Friday, September 11, 2009

No Boobs in the Cry Room

A few weeks ago I posted something on my Facebook status regarding breastfeeding support. Most of my friends know that I breastfeed my daughter, and while I am not of the Breastfeed-or-Die clan I am pretty well versed in the pros and cons of both breastfeeding and formula feeding and have opinions on both.

Well, as you can imagine, my status sparked a conversation with a younger girl with whom I used to work. In so many words, she stated that she too supports breastfeeding but she doesn't want to "look over and see boobs in the middle of Sunday morning mass. That's what cry rooms are for," she claimed.

Well now. As you can imagine, this struck a chord with me. As a breastfeeding mother and an equal rights activist for ALL I was slightly offended. "I'm sorry if I'm mistaken here, but I was under the impression that cry rooms were meant to be a place where you take your crying baby, as not to disturb the rest of the congregation. You'll have to excuse that assumption as I'm not exactly a member of the church but that is what the name implies. Now, I can't speak for other mothers, but I can read my baby's hunger cues and get her fed well before she starts crying, so there's no real need for me to take her to the cry room, is there?"

I got an immediate response. "Sure there is. Don't you think that waving your bare breast around in the House of the Lord, or in any public area for that matter, is inappropriate?"

Hah! Inappropriate! Boy oh boy.

"Let me tell you what I find to be inappropriate: First of all, the fact that a mother who feeds her child formula from a bottle wouldn't have to leave the room yet I am basically punished for feeding my child the best possible food for her and blacklisted from any public area while doing so. Yes, let's reward the mom who feeds her baby what scientists call "artificial milk." That's right - it's artificial. It's a half-assed chemical reproduction of the better choice.

"Second of all, I find it completely inappropriate that society has marked breasts as first being sexual devices and only second as what they were naturally intended to be. If GOD has a problem with me using my breasts the way he intended them to be used in his house then I shall choose not to visit Him. Although I doubt that is the case.

"Last but not least, I find it HIGHLY inappropriate that you claim to support breastfeeding. As a breastfeeding mother, when people tell me something like what you've just said I hear 'Oh, it's okay to breastfeed, so long as it's convenient for me and doesn't offend me. Because that's who it's about anyway, right? Me.'

"I am all for modesty. While I disagree with the way society has forced our view on breasts as sexual objects I understand that that is the world we live in and if I feed my daughter in public I will do so as discreetly as possible. But I refuse to shy away from giving my daughter what is best and I refuse to be inconvenienced by people who go out of their way to be offended by it. I'm sorry if this seems harsh but I am tired of being looked down upon for making what I believe to be the healthiest, most responsible choices for my child. I appreciate your opinion but that's not the kind of 'support' I need."


angelarenai said...

wow! I can kinda see both sides. i dont like to see boobies that arent my own either really. however, i accept its a natural part of life. feeding babies is kind of a necessary thing. i say grow up, put your big girl panties on, and deal with mommies and their boobies in public. just be happy they are feeing them instead of just letting em cry. i find that WAY more annoying.

Baby Beatnik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Baby Beatnik said...

I want to add that I realize that I sound a little intolerant of formula feeding mothers in this post, and I apologize to anyone who takes offense to that. In all honesty, while I believe that the saying "breast is best" is true I can also sympathize with the mothers who for whatever reason choose to use formula instead. There are lots of reasons not to breastfeed but I don't believe that public opinion should be one of them. At least not for me.

I just get so freaking sick and tired of hearing women talking about being told to take their baby to the bathroom to feed her or put her under a blanket, etc. First of all, do you eat where you shit? No? Then why would you ask me to force my child to? Second - I can't speak for all babies, but Kairi HATES being put under a blanket while she's eating. She gets hot and sweaty and I imagine that can't be good for her appetite. If you can't relate, try covering yourself in a blanket and eating a meal. I imagine it won't be very comfortable.

I didn't add the entire conversation either. The girl with whom I was speaking wasn't just offended by mothers who aren't discrete about breastfeeding - she was offended by breastfeeding in public period.

I just wanted to add those clarifications.

Baby Beatnik said...

I would also like to add that I *LOVE* the way that the ads generated on this post are all for baby formula. WTF????

Anonymous said...

Baby, I am going to have to agree with you 100%. Your friend sounds like she grew up in the 50s or the 60s. Americans are so puritanical about "nudity." When are they going to realize that it's a perfectly natural state, and, uh, hello...God brought us into this world without any clothes, thank you very much. It's the uptight, backwoods culture of the uneducated masses who proliferate the so-called morals of the religious right. Give me a break! I am going forward, not backwards, and I, like the God I know, love the fact that you are breastfeeding your child, wherever you want, whenever you want. It is 2009 Baby, it's time for the Puritans to crawl back to their decade.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't have said it better myself! I hate when people say they don't wanna see it. But yet some skinny skank walk by in daisy dukes and halter top and everyone looks at her. Ugh, it's okay to show your boobs sexually, but not to nourish your child? Says who?

