agree (as should be obvious) that we really, really shouldn't be judgmental of *ANY* choice a mother makes about nourishing her child (some mothers bottle feed because they simply aren't able to nurse. Some do so because BFing was just too difficult - I came close to this. Others because they've adopted. Others just because.) But let's also refrain from referring to each others' comments as stupid. (especially since the gist of the comment you refer to was probably along the lines of 'if a child is exposed to breastfeeding, he/she will think it normal - as he/she should.' Which is right, I think. Of course most children won't remember being breastfed themselves - but they might remember their siblings or cousins or babies in the library being nursed.)

Anyhoodle.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

calm before the stork - TOTALLY. I refused to use the lactation room. It was a cell.

10:15 PM  
Anonymous The Yummy Mummy Cooks Gourmet said...

Hey! Just found you via Black Hockey Jesus but wanted to send you some love for this post.

I saw last night on Chow.com a bunch of nuts slamming women for breastfeeding in restaurants and I posted their ridiculous and jaw-dropping comments on my blog this morning.

It's always good to hear from women who got boob and love it. You go, honey! And know I am right there with you, with my shifty eyed-looks at the naysayers.

Power to the boob.

Kim

12:01 PM  
Anonymous The Yummy Mummy Cooks Gourmet said...

Oh yeah and I am soooooooooooo linking you.

You rock, sister!

12:04 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Yummy Mummy - your link doesn't work - what's your url?

12:26 PM  
Blogger the calm before the stork said...

In case YM doesn't stop back by, I found her:

Yummy Mummy

Cheers!

2:26 PM  
Anonymous gurukarm said...

Hah! I love the pic. Immediately reminded me of DD putting her babies up under her shirt so she could have a baby in her tummy like her aunties (later when I was pregnant w/DS her baby brother she was *much* too mature (at 5 :-) ) to do that anymore).

4:52 PM  
Blogger Haley-O said...

This is my second full year of breastfeeding (one year per baby), and I've heard it all -- most disturbingly, from my own family, and even from the hubby who doesn't like when I do it in public (grrrr...). But, I keep on keeping on. It's hard, man, indeed. The exhaustion, the cravings, and, for me, the weight -- since I don't lose any weight until I stop nursing. Oh, the sacrifices.... Champions..., indeed. Thank you.... Hope you're enjoying your break. :)

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just found you and I think I LOVE YOU!

My story: I was feeding DS at a restaurant so discreetly that our waitress didn't realize I was nursing, and she was standing next to me. She asked if she could get anything for him, and I replied that he was happy with his lunch. She laughed, said she didn't realize and went on her way. Apparently someone at the next table WHO I HAD MY BACK TO was offended and loudly complained to the manager. The entire place went silent. The manager told her, just as loudly that if she didn't like it, she could leave. The place erupted in APPLAUSE when she stormed out. I've never felt so loved and protected by strangers before. It made up for the guy at the mall who asked me "Wouldn't you be more comfortable doing that in the bathroom?" I'm a betch, so I replied "Ewwww! What kind of freak are you that you like to eat where you shet?" He was embarrassed and walked off, but still, we mama's should never be made to feel like what we're doing could be viewed as wrong! Parenting is hard enough!

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, this is the first post I've ever read on your blog... and even if I wasn't a nursing mama, I would love you.

6:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel so grateful for my father who was the first one to make me feel comfortable and at ease with nursing my daughters in public. He was waiting at our house when we brought our first daughter home, and it wasn't long before she was hungry. I asked him if it would make him more comfortable if I nursed her in my room. He looked me straight in the eye and said that I should nurse her *anywhere* I was comfortable and that *nobody* should have a problem with a new mama feeding her baby. My husband was extremely supportive as well, but somehow having Dad give me such unconditional support stayed with me wherever I went. I only wish my dad was with you when that lady in the library gave you that look.

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The UK is really in the dark ages when it comes to breast feeding. A lady near was spat at and had a yoghurt thrown at her for feeding her 6 week old in a bus stop - she's gone on to be a breastfeeding support worker so hey it's all good.

The best comments are when people turn round and say "but it's just not natural!" Yeah, go figure.

I was actively encouraged not to breastfeed by family, and sneered at when I did. They then found great pleasure when I failed - "see, we were right" uh, no you weren't, my milk dried up idiot.

