August 2, 2010 12:21 pm

Not Militant, Just Irritated

Even though I am personally committed to breastfeeding, I’m not crazy-militant about it. You know this. Basically, I firmly believe in doing what’s best for you and your family and if that’s breastfeeding or formula-feeding or just supplementing or whatever, GREAT.

However, I have seen several breastfeeding-related things recently that made me very, very irritated.

Thing the first:

The Double Shot in Oklahoma is run by a total jerk:

Mr. Brian Franklin posts that breastfeeding is not okay at his shop, despite this being against Oklahoma state law. When breastfeeding advocates get on his case, he tells them to “settle down,” and he relents (HA!) and says he supposes it is okay, as long as it’s “in private.”

And then when it doesn’t stop, he claims he was “just kidding anyway.”

Folks. Breastfeeding mothers have the right to feed their babies WHEREVER THEY WANT, just like formula-feeding mothers. It is AGAINST THE LAW to make them go elsewhere.

Thing the second:

From Babycenter, “Your 4-month-old, Week 2“:

Your baby has a bigger tummy now, so she won’t need to fill up as often. Four or five times a day will often do it, in fact, unless she’s exclusively breastfed, in which case she’ll still want to eat six to eight times a day.

This is so petty and nitpicky that I feel guilty posting it, but WHYYYY is formula-feeding the default language in this article? Why could it not have said, “Eating six to eight times a day will often do it, unless she’s formula-fed, in which case eating only four to five times a day is normal.”

Why is “unless she’s exclusively breastfed” the fringe case? Is breastfeeding really that uncommon past 12 weeks or so?

As a country, if would like to improve our breastfeeding rates, we should start taking a closer look at the language we use when referring to feeding our babies and how that affects the public’s attitude toward breastfeeding. If formula-feeding is presented as the norm, why would that motivate someone to stick with breastfeeding?

Thing the third:

When people on Facebook (or wherever) talk about how great it is that “Daddy gets up with the baby at night” so they can sleep.

I see this all over the place. Again, are this many people supplementing or full-on formula-feeding? The reason my baby gets up at night is to eat, and Daddy would be of absolutely no help in that case. (Maybe these babies aren’t getting up because they’re hungry?)

I suppose I could pump and give a bottle at night, but pumping is so much effort and I’m right there anyway – why not just feed him? Are these people pumping every day so Daddy can handle nighttime wakeups? I just don’t get it.


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  • BreAnna says:

    Omg, I have no words for the first thing. :mad:
    As for thing the third, it is also ridiculous how people are super impressed when dads change diapers, give baths, etc. (I know this is unrelated to the topic of this post, but seriously, moms do that work all the time and no one bats an eye!)

  • Hev says:

    Ok, I can see both sides of this situation. Before you blow up at me, let me explain. I have a problem with mothers that just whip out the breast without any thought as to where they are or who is looking. I am terribly sorry, but I do not choose to have to answer my *then* five year old’s question as to if the adult is allowed to go without clothing why can’t she. Plus, to be honest, I don’t want to see any naked part in public, male or female. Now if the mother is decent enough to cover up while feeding then I have no problem.

  • Meggan says:

    BreAnna – YES, that irritates me too. That, and when people refer to it as “babysitting.” It’s not babysitting if it’s YOUR OWN KID.

    Hev – (Why would you assume I’d blow up at you? Good grief.) Most women are conscious of this issue and take care to show as little as possible. However, please recognize that it’s their legal right to “whip out their breast,” and in most states breastfeeding is exempt from public indecency laws.

    If your five-year-old asks why the adult is going without clothing, you answer, “Because she is feeding her baby.” Easy! (Also, “without clothing?” Presumably the woman is not tearing off her shirt and bra in public? A discreet lifting of the shirt is usually all that’s involved, and many mothers wear tank tops underneath so their tummies don’t show either.)

    If you are uncomfortable seeing naked parts (and they often aren’t visible anyway – your nipple doesn’t show when you are BFing since the baby’s head covers your boob) look away. It’s not my responsibility to manage what you or anyone else looks at.

    I think this all goes back to changing public perception about breastfeeding – children should grow up recognizing that breastfeeding is healthy and normal and not a sexual situation or “weird.”

