to wonder WHAT exactly it is about a breastfeeding mother that some find offensive?

(335 Posts)
MistressDeeCee Fri 06-Jun-14 17:01:46
mollypup Fri 06-Jun-14 17:29:27

For example, not that long ago I was at a party. A group of us were sat in the lounge when I friend of the host's mum decided to join us. All well and good until she decided to start feeding in front of everyone, breast entirely on show. It was awkward to say the least, considering only one of us knew who she was!

BertieBotts Fri 06-Jun-14 17:32:26

YY, and in Jewish lore, when breastfeeding "breasts are as hands" which means that they are performing a natural, necessary function which would be impossible if they were covered and hence it is fine to have them uncovered although they would be covered usually.

mollypup - there are plenty of other people's body parts I'd rather not see. Like topless hairy pale flabby men on hot days. Or muffin tops under short T-shirts. Men's vertical smiles as they bend over in their jeans. And yet I accept that this is my own problem and people are free to cover their own bodies (or not) as they see appropriate. I fail to see why breasts are any different in that way. If you don't want to see someone's breasts, look away. No-one should ever feel obliged to cover up to suit someone else's personal idea of modesty.

DippyEggNSolders Fri 06-Jun-14 17:39:08

I have a male friend who has a wicked evil mother (she really is, toxic is a kind word for her). My male friend was brought up to think that breasts / breastfeeding was dirty, encouraged men to oggle at the woman, that she was "asking for it" etc etc. it was seen, in her eyes as utterly wrong to do, and certainly in public.

My male friend then met me and I fed my daughter as I knew I wanted to. He was educated by me as he saw me feed and grow my daughter.

He had been fed a tararge of incorrect, damaging information about something that is so normal and natural, he was completely eluded as to why women did it.

He is now fully supportive and a male advocate of breast feeding, even helping his niece recently and putting me in touch with her to support her.

To me, there are people around like his mum that have that view and will not change that.

There are people like my male friend who need educating.

Stories like the OP's link make it vitally important for us to continue to educate and spread the word that it is normal and natural way of feeding a baby. The more people that chose to feed in public, the more it becomes normal and a "non issue" as it is in many European countries.

RufusTheReindeer Fri 06-Jun-14 17:41:03

When I was pregnant with ds1 my dad said

"You're not going to be one of those women who breastfeed in public are you?"

Few weeks after ds1 was born my dad kissed his head to say goodbye..when it was still firmly attached to my tit!!!!!!

He'd gone from prude to MUCH MUCH MUCH too comfortable in a matter of weeks

Cruikshank Fri 06-Jun-14 17:47:52

mollypup - do you think that women who breastfeed in public are force-feeding their infants in order to get attention? How does that work then? Surely the most likely explanation is that they are feeding their babies because their babies are hungry and they happen to have got hungry while they are outside the house? I should imagine that most people would rather have a quick flash of boobage to deal with than a screaming hungry infant, in terms of public behaviour.

Pleasejustgo Fri 06-Jun-14 17:53:25

Oh mollypup. hmm

PrincessBabyCat Fri 06-Jun-14 18:03:01

I also think it's a British thing?

Americans can get a little squeamish about it. But we have topless laws that any woman is allowed to go topless in most states so they can't be legally told to stop. The attitude is still disapproving in some parts of the country. In my state, we're full of health nuts and "crunchy moms" so no one bats an eye here. But there's some parts where a store is under legal action because they didn't allow a woman to breastfeed her baby in one of the changing rooms.

There's an aggressive breast is best campaign because our mothers give it up very quickly since maternity leave is only 3 weeks and it's impractical to keep taking breaks to pump at work. So you're damned if you do, damned if you don't here. If you bottle feed in public you get comments about formula feeding, if you breastfeed you get comments about boobs.

Mrsfrumble Fri 06-Jun-14 18:03:10

Mollypup, the situation was awkward because of yours and the party-goers attitudes, not because of the mother's actions.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Fri 06-Jun-14 18:09:16

People take offence, not give it. You dont like it, dont look. Dont take that offence.

missymayhemsmum Fri 06-Jun-14 18:13:03

I find seeing a baby being bottle fed with formula saddening and upsetting but wouldn't dream of saying so to the parent concerned!

Polyethyl Fri 06-Jun-14 18:15:08

But let's remember that the vast majority of times no one is critical. Or perhaps I've just been lucky - no one has ever been negative in any way to me, I have not even been tutted at. And my 16mo is a demanding boob monster so I have fed her in all sorts of places.

curlyHedgehog Fri 06-Jun-14 18:18:29

Yanbu, it is symptomatic of the fact we live in a misogynist society, boobs are for male gratification,not to feed babies hmm

I don't hear the same furore about the lads mags with scantily clad young women on the cover, which I'm forced to see every time I go to a petrol station, newsagents etc

Talisawasnotsupposedtobethere Fri 06-Jun-14 18:19:02

I find seeing a baby being bottle fed with formula saddening and upsetting but wouldn't dream of saying so to the parent concerned!