I wish I had the balls to go upto women who I see breastfeeding and say "great job!" but I'm always convinced they'll think I'm nuts.

And how come breastfeeding moms can do 7 things at once? One mum was feeding her baby and managed to catch my escaping 18 month old while I couldn't even hold a bag and run at the same time...!

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In reference to the person who mentioned that kids don't remember being breastfed - they don't remember being bottlefed either, so what's the difference? Natural is what you make it.

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we see boobs on TV? Nope. Do I want to see your boobs out in public? No I don't.

Breastfeeding in public isn't that bad, but please throw a wrap around you or something. I don't actually want to SEE anything.

7:45 PM  
Blogger jenB said...

I don't want to see a lot of things in public, but breastfeeding in public makes me happy. Like many, this rankles my rankles!!! My friend got asked to stop breastfeeding in IKEA several weeks ago, she was told it was making people uncomfortable. She wrote a letter to the Canadian head office.

I just don't understand, who does not want to see a boob? Especially in such a natural way. Natural is not what you make is breastfeeding IS "NATURAL".

Kick ass and take names Catherine. You are fantastic and so is your little girl.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Finnskimo, its more than just a name... said...

I am so glad I found you! :) I have to say that I breastfed both my kids until they were THREE. Yes...three. I live in NORTH-fucking-Alaska...where a gallon of milk costs me eleven bucks, and its fresh-frozen, and a can of formula, had I been unconscious and had to use it, would have cost me $35. Seriously.

I faced all the stares and ugliness here, and my dang mother breastfed until she was like five or some crazy thing like that! Its the Eskimo, I guess!

Ugh...why is it that someone can SMOKE A STINKING cigarette, and pollute my daughter's lungs, but I can't bust a nip out to feed a crying baby!?

Just don't get in my way when my kids want to nurse, I dared anyone to say something, cause I'm kind of a smarty pants, and had a great comeback for EVERY SINGLE one. Ugh. OK...now I"m getting upset over nothing! Amen to your post, your blog and especially your daughter!!! (My daughter STILL does it and she's SIX.) :)

7:24 PM  
Blogger Jackie said...

Amen! I don't have any kids yet, but I sure as hell plan to nurse them when they're hungry, and I'm not going to a bathroom or somewhere "private" to do it.

People really need to get over this whole Puritanical America shit.

4:38 AM  
Blogger weberly said...

Seriously I had tears in my eyes when I read that. I know it sounds corny but, I did. I nursed all three of my kids ,the last time it was twins and all of the times I had to take my kids to a dirty stinking bathroom and try to balance on a toilet that I never would have sat on other wise it just made me livid.It made me literally sick the thought of eating my meal while smelling others....ugh . So I would take them to the car or try to hide (not so easy with twins) I have even bought a movie ticket so they could nurse in a "clean" place while we were out for the day.I can tell you of the times that I have gotten the look or had a "stalker" while nursing in the parked car. You know the guy who watches the whole time hoping for a little side boob action and when he doesn't get it looks at you like he is completely disgusted....I love that guy.The only thing that I could do about it was when we were home then it was our time, whenever they wanted in the tub, on the couch wherever whenever to make up for putting them off in public or hiding them away in the bathroom like we were doing something dirty. Thank god they are babies, how low would my self worth be if every time I ate MY MOTHER had to hide me or people would make us both cry?
So what was my happiest moment? when my one year-olds at Christmas decided to get each others"muckles" in front of everybody at the family party.Woot! Go lil' ladies show all those prudish grown ups that they are for something other than hooters t-shirts.

6:36 PM  
Blogger weberly said...

P.s I almost forgot ...I have never had anything against bottle feeding .I nursed all of mine past three,but, I have had a family member to get almost despondent about the fact that the baby wouldn't latch on because she was inverted. He is completely lactose intolerant and has now gotten a prescription for his formula.....The guilt that she feels is just about enough make me want to cry about it.She just kills herself about it. We have both extremes in our family .Those that are life long nursers and those that find it completely disgusting. My ex-MIL fed all her kids Pet cream for crap sakes. All I could say is just Feed the baby booby, bottle, medicine dropper,whatever it takes to nourish your little people do it and never be ashamed cause meeting the needs of a child can be done in so many ways.

7:22 PM  

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