A California ad campaign may have onlookers doing the double take. Why in the world has that woman been there all day nursing her child?
That blonde with the baby? You’ll see quite a bit of her if you live in Marin County She and two of her friends will hang in public places doing the unthinkable for hours on end: breastfeed in public.
And what’s even more surprising? She won’t even flinch when she gets the stare down from slack-jawed gawkers.
These “ladies” are actually life-sized photos of women feeding their children, an effort by lactivists to make people more comfortable with public nursing.
Lactation consultant and Marin Breastfeeding Coalition member Susan Martinelli points to the health benefits as part of the reasoning behind the ads,
Breastfeeding is recognized as the standard for infant feeding by all major health organizations. Mother’s milk provides the best nutritional, immunological and emotional nurturance for the normal growth and development of babies. No manufactured formula offers anything close.
And besides that “human milk for human babies” thing, the coalition also wants to raise awareness of the legality of public breastfeeding. Each cardboard mama hold a card that says
When breastfeeding is accepted, it won’t be noticed.
Or, like my feelings on the matter: I’m feeding my child, here. If vulgarity is the issue, we can outlaw breastfeeding when we outlaw people with nasty table manners from dining in public.
I know of no woman who is an exhibitionist in this category. A breastfeeder at a restaurant or grocery to offend you? Pashaw!
We’re doing it to provide the best nutrition for our babe, whenever, wherever. That real, pure, natural fast food.
Source: Bay Area NBC.
First of all, I’m pro-breatst feeding whenever and where-ever the child gets hungry.
But I must say that I don’t understand some of the statements you make.
“When breastfeeding is accepted, it won’t be noticed.”
In order to have children a man had to be part of the equation.
I know when I see a woman breastfeeding I will avert my eyes but I still want to look at boobs. But I don’t other than a quick glance, because I’m partially “civilised.”
And I guarantee young boys will always notice.
(I also start feeling protective because of the beauty of a mother and child breastfeeding. But don’t think for one minute that my mind doesn’t also shoot off in different directions. And that that is normal.)
You say, “I know of no woman who is an exhibitionist in this category.”
I know I’m taking this a little out of context in the way you mean it but it helps me to make a point.
Anyway you cut it, some women hold off doing it until they are in public because it keeps the baby quiet.
Friends and wives of my friends, if I’m over at their home will ask me if I want to watch them nurse the baby.
I’ve been in public and had women I’ve never met ask me to block the view from other people while they nurse.
What I’ve learned is that it’s always beautiful. But I’ve also noticed that some boobs look great and others get blotchy and unappetising. The baby doesn’t seem to think so.
But in all cases I always ask if I can have a little milk with my coffee.
The point is that nursing a baby is normal and natural. And women should be able to do it anywhere but the approach should be to understand that it should be dealt with with a sense of humor.
I know when I was from 11 to …. I
Jamie Ervin says
I’ve been known to walk through the grocery store breastfeeding and pushing a cart at the same time… and most people don’t even realize that’s what I’m doing (they see a baby and a Mom pushing the cart… I’ve got some SKILZ).
I get so peeved when people give you the stare down like feeding your baby is vulgar… or when they say “Must you do THAT here?” As if they cannot even say BREAST.
We had a huge issue at our co-op preschool when a breastfeeding Mama was nursing baby in a sling… baby popped off and Mama was helping the kids, etc… she didn’t realize she was exposed for a few minutes. One Mom had a FIT because her husband happened to be helping in class that day as well… It was completely ridiculous… its not like she was trying to show off her breasts for sexual purposes.
I never really noticed men freaking out (or little boys for that matter). What I did notice was other MOMS and older women giving me the stare down. One of my girlfriends was often tempted to squirt them… she refrained. 🙂
Thanks for help moms feel comfortablharing this. As a BFing mama I applaud all efforts to help Mamas feel more comfortable doing right for their babes. Good stuff! I am passing it on.
Cate Nelson says
I, like you, am a pro at BFing in public. Much thanks to my lovely baby carriers and a great nursing tank, I show nothing! I’ve even been known to cast a fishing line while Baby E was nursing in the mei tai.
Bob, I appreciate the male insight. However, I firmly stand by the “no woman is an exhibitionist” when we feed our children in public. I’ve never waited ’til I arrived at a public place to feed either child. If doing it in the car was more convenient, I’d do it there first. Frankly, most of us simply don’t care enough to hide out in the bathroom, as I’ve heard some opponents to public BFing suggest. I’ll go in the bathroom to feed my infant when I see people who feed their infants McDonald’s there: I find that gross!
I do agree that we need humor for most situations that make others uncomfortable. The “cream for my coffee” joke? Well worn.
For some good humor, I do love the “squirt” idea that Jamie’s friend had. Very Monty Python, and very tempting at times!
Speaking of humor, I wonder how long it’ll be before these ads get the mustache treatment! 😉