Is breastfeeding in public a good idea?
Read what Soren, the
Personal Development Guy, thinks.
Also included are some inspirational
... and a handful of questions that make you think.
This page is an entry in "Soren's
Blog: Inspirational Thoughts"
- a blog aimed at your personal development & spiritual growth. This blog
incorporates inspirational motivational quotes, empowerment theory, random funny
facts, motivational phrases, short funny jokes, funny questions that make you
think and more!
Breastfeeding in Public?
As a sort of continuation of my
previous blog entry (about bare bodies), I have to share my
sense of wonder regarding something else to do with the human
body: breastfeeding, particularly public breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is a mother's gift to herself, her baby and
~ Pamela K. Wiggins
nature's health plan.
~ Inspirational saying
Breast milk is better than any udder milk!
Just the other day I took part in a social
event in a restaurant. We were about 20 people who met to
celebrate something, and one of the couples present has just
had their first child. This created the interesting conundrum:
Can you breastfeed babies in a restaurant?
immediate response is 'Why on Earth not? A restaurant is a
place where you eat, isn't it'?'
But as it turns out
not everyone shares this view. Apparently it was a problem.
The couple in question handled it beautifully, but the
situation made me think, ask questions and check things out on
the Internet (I have no children myself - a conscious decision
on my part). This blog entry is a 'daring exposition' (ha, ha,
ha) of what I found.
Cultural Taboos about
Breastfeeding in Public
In some cultures breastfeeding in
public is a no-no - there's some sort of 'breast taboo' or
'food taboo' or 'mother taboo' or 'nudity taboo' or something.
I'm actually not sure which, even after talking to people who
have an opinion on the matter - and that includes people who
have both children and breasts. :-)
Legislation is most
countries is generally on the side of the hungry children:
Mothers are allowed to breastfeed where ever they like. Public
opinion, however, sometimes differs from that.
native cultures in Africa, the Amazon and elsewhere around the
world have absolutely no taboo when it comes to breastfeeding
North American culture and some other
cultures, on the other hand, seem to have a big taboo
regarding breastfeeding in public.
My own (Danish)
culture seems to stand divided.
in Public in Denmark
The consensus in Danish culture seems
to be that breastfeeding children is natural and beneficial
(which is very true from pretty much every possible
standpoint, including a scientific and medical standpoint) -
and therefore something you should do.
breastfeeding may not seem the right choice for every parent,
it is the best choice for every baby.
~ Amy Spangler
Or, as Chief Justice Holmes put it in the eighteen
A pair of substantial mammary glands have the
advantage over the two hemispheres of the most learned
professor's brain in the art of compounding a nutritive fluid
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
On the other
hand some women are shy about exposing a (partially) bare
breast and other people condemn it when they see it.
Strangely, women appear more judgemental than men in that
area, and younger women seem more prone to condemn
breastfeeding in public than older women. (I have no data
regarding this, it's just an impression).
I do know a
couple of women in their twenties and thirties, however, who
were very judgemental about breastfeeding in public ... until
they got children of their own. That made them change their
mind! They now do it themselves ... :-)
Breastfeeding in Public: Mixed Up Signals
Even though I
haven't been able to get a straight answer to the pivotal
question in all this ('Why ever would some people consider
breastfeeding in public inappropriate?') I'm going to go out
on a limb and answer: They're confused.
First of all
they're confusing the natural, joyful act of sex with
something inappropriate; and secondly they're confusing the
natural and necessary act of breastfeeding with sex.
wonder their reactions can sometimes seem strange and 'over
In some cultures, including North American,
Australian and most European cultures the bare breasts of a
female are definitely a sex symbol. In other cultures around
the world, however, a woman's bare breasts are NOT seen as
sexually arousing. They are seen as food depots for children.
Here's a great quote by Carolyn Latteier, the author of
"Breasts, The Women's Perspective on an American
Obsession":"Well, we do have a peculiar obsession with
breasts in this culture. A lot of people think it's just the
human nature to be fascinated with breasts but in many
cultures, breasts aren't sexual at all. I interviewed a young
anthropologist working with women in Mali, in a country in
Africa where women go around with bare breasts. They're always
feeding their babies. And when she told them that in our
culture men are fascinated with breasts there was an instant
of shock. The women burst out laughing. They laughed so hard,
they fell on the floor. They said, "You mean, men act like
~ Carolyn Latteier
~ (she said this on a TV
program called "All about breasts")
that Make You Think
For your amusement here are a few
stupid questions to ask people, or perhaps they're questions
to ask a girl. Or, perhaps, intimacy questions. Or maybe they
just might be questions that make you think:
restaurants are places to eat, why shouldn't babies allowed to
do so, too (in the form of breastfeeding)?
there are more than three billion female human beings on the
Earth today, and those women possess approximately six billion
tits - how on Earth can tits be 'bad', 'wrong', 'ugly' or
- Are European, Australian and American men so
hooked on female breasts because they were all weaned too
early? And if so ...
- Do big breasts hold such
fascination for men because they subconsciously conclude that
big jugs must contain more milk?
- If children sustain
damage from watching bare breasts or breastfeeding in public
shouldn't almost every child on earth be permanently damaged?
Add This to the Pile of Funny Questions about
Do you know why it is women and not men who
can breastfeed? No?
The Personal Development Guy comes
to the rescue with a truthful answer!
The answer is
simple. If we men could squeeze a nipple and have a delicious
beverage come out, we'd ever get around to feeding our baby.
We'd be much too busy playing with it: Squirting each other
with it, seeing who could squirt the longest, mixing it with
other beverages and drinking it ourselves!
question: Sooo ... How come women never do that?)
Oh, and I think there's just enough
time for a breastfeeding joke:
A woman and a baby were
in the doctor's examining room, waiting for the doctor to come
in for the baby's first exam. The doctor arrived, examined the
baby, checked his weight, and being a little concerned, asked
if the baby was breast-fed or bottle-fed.
"Well, strip down to your waist," the
She did. He pinched her nipples, then
pressed, kneaded, and rubbed both breasts for a while in a
Finally he sighed. Motioning to
her to get dressed, he said, "No wonder this baby is
underweight. You don't have any milk."
"I know," she
said, "I'm his Grandma, but I'm glad I came."
Breastfeeding in Public: My Personal Conclusion
conclusion? Just like the rest of us babies need food. They
get their food from their mother's breasts, and if they don't
get it right here and now - no matter if they are in a public
place or not - they're likely to scream their heads off. As
well they should, since it's their primary means of
communication their needs.
The idea that there's
anything wrong with breastfeeding in public is ridiculous.
Our bodies are shaped to bear children, and our lives are
a working out of the processes of creation. All our ambitions
and intelligence are beside that great elemental point.
My opinion is that anybody offended
by breastfeeding is staring too hard.
~ David Allen
Okay, we men in America, Australia and Europe who have
breast fixation might get our attentions piqued or even, in
extreme cases, get a tiny jolt from watching a mother pull out
her tit, but hey, so what? It's not like it's unpleasant.
If we were to ban breastfeeding in public, we might just
as well ban any other kind of public food consumption. Just
imagine: "Oh my god, look at that! That man is eating an
apple! And in front of the children, too. How awful! How
disgusting! Somebody call the police!" :-)
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