GlacierBay from the LT

Aliceann said...

Psssssssh. Who still goes to church these days? ROFLCOPTER!


Good post, Erin. I agree with you 150%. I will have a better response when I'm not holding my son, who likes to assist my typing by mashing every button within reach.

Anonymous said...

Amen, amen, and amen some more. :)
I'd type more, but I'm NIP.

Annie @ PhD in Parenting said...

Great post! I also think it is hypocritical for people to say they support breastfeeding, but don't support breastfeeding in public. It is like people saying they support gay rights, but they don't want to see two men or two women holding hands in public.

Guggie said...

What mom ever waves her boob around at all? Perhaps maybe at home? As a joke?

I mean, seriously? Why is the discrimination against using our bodies normally and with dignity always couched in a weird scenario of women whipping their boobs out and squirting people or showing off to the whole congregation?

I can't tell you how many times someone has walked up to look at my daughter or admire her and only when they are touching her head or right next to me do they realise she is nursing, and only then because she unlatches to smile at them.

We are forcing the garbage of our culture of death down our children's throats. Welcome them to the banquet provided by God who made our wonderful bodies (and boobs!), not the dumpster of contaminated, powdered substitutes sold for profit.

Baby Beatnik said...

Got a call from a friend saying the comments are broken. Testing...

Babybeatnik said...

Testing again...

AutumnJade said...

I go to church. I nurse during the services with DS2 with DS1 I wasn't as confident. I am not going to leave my DH and go somewhere with a bunch of crying babies that will distract DS from nursing. He is used to services, he can nurse there. I actually get a lot of respect for having the balls to do it.
Also this past summer at Sea World I walked around in my bikini and nursed in the wave pool surrounded by hundreds of people, sure I got stares, but the Europeans who were vacationing, thought I kicked ass!
"Stand up for what you believe in" -Jr Asparagus (Veggie Tales)

Anonymous said...

Hey don't forget, that a lot of religious pictures are of mother BREASTFEEDING the infant.... So if you can't breastfeed in the 'house of the lord' then why have these paintings publicized? I am not religious, but as far as I know, there was no formula then, and if breastmilk was right for Jesus, then it's doing fine for K2.

Alexx said...

If God didn't want my child to be breastfed publicly, He would have made my boobs with an attached "privacy cover".

NOWHERE in the Bible will you ever see anything saying that any form of nudity is bad or wrong in God's eyes.

Ernie's Mother said...

Sorry to comment on this since it is really old, but...
I personally have some physical anatomical issues which make solely nourishing my babies by nursing impossible.
It breaks my heart, but I must give the babies formula.
This is Baby3. I discovered this the hard way with the first two.
I nurse Baby3, who is currently one month old. Whatever drops he gets are that much of a bonus, but I also give him formula so that he can actually get some nourishment.
I get a lot of flack from the breastfeeding natzis (well-meaning as they are). I am always put in a position to defend myself and my feeding choices. I really don't want to explain to every person I meet my physical issues which require formula. My breasts are none of anybody's business.
Maybe I'm ultra sensitive to it because it has broken my heart that I am unable to solely nurse. It is a no-brainer on how it is natural, best for baby, etc.
I'm sorry that people have made comments about nursing to you.
I wanted to let you know that I stand on the other side and people make just as many comments about bottle feeding. The difference is that you actually have science behind you. Breastfeeding IS better for baby.
No one has ever commented to me about breastfeeding being wrong, indecent or anything. They have all just commented on the formula/bottles. It stabs me every time, since it is a sore subject with me.
Everyone should really just mind their own business, on all sides.

Erin said...

@Ernie's Mother -

I'm so sorry that you've had such difficulties! I can imagine that would be a very sore subject for you.

I'm with you 100% on this: "Everyone should really just mind their own business, on all sides."

My personal stance is basically this: I try to share my experience and make it known that I am a breastfeeding advocate so that any friends or family that might have questions know they can come to me, should the want or need to. I try to dispel the myths that surround breastfeeding so that my friends and family might be more open to the idea of doing it themselves if that's what will work for them. I want people to try it, but if it's not going to work for you and your family, and formula is a better fit for you, then I am 100% behind that. I don't want to be militant about it, you know? You're the parent of that child, and in the end, so long as that child is being treated well, it's none of my business. :)

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