To think a sit down breast-feeding protest is a pointless and exhabitionist?(252 Posts)
Totally prepared to be flamed for this.
Im from sunny Brighton and a post on facebook recently did the rounds regarding one women breastfeeding in a cafe to be approached by several 70 year old women who told her she should have been more descreet.
Yes they're out of line.
Next day theres posts going round about a sit down breastfeeding protest in town that Id been invited to.
My first thought was why?! I come from a very open minded, accepting, earth-mother (aka middle class hippies)ish town. To have a sit down breastfeeding protest is purely exhabitionist 'look at me! Im breastfeeding, in your face- ACCEPT ME. SEE ME.' bullshit.
I feel I (we) make far more a point by simple breastfeeding 'normally' around town as and when we need to. Why the need to get a group. Of women together for boob time?
Well why not wear a hula skirt and hula hula then?
do YOU think that a mother BF in public is exhibitionist?
It's not acceptable to be harrassed about breastfeeding. They are right to protest and annoy the prudes.
I don't know how that is a protest about those elderly ladies (who prob don't exist- they never seem to when alls said and done)
elderly ladies don't exist? Excellent, that will make getting a seat on the bus much easier
I don't think several women breastfeeding in public is any more exhibitionist than one woman breastfeeding in public.
People need to get over themselves.
Think the use of 'exhibitionist' in your OP displays some dodgy attitudes that you may not even be aware of. What does 'exhibitionist' even MEAN in the context of bf??
As to 'why the need to get a group of women together...' - probably because there are plenty of women out there who feel very unsure about bfing in public and need the moral support. I know Brighton pretty well and bf'd my babies there, and felt uncomfortable at times. just cos it's a hippy town (in some pretty well-defined central areas) doesn't mean it's universally accepting IME.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
How did they know the group of women were ALL 70??!
Meh, I managed to breastfeed for over a year in a shitty town without any hassle.
Never felt the need to drape my boobs everywhere, nor did I hide in the loos.
Btw I've had positive comments from little old ladies.
Agree wiith you, OP. Making a point doesn't really do much for the cause. It's just a retaliation. Women being rude to other rude women...
Perhaps they were quintuplets, all wearing "Happy 70th Birthday" badges
Talking about 'exhibitionism' and 'draping your boobs everywhere', in the context of mothers talking about other mothers, is so bleeding mean-spirited and disappointing. And yes, a bit uptight.
I am very self absorbed and I have never had negative experiences of breast feeding in public, Lequeen.
So OP, your point is that you think that these women are collectively breastfeeding in public, not to make a political point as they claim, but to experience sexual arousal by exposing their breasts to the general public?
It sounds rather implausible to me.
Surely the best protest is to simply continue to feed in public without comment.
It normalises it.
I lovedt he little old ladies when I BF in public, all I seemed to get were nice ladies nodding and smiling in approval.
The thing is, what is the protest about? I think sometimes, tbh, women who organise things like this don't get as much attention as they want so kind of self create it. I've known women express disappointment that noone ever challenged them or made negative comments, because they had their clever responses "all rehersed and ready to go" I get the impression they gt quite surprised when try realise noone is actually looking at them or caring what their up to, and maybe it makes them realise they aren't quite as important to other poeple as they thought. Then hurrah, it happens to someone else and we can all go off and do a mass protest (against?...)
The unfortunate thing is recently it's been proven time and time ago the incidents triggering the protest never happened (possibly by women so very disappointed to not be challenged they end up making it up) people don't take it seriously anymore as a protest or anything else, so they seem attention seeking and pointless.
Me too Serentiy. Several of the comments on the invite said 'I wish I was approached, I knew exactly what Id say.'
And as for the sexual link to them getting their breasts out.... How?!
I didn't flap them everywhere, I wapped them out without any bother when needed and certainly didn't hide in corners I was just discreet.
And I never had any hassle off anybody. Never. Not so much as a glance. And I do think there are people out there who will look for an issue, any at all will do, it brightens there day, gives them something to rant about
If that makes me a bitch I don't chuffin care. I am happy to be a bitch over what is, as LeQueen said, the worlds most boring subject.