  • Rose says:

    When I was a kid I saw people breast feeding fairly often and it never seemed weird to me.

    It wasn’t until the last couple of years I’ve become aware of this whole anti-boob mentality.

    It just seems kind of weird to me. Beyond my grasp. Like.. why? Why is there this whole culture around anti breast feeding?

  • Jem says:

    It just doesn’t surprise me any more :( I’ve come across so much anti-BF stuff online since I started I almost feel like I’m doing something wrong by doing best by my babe.

    I find comments like Hev’s – “I don’t mind breastfeeding as long as the woman doesn’t do X” to be just as insulting. Why do people assume I’m going to strip to the waist to feed my baby, or get out both breasts and start wanging the second one around like a pom pom while Isabel feeds? You either support breastfeeding or you don’t; putting disclaimers on it just makes me want to feed as INdiscreetly as possible. :P

    With that said, I’ve been feeding Izz in public for nearly 9 months now, and have had no negative experiences. Shame, I’ve been waiting to tell someone to piss off for AGES :grin:

  • Charlie says:

    Well it’s good that bloke relented and hopefully even though I doubt he’s sorry it might cause him to think twice before making decisions in future. Whenever I’ve seen mothers breast-feeding they have been discreet, in fact sometimes you couldn’t say for certain whether they were simply just holding their baby. This whole showing your breasts off thing is ridiculous, a person feeds their baby, they’re not likely to be wanting to make on the spot porn.

    I don’t understand the amazing Dad thing either. It takes two to tango.

  • Melissa Maloney says:

    It is absolutely AMAZING that our culture OBSESSES (maybe even worships!) over boobs when they are displayed at Hooters, Victoria Secret, Girls Gone Wild, anything Hollywood, etc etc. Yet, when the mammary gland is being used for its sole intent and purpose people are turned off??? WTF? Boobs are for feeding!! What we all should be horrified at is 40-50 yr old men leering at 18-20 yr old boobs in said restaurants and publications. Ironic isn’t it?

  • Megan says:

    I feel an enormous amount of pressure to breastfeed in general, yet I have encountered a good amount of people that have not been very supportive. It doesn’t make sense. It is overwhelmingly known that breastmilk is the healthiest thing for a baby, and people seem to want moms to breastfeed their babes, but just don’t want to see it. So we have to sit inside for a year? I have little experience feeding in public so far, but I hope no one gives me any crap.

  • Nikki says:

    I have absolutely no issues with women breastfeeding in public places. If you had asked me a few years ago I might have been a little squeamish just because I came from a very traditional small town, but living Austin, TX has definitely opened my eyes up. It’s not something I even blink an eye at anymore and I can’t help but wonder why it seems to affect so many people who AREN’T the mother. It’s normal. Babies have to eat too.

    That said, I do know several woman who HAVE to pump. My mother was one of them. I was in high school when my littlest sister was born and I remember how much she fed. She fed all the time and my mom still had to pump every few hours for her own comfort. She didn’t do it so my dad could get up, though that was a happy side effect of it, she had to do it because otherwise she was in pain. So he was glad to be able to help in that way. I guess I’m just saying there are reasons for why dad’s get up at night or are able to in any case.

    I don’t know much about other cities, but here in Austin, there’s a huge pro-breastfeeding coalition. You see stickers for it on the sides of buildings and pamphlets are everywhere. I love that information about it so open and free to the public. I think the biggest reason for the negative backlash is that there just isn’t enough shared knowledge about breastfeeding. That’s quickly changing and I think it’s great. :)

    Of course, there are always going to be pricks like Brian Franklin. What a douche.

  • the grumbles says:

    Ugh, it just never ends. Every time I see great comments like Nikki’s about the progress we’re making I get 10 more rude comments about breastfeeding in public. It’s almost to the point where I don’t want to talk about it anymore, it seems so daunting to change the minds of crazy people.

    Anyway, before the kid was born it was my plan to pump every other night so my husband could do some night feedings. We found out pretty fast that it would never work– I had to get up anyway to pump and Jude HATED taking a bottle. Why wake everyone up and get them screaming when I can just get it over with?

    And yes, it’s totally odd how men are “amazing dads” just for being a regular participating parent. Too bad we aren’t AMAZING MOMS!!!! for doing the daily grind every day. Double standards much?