Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Breast Feeding

Ally over at Who Moved My Truth has a post on breast feeding, apparently prompted by a comment by Barbara Walters (one I haven't heard). In it, she is quick to point out that mothers who breast feed should show decorum when doing so in public.

I can see her point, but I fear that she has overreacted a bit. Speaking as the father of an infant, I have some familiarity with the issue. Let me address a few of Ally's comments:

I don't want to see a bare breast hanging out and a baby eating from it.

Most of the women I know who breastfeed, my wife included, show a hell of a lot more decorum than that. You're creating a straw man and doing a lot of decent women a disservice if you mean to suggest that "a bare breast hanging out and a baby eating from it" is the norm.

I remember the case where the woman was asked to breast-feed in the bathroom of a restaurant, and not at the table.

Yeah, THAT'S sanitary. Would YOU eat in their bathroom?

I don't know the situation, but if that is the restaurant's policy, either follow the rules or eat elsewhere.

You can bet your ass I would. Eat elewhere, that is. I vote with my wallet and my feet.

I put breast-feeding in the same category as public displays of affection.

Funny, they seem to be at extremely different point on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, as I recall. PDA is an optional behavior. Feeding a hungry child shouldn't have to be.

There are places where these are appropriate

Unfortunately, they can be bloody few and far between, even in places you have to go of necessity. Next time you're in a grocery store, take a look around and find the best place to breast feed. I'd like to hear it. Or maybe breastfeeding women should just stay home where they belong? Do you know how often an infant needs to eat? Ending up feeding them in public is eventually unavoidable.

Your right to feed your child does not mean you lay out a blanket in the middle of the mall and go to.

Again, that sounds like an exaggeration to me.

Motherhood does not mean you have the right to do whatever you want, and the rest of world must stand aside.

Since when is tending to your child "Doing whatever you want?" Motherhood, and fatherhood, means doing whatever it damn well takes to care for your child, and if that means you find yourself in situations where you must offend someone in order to see to that child's basic needs, so be it.

It is about respect, folks. Something that is poorly lacking the world today. And it goes both ways.

Sure, you show as much decorum and respect as you can, but in the end, it's all about the baby. Anyone who can't appreciate that is not worth my respect.

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