It does sound a tiny bit futile. I mean, it'd be one thing if it was a cafe or restaurant owner who complained to a b/feeding mother. But a random 70-year old or two?
The only comments i ever received when b/feeding I public were lovely, positive ones - never had any negative ones, but I accept people obviously do.
I get that people with hang-ups around it probably wouldn't do if it was more normalised. I guess let them get on with it if they feel passionately about it. I would find it a bit too cringey, but then again, I had no qualms whatsoever about breastfeeding in public (and like I say, never had any negative comments), so don't really feel the need to make the point.
I do honestly think that the message would be far better put across just by more individual women getting on with their lives and breastfeeding in exactly the same way the bottle-feeders do (I'm sure many do; but the average passer-by just doesn't even realise what they're doing!), but I also accept it's a bit chicken-and-egg and that many women simply don't feel confident enough to do it and that maybe this sort of thing does help in its own way.
I understand the point about 'normal' feeding possibly being more constructive. But I guess that's the point with any activist movement: you have the vast mass of people who just get on with whatever 'it' is, and a minority who want to make a bigger fuss. Basically I'm constitutionally inclined to think 'good on you' about any kind of lawful protest, even if I don't agree with the ultimate aims; I think it's constructive and empowering to get together with a bunch of like-minded people and do something about whatever irks you, so long as you're not intimidating anyone.
And - at the risk of inflaming the thread - I don't believe that people think bf is all that boring. I don't think people would bother to come on a thread like this and post at length about how tremendously bored they are by it, if they were actually bored by it. I'm really, really bored by the idea of goldfish. I literally never post on goldfish threads. BF gets all mothers going, one way or the other - you did it, you didn't do it, you loved it, you hated it, you tried, you succeeded, you failed. Not one of us really doesn't give a crap about that.
Personally I'd just tell them to piss off if anyone commented and let that be my protest. If I was in a cafe or restaurant then I'd complain to the manger and expect them to sort out the problem, most would because it's bad PR not to. I understand some people struggle to be that assertive but I've come to realise that if you're going to bf then unfortunately, for now at least, people will always have an opinion and you have to be ready for that. It winds me up but ignorant knob heads breed ignorant knob heads.
I'm wincing for them Stranded. Have a virtual tube of Lansinoh.
When I was a breastfeeding supporter, this was suggested. I didn't want to do it because I felt my breastfeeding was a private matter - and certainly not something I wanted to do to make a point. I also didn't want to ask new mothers to do anything other than just concentrate on their babies.
So, I don't think it is exhibitionist exactly but I do think it is distorting the purpose of bfing, which is a wonderful bonding experience between mother and child as well as a source of food.
I have breastfed all 3 of mine in public...
Nobody noticed or complained.
The state I live in now, is banned (its illegal) from asking a woman to stop or move while B/feeding.
With my 3rd (that I gave birth to here) I was all ready for a little chat should anyone object ...they never did!
Also don't really get what they're going to do- surely all their children can't want to feed similtaniously for as long as the "protest" takes? What are they going to do? Force the child on the breast? Sit their half naked until their baby is hungry?
I would like to see bf normalised but I think these kind of protests are counter productive as they make bf seem militant rather than just a normal act.
I agree with the OP that the best defence against bf ignorance is to breastfeed your child in the same way as a mother would bottle feed a child. i.e. as and when required and without embarassment or fuss.
I BF in public. I didn't have any hassle. I was discreet. I was also ready to politely debate with anyone who told me it wasn't appropriate.
My feeling is however that whilst the women who told the OPs friend off were wrong, it seems to be a futile response to arrnage a mass public BF. I think this only serves to fuel the opinions of those who are against BF in public in thinking that it cannot be done discreetly and those doing it are confrontational, mad, liberal women void of any morals (WHICH IS NOT HOW I VIEW THEM - I'm just saying a typical DM reader, for example, may possibly hold this view)
I think the best response to this is just to carry on. It's a bit like being gay - it's no big deal, it's just natural and it's up to those who are offended by it to change their opinion, not those who are doing it.
gamerwidow x-post however you put it far more succinctly (and militant was the word i was looking for!)
