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To think a sit down breast-feeding protest is a pointless and exhabitionist?

(252 Posts)
WhiteTrash Mon 12-Dec-11 19:07:36

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?

WhiteTrash Mon 12-Dec-11 19:44:54

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?!

ApocalypseCheeseToastie Mon 12-Dec-11 19:45:57

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.

SlinkingOutsideInSocks Mon 12-Dec-11 19:47:41

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.

DamnYouAutocorrect Mon 12-Dec-11 20:01:18

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.

krustyloaf Mon 12-Dec-11 20:12:08

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.

missorinoco Mon 12-Dec-11 20:16:05

I'm wincing for them Stranded. Have a virtual tube of Lansinoh.

coronet Mon 12-Dec-11 20:19:13

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.

Luminescence Mon 12-Dec-11 20:21:09

Eat my norks.

Feminine Mon 12-Dec-11 20:22:27

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 wink should anyone object ...they never did! grin

Serenitysutton Mon 12-Dec-11 20:22:36

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?

gamerwidow Mon 12-Dec-11 20:23:04

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.

PoppadumPreach Mon 12-Dec-11 20:25:19

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.

<await flaming>

PoppadumPreach Mon 12-Dec-11 20:26:43

gamerwidow x-post however you put it far more succinctly (and militant was the word i was looking for!)

MrsWifty Mon 12-Dec-11 20:33:54

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 grin

DamnYouAutocorrect Mon 12-Dec-11 20:34:11

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.

FaverollesWithBoughsOfHolly Mon 12-Dec-11 20:35:37

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 hmm 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)

MrsWifty Mon 12-Dec-11 20:38:15

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.

TCOB Mon 12-Dec-11 20:42:25

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?

runningwilde Mon 12-Dec-11 20:47:35

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.

Serenitysutton Mon 12-Dec-11 20:49:03

I agree with faverolles, it's just conforming to the stereotype rather than challenging it.

FaverollesWithBoughsOfHolly Mon 12-Dec-11 20:49:10

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?

PoppadumPreach Mon 12-Dec-11 20:50:11

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.......

MrsWifty Mon 12-Dec-11 21:12:57

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 smile

AnotherMincepie Mon 12-Dec-11 21:21:17

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.

tralalala Mon 12-Dec-11 21:23:09

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.

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