Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Nursing in Public...a small vent

I heard on the radio this morning that a nursing mother had been kicked off of an airplane. The airline claims that she refused to cover up with a blanket, so they asked her to leave. This sort of story really makes me mad. Why on earth should she have to attempt to cover with a blanket, when she is feeding a child? Do you eat under a blanket? Have you ever tried? It would be a bit uncomfortable, and hot, and stuffy to simply cover my head with a blanket, let alone attempt to drink while I'm under there. Get real, folks.

Breastfeeding is not something that needs to be covered up, like some sort of shameful sexual act. The airline isn't claiming that the mother in question stripped to the waist and then wandered up and down the aisles of a fully loaded passenger plane. She was sitting in her seat (by the window), with her husband immediately next to her. And they weren't attempting to join the mile high club, she was providing food to a baby.

I guess I was just lucky. In the 19 months that I breastfed Charlotte, I was never once asked to cover up, or to leave a room while breastfeeding (I frequently felt I needed to, but that was due to an easily-distracted baby, not because someone else asked me to). I breastfed her at the zoo (in the reptile house, actually), while walking in the March of Dimes walk, at restaurants, at church, in an airplane, and countless other places. I actually even used an electric breast pump on an airplane during a business trip (I was covered up that time--those things are a lot less discrete than a baby's head).

I find it very sad that so many people today find it offensive to breastfeed a baby in a place where there is a chance that, if you're really staring at the mother's bosom, that you might catch a glimpse of flesh. Yet they somehow don't find all of the rubber and silicone nipples on bottles that are designed to look pretty much just like the real thing offensive at all. Apparently rubber replicas of body parts are socially acceptable in places where the real thing is not.....

1 comment:

Jennboree said...

Very interesting point about the bottle's nipples! I'll have to remember that one when this issue gets me revved up again :)

I also nursed for 19 months and never had issue with anyone being offended or disgusted, that I know of. I do try, even with my newborn now, to nurse discreetly. I think that's not only for my own modesty, but my child's privacy as well. But when a girl's gotta eat, she's gotta eat!

Your daughter is too cute, by the way :)