I'm taking part in this. To answer practical questions, I will probably offer DS a feed, but it won't be a problem if he doesn't want to as it's not about flapping your norks about (there are plenty of people without bfeeding children coming too). In fact, quite the opposite - although it was prompted by an unpleasant incident (which did happen - I know Claire), it's being billed as more positive and celebratory. A cheeky tongue out and "So there!" rather than a fist back in the face.
(Also, it's due to be very cold and wet, so I doubt anyone wants to get too much out in any case.)
Who knows what bfeeding haters will make of it - hopefully it might demonstrate that public bfeeding is easy and discreet though. Plus we'll have a laugh and it will make Claire feel loads better after being shaken by a horrible experience.
Whoever said it's so horribly Brighton though, can't argue with that
This insistence on discretion is so damaging to many women's attempts to bf in public, though. Not everyone can be discreet. If you have big tits, big nipples, very strong supply, an active baby or toddler who pulls off without a moment's notice... you're not necessarily going to be able to be discreet. And why should you be? It's just a breast that's feeding a baby. It's not like you're wanking in public.
There was a post about this last week in the BFing topic.
I think a sit in is completely the wrong approach. Anyone who, for whatever reason, has a problem seeing mothers BFing their babies is going to feel totally justified in their opinion when an army of mothers make a big song and dance over it. These are the sort of things that end up with words like Militant, and delightful Nazi comparisons being flung about.
BFing needs normalising. This isn't the right way to do that.
(I BF in public, I have no issue with anyone feeding their baby how they want to, and where they want to)
Faverolles - as I said before, I take your point, but just to correct one thing - it's not a sit-in. We've chosen a venue with steps and seats, but for practical purposes only - we're not planning on refusing to move on.
OP - YABU. The sit-in is exhibitionistic in the way that most public protests or demonstrations are i.e. the whole point is to make a point and doing it by hiding away somewhere sort of defeats the point. If everyone sits round at Vera's house eating cake hidden away BFing their kids it's not really making much of a statement is it?
All th old ladies who came up to me when I bf in public were extremely positive! Those elderly ones you mention sound like arses.
I agree with faverolles, it's just conforming to the stereotype rather than challenging it.
Fair enough MrsWifty, but I still feel that it is pointless.
The people who have an issue will still have an issue, people who are on the fence about it may be swayed to thinking a BFing not-quite-sit-in is militant behaviour.
So what's it going to gain? Perhaps publicity that will bring out Daily Mail readers by their droves, is that really going to help "the cause"?
The thing is, the law is already behind BFing mothers, I don't understand what this sit in is hoping to gain?
Damnyouautocorrect - I do agree that ultimately we need to abandon this idea of discretion however I think we need to go in steps. Also, my definition of discretion is not "absolutely no bit of nipple or boob must be seen" - but rather just get on with it in a kid of no-fuss manner (and try to not go around sporting the amazonian look for too long!)
I choose to use a muslin to cover me up so I was totally discreet however I most certainly wouldn't want anyone think they had to do that - but perhaps more people would BF (which i think is an important aim) if they realised it could be done ultra-discretely?
Caveat: For those that have chosen to FF and who may be reading this - please don't pick a fight about the fact I have said improving BF rates is important. I respect your choice (and realise a lot of you didn't have a choice) but I think a lot of people are prejudiced against BF so they don't do it - that's all.
peace be upon you all.......
A not-at-all-a-sit-in. If you prefer, an assertion of our existing rights (a right which not everyone does realise exists, come to that, which is also part of the point.) I think I'm going to call it a ya-boo-sucks-in
YANBU. There's no need to "protest" about something which is already legal and normal. It's not going to change the mind of anyone bigoted anyway.
They did one in my local cafe that was good because the owner had asked someone to stop feeding.
But against people in general seems a bit pointless.
Was this reported in the Evening Argus or is it just Facebook hysteria?
I am from the same place and do see your point regarding the necessity of this protest in such a liberal city but as someone pointed out that is in very specific parts. Indeed, my DD is 8 months and breastfeed but I still feel a bit awkward. It is still not a normalised to the point of people not batting an eyelid. I've never had anyone tell me that I wasn't being discreet.but I have had 2 experiences of men glaring at them!
