“You don’t have to whip your boob out. You should be discreet and modest about it.”
“I would never just walk around with my baby sucking on my boob.”
“I’m all for breastfeeding and support breastfeeding in public BUT….”
Have you heard these gems before? Or maybe you have spoken one or two of them yourself…If so then you might have “Lactaboobiephobia”!!
I actually believe that not only do I NOT have to be discreet about it, but I will advocate until the day I die for women to be able to breastfeed wherever they happen to be and however they happen to do it. Boob out, boob covered, blanket over the baby, sunshine on the baby, at the park, in the ocean. We DO NOT have to be discreet about it…
(Let me be clear I am not saying every woman needs to have her boob hanging out when breastfeeding. If you like to use a blanket then great! I support you 100%. What I don’t support is someone telling me, or anyone else that they have to cover themselves or their babies if they do not want to).
6 reasons I do not have to be discreet while breastfeeding in public:
- My breasts are not for your sexual viewing pleasure or discomfort. My breasts are for breastfeeding. It is literally why I was born with them. They provide nourishment, hydration, comfort and pain relief among many other things. I understand that for those of you who have grown up in a culture that has sexualized breasts, it can be uncomfortable as your entire life you have been programmed to see breasts as sexual. Yet, my breastfeeding, lactating boob is not sexual. It is feeding my baby. Or toddler. My children have never liked having a hot blanket on their heads while eating. Just imagine for a moment eating or drinking at your local cafe with a blanket draped over your head. Weird isn’t it? Well, its weird for my baby too.
- It is irrelevant and illogical to compare breastfeeding to urinating or defecating in public. Therefor the reasons for being discreet about peeing and pooping have nothing to do with discretion while breastfeeding.
How is it different? For many reasons…Peeing and pooping in public is ILLEGAL . Breastfeeding in public is not…Peeing and pooping is NOT involved with nourishing babies. Breastfeeding IS involved with nourishing babies. Breastfeeding also meets every single need a baby or toddler has…Peeing and pooping in public poses a health concern for people. Breastfeeding in public does not.
- Just because breasts are SOMETIMES sexual, does not mean that they are sexual at any given moment. Our mouths are sexual sometimes too, that does not mean that I cover my mouth while standing in line at the grocery store. Feet are also seen as sexual by some people. I don’t see people telling me to be more “discreet” with my footwear though. I did put a blanket over them this morning though while I was sitting at the park. I was cold, and my feet don’t mind having a blanket over them.
- Putting a blanket over my baby’s head is annoying for my child, uncomfortable for me and actually quite difficult when you have your baby trying to throw it off continually during the feed. I saw a woman at the park the other day with a blanket, trying to latch her newborn on while her baby was thrashing around pulling the blanket down and getting cranky. Not an easy task.
- In many countries around the world we have a legal right to be able to breastfeed wherever we are WITHOUT putting a blanket over us or being “discreet”.
- I was born with breasts so I can feed my children when they are babies and as they grow. The sexualisation of breasts is actually cultural and has nothing to do with the biological purpose of why we have them. So it is actually YOUR problem if you see them as sexual at that moment. Not my problem or my hungry baby’s problem. Asking someone to be “discreet” or “modest” is only happening because you are uncomfortable with the sexualization of my breasts. People see half naked women constantly on billboards, magazines and TV without people saying a word about it. Put a breastfeeding baby on one of those half naked boobs though and the, “OMG! How can she just whip her boob out like that?!” comments come flying…
How can we support women who are breastfeeding in public?
- Go up to them and let them know how awesome it is to see them breastfeeding in public.
- If you are currently breastfeeding, do so with confidence and without feeling the need to cover up or “be discreet” for other people’s sake.
- Support women breastfeeding in public without a, “UNLESS” or “BUT” after it. Just support women breastfeeding full stop!
Women have been feeding their babies “in public” since the beginning of time. Just because some of our societies around the world have sexualized breasts does not change the fact that the reason we have them is to feed our children.