Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I don't get it

All this breastfeeding as politics stuff is kind of new to me. I just thought breastfeeding was the best, most natural way to feed babies with a whole bunch of benefits to mom and baby. Before I had a baby myself, I honestly didn't think about it much. I didn't notice breastfeeding moms out and about, but if I did I'd have been more likely to be worried about the presence of a noisy, smelly baby than I would have about breastfeeding.

The only time I've felt uncomfortable about being in the presence of breastfeeding was when someone else was. I remember a mom at my brother's daycare took me into a storage room to show me a box that had once been mine when I had gone to that daycare some eight years earlier, my name was still visible despite time and a coat of paint. It oddly intriguing. Then she wanted me to leave the room. I got that she wanted to nurse (my brother was breastfed), but I couldn't understand why she wanted me to leave. It's not like I would have hung out there forever with her and her boring baby in a storage room. And even when I understood she didn't want to nurse in front of me, I didn't understand why.

I also remember visiting a new mom six or seven years ago. The baby was brand new so she was a bit new to nursing - and it turns out there is a little bit of a knack to breastfeeding and breastfeeding discreetly which she didn't yet have. I didn't care. She had to feed her baby, we just chatted away. But I noticed her husband being uncomfortable as she opened her shirt. I didn't get it - then I realised that he was nervous because I was in the room and sitting directly across from her with a good eyeful of her ta-tas.

In the past, I thought maybe these people were being excessively modest, but hey - each to their own. But now I understand that there's a good portion of people who are somehow deeply offended by breastfeeding and aren't afraid to get all up in your face and say so.

I won't answer Bill Maher point by point, but just to say that dogs can't in fact give birth to human babies - and while they have occasionally raised human children (I've seen the documentary - thanks Channel 4) the results weren't tip top.

I didn't get that people were worked up about breastfeeding and now I have to admit I don't really understand why. Especially why people are all like "Not while I'm eating..."

Maybe I just have a higher revulsion threshold than others. Maybe my gross-outs are different. But I just don't understand what the big deal about nursing is. You can't see much if anything, nobody's doing it for your titilation - at least I'm not (if I were I wouldn't be wearing the baggy shirt and old sweatpants and I might have taken the time to comb my hair). Anyway, maybe the slummy mummy look is working out for me, 'cause I've only had the occasional rude, disbelieving stare.

But really - what's the deal? I want to know, 'cause I sure don't think it's about the accidental viewing of a bit of breast flesh. It's something about the act of actually feeding a baby. And is this a new thing or am I just now paying attention 'cause I'm nursing a baby?


More folks are chiming in on this - this list was compiled at Velveteen Mind where there's a fabulous take on the issue.


Nicole said...

I 100% agree with you.

Maybe people are uncomfortable with a part of a womans body that is thought of in a sexual way- suddenly being confronted with it's actual function. Think the image causes some folks brains to overload and hit does not compute.

I dunno.

Furrow said...

Dude. That's craziness. You know what I hate to see while I'm eating? Other people eating. Many people are really gross about it. Especially at those all-you-can-eat chinese buffets with the giant crab legs where the morbidly obese camp out all day, cracking 'em open and sucking loudly, but can I ask them to conceal themselves? I don't look at other people while they're eating. Why are people staring at babies when they do so?

Tara said...

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