Whether it's Brighton or the Northernmost one horse town in the back end of beyond you cannot legislate against people having a crafty stare - absurd to assume otherwise. And actually - wherever you are - precious protesting like this does nothing to further whatever cause you perceive that you have. Just bloody breastfeed and get on with it - it's nobody's business but your own is it?
I think that everyone just breastfeeding normally is much the best idea so agree with OP.You have the right so don't need to pay any attention to people is cafes. I wouldn't go on a group protest-they tend to be organised by fanatics with their own agenda.
yabu. protest is fun! What harm will it do? Even if it WAS made up, maybe it will encourage more timid women to feel more happy bfeeding. If nothing else it will be a nice outing for those involved.
And what of the formula feeders who get comments/glares from those who think they "should" be breastfeeding? Will they protest too?
I love it.
One mad old bat makes a comment and the result is a protest.
I'm moving to Brighton. And when I'm old I'll see what mischief I can make.
BF is normal and should be encouraged EVEN in public.
But I have to draw the line at having an exhibitionists titathon.
What Damnyouautocorrect said. Ds even as a tiny baby would never put up with a muslin dangling near his head. It would make him arch and pull off and scream even more until he could grab it. So its not possible for everyone to feed ultra discretely. Threads like this with all you discrete feeders always make me feel like an exhibitionist for just feeding him.
If you HAVE to do something discreetly that means it is considered unacceptable in public.
After all people don't have to face a wall and hide under a shawl to eat a Greggs sausage roll, or eat one in the toilet or in a designated Greggs cubicle.
Unless they're an MN-er
"hide under a shawl to eat a Greggs sausage roll"
it's a great idea, most people are to embarassed to breastfeed in public, so doing it together means doing it at all.
I recieved negative comments for it, only a few. But those few knock your confidence massively.
And having a crying baby you're too embarassed to feed is a fucking pity, that is a real shame on society.
I'm considering stripping off from the waist up completely when breastfeeding my next baby just to give people something to really bitch about, because I quite angry that I was made to feel so embarrased as a new young mums those years ago due to idiots, when I was desperately trying to be discreet. Even with a baby getting fussy puching the top back up repeatedly.
So why not just wop them out completely next time.
Whose the most important person here? the baby.
I breastfed my dd for 14 months until she self weaned. I fully support breastfeeding. I think that a sit in like this sends out the wrong message. I breastfeed my dd to feed her, not to make a point. Creating a show out of breastfeeding is completely counter productive IMHO.
I breastfed out side of the mother and baby rooms,
as if I was to duddle and bond with my baby right next to a shit bin, packed up to the rim with dirty nappies that many people don't even wrap in nappy bags first, no thanks
what is wrong with my keyboard?
(correction) 'as if I want to cuddle and bond with....'
OP, you mention how there can be a sexual link to people getting their breasts out. Presumably you are the one who should be explaining that as you are the person describing people collectively breast feeding as exhibitionistic.
Here's the wiki link in case you are unaware of the connotations of the word you have chosen to use:
It is Brighton. I'll say no more because I might be covering it.
it's a great idea, most people are to embarassed to breastfeed in public, so doing it together means doing it at all
I don't think that this it at all true.I fed anywhere and everywhere and never had a detrimental comment. There was no way that I would have been prepared to do a mass breastfeed and get used by those with their own agenda.
One ignorant, elderly woman made a comment-I expect the next 10 would have been supportive. Take no notice and carry on.
When DS was a baby I'd have loved a disapproving glance from an old lady but bf was a total disaster - I felt the disapproving stares from all the yummy mummies watching me give him a bottle and tried not to feed him in public because I felt so ashamed . Still hurts and he's almost 17!
>They did one in my local cafe that was good because the owner had asked someone to stop feeding
That has a point, a cafe owner should have known better. But having a feed-in because a random group of people tutted (and even then, complained about the discretion rather than the act per se, from what the OP said) is a bit OTT. Its making an issue about something that should just be got on with as naturally as possible.
Have to say I never had a problem BFIP oop North!
