Recently, a mother's picture was taken while she was nursing her infant daughter. Then, a firestorm erupted. This woman's choice to breastfeed her child during her graduation was deemed inappropriate and people went as far as to call her derogatory names. A few individuals asked me what was my opinion on the photo that has been shared repeatedly on the internet. The truth is that I really do not care where or how this woman chose to feed her child. The baby was hungry. The baby ate. That is all that matters to me.
|Congratulations, Karlesha Thurman!|
Why? I was the woman nursing a baby during an awards program. I have nursed in front of children playing at the playground. I have nursed while walking through outlet malls with three older children surrounding me. I have nursed while grocery shopping. I have nursed at my aunt's wedding. I have nursed during religious services. I had one child that would absolutely have destroyed a room's sound barrier if he did not get fed when he deemed necessary. So we fed him. At the zoo. In the mall. In a PTA meeting. It happens. Babies get hungry. Someone feeds them.
While I have nursed, I have heard some of the silliest comments known to man, well, woman. Here are 42 reasons why breastfeeding is a bigger deal to other people than it is to the nursing mother. Most of these statements stem from a lack of knowledge. These statements and the way society views a woman's breasts are the reasons why nursing has become taboo in public. Contrary to popular belief, some women cannot pump. Some women call their breasts by their proper name. Some women do not view breasts just as sexual objects. Some women choose to bottle feed. Some women choose to formula feed. Some women choose to exclusively nurse. I have formula fed and breastfed.
42 things I have heard while nursing in public:
2. Is she....OMAGAHD....she got her titty out. (This is after they leaned over and studied the baby to see why I put a blanket over her head.)
3. Why didn't you just pump?
4. Isn't pumping easier?
5. Aren't your breasts too small to breast feed?
6. That's nasty.
7. That is gross.
8. There is a bathroom with a couch on the other side of the mall. (Because everyone likes to walk a mile with a screaming baby to find a bathroom to feed said child just to eat while smelling fecal matter. That sentence didn't make any sense? Neither did that suggestion.)
9. Doesn't that feel funny....like...you know.....weird?
10. I could never have a baby sucking on my nipples. That is...sexual.
11. Does he cry like that every time he gets hungry? (Don't all babies cry? That is how they communicate.)
12. I could not have my baby ONLY want ME.
13. You have to get up during the night for every feeding? (Obviously, formula fed babies make their own bottles. Oh, wait, no, they do not.)
14. How does your husband help if the baby is breastfed.
15. I know your husband can't wait until you stop.
16. You don't think it is wrong for the baby not to be fed by daddy, too? What about their bond?
17. I could never just whip out my TITTY for anyone to see. (For the record, I have never "whipped my titty out." I have discreetly latched a baby on to my nipple, though. Go figure.)
18. I mean, how does that taste? (After I answered...) You mean you tasted your own breast milk? (After answering that question and asking them if they have tasted their own child's formula...) That is just nasty. (O.o)
19. Why don't you just give him a bottle? (What exactly would my baby do with an empty bottle?)
20. You ONLY give them breast milk? (The baby was 9 weeks.)
21. You don't give them water? I am surprised your child doesn't have kidney damage.
22. How do you sterilize your nipples?
23. You should ask the doctor if your breast milk is enough...
24. Are you nursing? There are children here! (My response: There is a child here, too. She is trying to eat. O.o)
25. You are nursing again?
26. She is still hungry?
27. How do you know she is getting enough?
28. Why are you switching sides? There is milk in both of them?
29. Do you ever run out of milk?
30. Why would you want to do that?
31. You are going to stop after 6 weeks right?
32. You are going to stop after she gets teeth, right?
33. You are going to stop once he starts biting, right?
34. You are going to stop once they start asking for it, right?
35. I couldn't have someone on my breast after they learn how to talk...
36. What if you leak?
37. Now no one will be able to watch her.
38. You could just give him formula. That would be easier.
39. I didn't nurse, because I wanted my baby to be independent.
40. I would just start formula now or transition to whole milk. (The baby was 9 months, mind you.)
41. That is more of a comfort for you than it is nutritious for them.
42. Poor people breastfeed. I can afford formula. You should get WIC.
So, in other words, I mind my own nipple. Someone else nursing in public is none of my business. I may have done the same thing at some point during my almost ten years of nursing. When my 6 year old son saw the picture of Karlesha nursing her baby, he said, "Cute baby!" That was what he saw in the picture. So, if all you see is her breast when you look at this picture, you may be the one with the problem...not the woman that was handed a hungry baby and happened to smile while feeding her.