Oh dear...!

Maybe you should say something to them missy then they could tell you all about trying really hard to BF and being very upset that ultimately they couldn't. Or that the baby is adopted? No need to be sad or upset at all.

Babesh Fri 06-Jun-14 18:23:59

Mollypup I really don't believe the women in the room found it awkward that another woman was breast feeding. I think you found it weird as your personal criteria for right place and right time in the right manner wasn't met. And if I am wrong and you all did find it an extraordinarily inappropriate act then what a joyless limited group you made.

TheBogQueen Fri 06-Jun-14 18:27:19

I find seeing a baby being bottle fed with formula saddening and upsetting but wouldn't dream of saying so to the parent concerned!

Really hmm

freezation Fri 06-Jun-14 18:28:00

Why do you find it sad missy? That's a very judgmental attitude. I'm as pro-breastfeeding as they come but what business is it of anyone else's how a woman feeds her baby? It's a bit much to say you find it upsetting. I'm sure you would hate it if someone said they found it saddening and upsetting to see someone breastfeeding. It works both ways. Let's stop judging each other on our feeding choices smile

ForeskinHyena Fri 06-Jun-14 18:31:44

The thing that people find of side about BFing is that the women showing their breasts are not always nubile young twenty somethings with beautifully coiffed hair and Barbie faces, they are normal natural looking women of all ages and sizes, daring to show parts of their natural bodies while doing something natural.

We should only ever show ourselves in public if we have spent lots of time and money on ensuring that we are bronzed, toned and beautiful, preferably with some fake parts added on for good measure, whether that's hair extensions, fake eyelashes, breast implants or just several kilos of slap.

After all, nobody seems to mind too much seeing the endless parades of exposed breasts going into a nightclub at a weekend or lounging around on the beach. Add a few pounds, minus some tan and attach a small child and it's pure filth.

keepyourchinupdear Fri 06-Jun-14 18:33:43

Sparklingbrook the majority of mothers bottle feed because it's what society expects of them. Adopted babies or mothers/babies who genuinely struggle to bf are in the minority.

Either way, I can see Missy's point. It seems it's always bfing mums that getting verbally abused & harassed in public. Disdain for ff is not widely publicised, discussed or excepted. Imagine if this news story we're reversed - a mother being berated for formula feeding? Oh no, that would not happen! Formula is not a convenience food, it's just as good as bm, a bf & ff infant have the same health outcomes.

I've heard all this mince before, but I don't berate people for their feeding choices!!

Pleasejustgo Fri 06-Jun-14 18:33:45

Missymayhem wins the judgypants this evening.

Really? Why do you care about something that has absolutely nothing to do with you? What if that mother was on necessary medication harmful to her baby?

Ever think of that, hmmmm?

freezation Fri 06-Jun-14 18:37:34

keepyourchinupdear we shouldn't accept criticism of either feeding choice/necessity. Two wrongs don't make a right!

I know exactly why I didn't BF. If anyone had asked why though I would have told them all about my 6 weeks of complete misery.

People also need to know that not all people who FF do it through choice.

gorionine Fri 06-Jun-14 18:39:25

I never understood the big fuss about it. I am a prude I there ever was one. I also am a Muslim (not really relevant, just to set the tone that I'm by no means an exhibitionistsmile) but I had 4Dcs and have BF them all in public for 2 years each I cannot think of anything more natural.
I have Bfed in front of DH's rather 'conservative' family and NONE of them found it offensive which to me speaks volume.

I was reading some comments this morning about it in the very open minded DM. and one was on those lines. "it is terrible to BF in public, in my days women would never have dared! they new that once they had babies they could not go out as if they were still single." I had not realised that women with children were never meant to walk in the park for a bit of sunshine anymore or quite simply go out for the weekly shopping, visit friends and well, basically lead a rather normal life.

As an aside, I think it is not appropriate to turn the issue of BF in public into a Brest is best VS Bottle feeding that is just MHO though.

Rainbunny Fri 06-Jun-14 18:39:39

I have a male friend who admitted that he finds the sight of a breastfeeding woman incredibly icky. He said that it seems oddly sexual to him and the whole child sucking a woman's breast thing is just gross. So yeah he basically admitted what I've always thought, men think of breasts in a highly sexual way and can't handle the fact that they have a purpose to feed a child and they certainly don't want a visible reminder of it.

I don't know why some women object though, although I've only ever heard women from older generations make comments about public breastfeeding. I figure some older women are just more uptight about "acceptable behaviour in public."

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