The protest sounds awful. I BF for what many would consider a long-time and the thing that embarrassed me the most about BFing in 'public' (I always covered up and had no negatives comments at all) was being thought of as one of 'those BFing mothers' - cringeworthy. I saw a lady BFing whilst sitting in a very crowded picnic area at Longleat a few years back (I was BFing, too) - she had her entire breast out. No need for it at all - just making a massive fuss and show for the sake of it.
i've fed 3dc, 2 of them for over a year each, so have done an awful lot of b/feeding in public: in parks, at school sports day, in restaurants and cafes, and have never ever had any sort of remark, negative or otherwise, made to me about it.
i did a bit of artful arranging of muslins, one over my stomach since i was frankly more embarrassed about revealing my muffin top in public than my tits, and one in my hand to catch drips and give me a bit of privacy while i re-bra'd once dc had finished.
(i have had a few mad old ladies commenting on various aspects of my parenting, but i just shrugged them off as mad old ladies, which is what the OPs friend should have done)
yanbu its ironic that these bfers dont want bfing in public to be a big deal so what do they do???
Stupid and daft and just turns it into a joke. silly silly girls
I don't really see the point of this protest. If it was a public body or a restaurant or shop that had taken issue with someone BFing then I would fully support everyone descending on those premises and BFing to make the point that it is fully legal and stop it happening again.
But what is the point of protesting against random, judgemental old ladies? They are everywhere! If I had organised a protest everytime a random, judgemental old lady harassed me about carrying DS in a sling I would never have got anything else done. All this will do is cement those particular women's opinions - if they even hear about it. Everyone who was already OK with it will remain OK with it and everyone who was judgy about it will probably get more judgy.
I agree that the best way to normalise BFing is to normalise it - just get on with it. Challenge ignorance when confronted with it, by all means, but don't make a song and dance about it.
it's attention getting yes, but surely that is the point?
It's hardly exhibitionistic though - do you think they are waving their boobs around "look at me, look at me"???? Er no - they are feeding their babies, collectively - making a point that BF is normal, and Mums should be free to do it, without harrassement, anywhere their baby needs a feed.
There are reasons why the UK has one of the lowest rates of BF in Europe you know. These women are confronting one of them.
Completely agree with Kungfupannda!
I can't see what it will achieve. I agree with those that say it will just make the BF mothers look militant, rather than just getting on with feeding their babies and carrying on as normal.
Why is this woman (Claire I believe) even care what an ignorant 70yr old woman as said to her? She knows she is in the right, so why even care? I'd have just rolled my eyes at her, and if she's ask me to stop BF, then just say, I'm not going to.
I BF my 16 month old DD everywhere. Nobody has ever said anything negative to me.
making a point that BF is normal, and Mums should be free to do it, without harrassement, anywhere their baby needs a feed.
Ofcourse it is. Anyone with an ounce of brain will know that. Those that don't, this it not the way to sway them IMO.
I'm not sure, I think it's the reputation bf has here, tbh. It seems like in the states bf is associated with anjelinas and Miranda kerrs, beautiful women back in their skinny jeans weeks after birth, bf in the office, Getting on with fabulous lives with good hair and sparkly eyes whereas in the uk it has an assocation with overweight unmade up stragily eyebrowed hippies in Jesus sandals wooping their boobs out in cafes with 13 of their best hippy mates to make some bizarre protest and get attention for "the cause"
Many people on here consider it an achievement as it is something that they find very hard, painful and tiring...so in that respect yes I would agree with them. Many are told to stop being martyrs on here, if they choose to continue for the good of their child then I see that as an achievement in a way too. Many proclaim it to be hard etc, so it obviously seen as something to overcome.
However for me, it was the opposite. Easy peasy, never had an issue. Not because I am some awesome earth mother, but because DD had no problems latching and I had no problems producing! But for some, yes it is an achievement, and with DC2, who knows...it may be different.
I've also never had an issue BF-ing in public, and have done so in many different situations. Likewise I wouldn't bat an eyelid at anyone else, although I must admit to never really having seen anyone doing it. I have known someone who was on the receiving end of a few odd looks apparently, but apart from that no issues round here.
I can udnerstand people wanting to make a stand if they are on the receiving end of such odd attitudes, however this prob won't work. Just going back again and carrying on as normal would probably be more effective.
YY to LeQueen .
My opinion exactly, and I did both too.
