There is nothing I will not hear: men stopping their wives from breastfeeding so they’ll have the breasts all to themselves; men who are okay with their wives breastfeeding but share the milk bounty with the baby; a friend said she remembers her father drinking ogi with breast milk.
How did I get myself into a position to hear these stories? Facebook. I cannot remember what set me off put I posted something on Facebook a few days ago about breast feeding.
What is the big deal about women breastfeeding in public? If it hurts your eyes, remove them. (I mean take a flat screwdriver and pluck them out.)
The comments really made me think. Someone compared a woman breastfeeding to a man taking a piss. Another was irritated by women with saggy, stretch-marked breasts bringing it out in a bus to breastfeed their baby. Yet another person said something nasty, I can’t remember what, he came back to delete his comments.
Beyond Facebook, I have taken time to have this discussion with other people and the reactions were varied; outright disgust from some, indifference from others, with a few turning into staunch crusaders of ‘women should be free to breastfeed in public.’
One thing that stood out for me is how much the breast was referred to first as a sex organ. A guy told me it was the rare man that would see a woman’s breast and not be aroused (a woman breastfeeding o); another lady equated breastfeeding with a woman dressed to expose her breast in a sexually suggestive way.
Hope Parages, a friend of mine and nursing mother said something that struck me: “Breasts would not have milk if they were intended for sex.”
She had more to say: “It’s not easy; we see this ignorance in the streets. Moms getting attacked for doing what is natural. But if I was to whip out my boobs and shake it, guys will clap abi? Most women just feel insecure about their men staring at another woman’s boobs which he shouldn’t in the first place. As a mom breastfeeding an infant at the moment, the reality is fresh for me. When you try to cover up eh, the baby doesn’t want to be in this bubble of cloth they start to kick it off and cry because you are busy trying to cover up instead of relaxing and feeding. Breastfeeding is very very selfless; it’s a lot of physical and emotional work and to be bashed for loving your child so much that you literally decide to be the sole nutrition is heart breaking. We should be encouraged not discriminated against. Thankfully in the US you have the right to breastfeed anyway, whether people like it or not is their business.”
I agree with her, the primary function of the breast is to provide nourishment for a baby and if said child is hungry, why should he be denied because it makes people uncomfortable? What happened to ‘unlooking?’ Has anyone ever stopped you from drinking your la casera and gala in a bus stuck in traffic? Have they told you, “Oh you must sip from a straw, drinking directly from a bottle is such uncouth behavior?” Why then should you decide for a mother how she breastfeeds? Let’s not even enter the matter of “It’s a man’s property, he has paid for, why show it outside?”
The only exception I can think of is the workplace and church because some of those places usually have special nurseries set aside for nursing mothers. It’d be sort of silly not to use the nursery when it’s there because you want to prove a point.
The solution is simple.
If it hurts your eyes to see a woman breastfeeding in public, remove them. (I mean take a flat screwdriver and pluck them out.)