Breastfeeding in public is not an issue, stop making it one

Once again, a story has come out about women being asked to leave public places because of breastfeeding. Once again, I’m furious, but this time I’ve had enough of keeping my yap shut.

Here you can find the story that has got me going today. If you don’t feel like reading it, I’ll give you a Coles notes version. Basically, women ave been asked by a mall in Prince George, BC to leave a kids play area while breastfeeding. The reason? It is apparently the only area in the mall with carpeting, and they want to keep it clean. The play area. Never mind that it is full of kids, many of whom are in bare feet, I’m sure. As most parents, preschool teachers, day care providers, or anyone who has been around kids in general should know, kids and carpets aren’t the greatest combination at the best of times. Kids are messy, they get dirty, they sneeze and get snot all over things, you get the idea. The mall said that the bathrooms had recently been renovated, and that the mothers should nurse in there.

Ok seriously. WHY is this still an issue? Also, you can’t nurse in the play area because of the carpet? So it stays clean??? Are the kids’ feet and socks checked before playing to ensure cleanliness? Do they have any idea how crazy that sounds?

It is 2013 people. If a nursing mother makes you uncomfortable, I have an easy solution for you. DON’T LOOK. It’s that simple. Don’t look. Most nursing mothers do it discretely anyways, so there really isn’t much to make people uncomfortable. Sadly, however, many people still have an antiquated attitude towards breastfeeding. I’m not here to try to convince you that breast is better than bottle, as I feel that regardless of how *I* feel about the issue, that’s not the issue. In case you are wondering, I am all for nursing when it is the best thing for the mother, father and baby. It’s that simple. But that is a discussion for another post.

This is about the attitudes that still float around that breastfeeding is somehow “dirty”, and should only be done in private. It’s not. It is the way babies get food, and this attitude that it is something that should be confined to places where others might not see needs to stop. Period. You don’t eat in the bathroom, why should babies? What are people scared of? That they might turn to stone if they catch a quick glimpse of breast or nipple? Have you taken a look around lately? It *is* summer, and I have seen plenty of boobs and butts hanging out all over the place.

I have never actually heard anyone give a good argument as to why they don’t want women nursing in public. Is that because there isn’t one perhaps? If its because you think it’s gross, why is that? Is it worse than watching a grown adult talk and eat or chew with their mouth open? Now that is something I don’t want to see – bits of chewed up food and spit flying at me across the table. Well, I can assure you, as a former nursing mum, that shouldn’t be a concern with a breastfeeding baby. So there is one argument down. Do you think it’s unsanitary, perhaps? It’s no different than eating anything else. Is it because it involves a *gasp* breast? Get over yourself. It’s not just their for someone else’s pleasure. They do have a non-sexual purpose and this is it.

Really, I could go on and on, but until someone can give me a legitimately good reason as to why babies don’t have the same rights to eat in public, then it a rest. We are not living in the Puritan times, this should not be an issue anymore. So stop making it one.


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