No one even noticed when I was BF, and I never had little old ladies tutting at me, though little old ladies tutting seems to be a permanent feature on MN.
The whole Brighton thing is ridiculous.
breast feeding is simply a baby having its food. I wouldn't call you an exhabitionist if you were to eat your tea in front of me. there is nothing preverse or rude - breast feeding is what nature intended. BFing
Of course it is just a simple thing, so there is no need to make it anything else. No one ever noticed me. The only comment I did get was when I was a bit self conscious on a train and a lovely woman said that she bf on a commuter train in Surrey in 1950's in an old fashioned carriage full of men with bowlers and brolleys and they just opened their newspapers and ignored her. People have always managed-you don't need the militant making a huge fuss.
It is only a very small part of mothering and no one knows or cares a few years on. I agree with LeQueen-there are much more important things such as hearing your DC read every day.
I've been old lady confronted (there was a thread). I stood my ground, but I'd pay money for it not to happen again. I hate confrontation and now I'm just that little bit more self-conscious about BFing in public, and that makes me angry. Angry with her and angry with me, for letting it get to me.
Having said that, she's the only one. The rest have been lovely. Indeed, many people jumped to my defence when the woman was horrid to me.
I wouldn't dream of protesting. It was just one bigot out of hundreds of positive people.
True British manners and courtesy - wonderful
"an old fashioned carriage full of men with bowlers and brolleys and they just opened their newspapers and ignored her"
But there are also women who manage to turn BF-ding into some sort of event with much kerfuffle and 101 teeny-tiny gestures proclaiming - GoshLookAtMeI'mBreastFeedingAren'tITheNuturingEarthMotherBondingWithMyBabyWhilstSimultaneouslyChallengingDatedParochialAttitudes... Hear. Me. Roar.
Seriously, I've never encountered any of these women!
But BF'ers are very much in the minority. Out in London with my babies I notice the very rare other Mum BF'ing - it's much more common to see babies bottle fed.
I wonder how many of those babies having a bottle are having breast milk expressed in advance of the outing because the Mum feels uncomfortable BF in public?
>True British manners and courtesy - wonderful
Well quite. If you don't want to look at a woman feeding her baby just don't look.
No not at all, I am talking of their motivations...fairly obviously. If they choose to overcome significant personal difficulties for the benefit of their children (perceived or otherwise, yadda yadda) then they can feel they have achieved something in my opinion.
Like I said, bf was no achievement for me, nothing to be proud of and I never understood those who told me it was when dd was 1yr plus...simply because it was the easier option for me. I stopped when dd was 15 months because I was pregnant and it was agony... I didn't persevere through anything. However for my friend who is still bf-ING post one yr after suffering an undiagnosed tongue tie, repetitive mastitis and then blocked ducts for about the first 3 months to have persevered is an achievement. Persevering with anything tough for perceived 'selfless' ideals is always something to be proud of in my book.
Doesn't mean I think this sort of protest works though!
Seriously, I've never encountered any of these women!
You are very lucky! The reason that I wouldn't get involved with a mass bf is that they would be out in droves!
Agree with lequeen and other voices of reason...
A Brighton titathon... good grief!
I was another one who discretely breastfed and never got a negative comment or even a second glance. Breastfeeding wasn't actually the be all and end all of my life, thank god.
I have been reading all the posts on this thread and a few things jumped out at me to make me want to comment.
I am a Brighton mum whom bfs very discreetly, for those of you that have never run into the negative attitudes i'm really happy its great news, But this isnt the case still for to many women still.....even with the changes in law to protect bfing mums.
I am a quiet shy person and in the summer I was told to move by a very rude duty manger at a establishment in Brighton whom told me it was indecent. I was with both my children and was a very difficult thing to deal with,
complaints to the company afterwards resulted in the company involve being made aware of the law, and that the behaviour of the manger was unacceptable. They now have BFing friendly sign and better trained staff as to regards of the rights of bfing mums.
I fully support this Flash Mob BECAUSE to many people are not aware mums and babies have protection by law that harassment of bfing mums is not acceptable behaviour in this day and age of political correctness.
if the flash mob makes just one more person aware of this FACT. Then it has done its job. Then that one less mum to face the horrific feelings I went through in the summer.
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