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Breastfeeding is not Pooping

Dear clueless people responding to breastfeeding articles with “Pooping is natural too, but we don’t do it in public!” or “I don’t whip my d**k out in a restaurant, why should you get to whip out your boobs?”,

You people are kinda scary. I can’t quite wrap my brain around how you think these are equivalent, but I’ll try…

Firstly, pooping is the end result of eating, and our society rightly expects bodily waste elimination to occur in bathrooms. That’s why there’s changing tables in many bathrooms, so babies can have their butts changed in private.

Breastfeeding is not ‘naturally’ eliminating waste, breastfeeding is eating, just like every human being eats.

We watch people eating all the time. We see people shoveling food into their mouths, with sauce dribbling down their chins. We see people talking with their mouth full of half chewed food and belching. We see people laugh so hard at something their dinner companion said, wine spurts out their nose. This sort of thing happens in public every single day. Sometimes seeing people eat exposes us to things we’d rather not observe.

Last time I checked, most of us will avert our eyes when we see eating habits we consider uncouth. We’ll just ignore it, because our boundaries are our responsibility. If someone is being really gross with their belching, we might (if we’re mature adult human beings) politely ask them to stop, or ask that we be moved to another table. We take control of our actions, so that we don’t see what we don’t want to.

I’m pretty sure no one has gone to a gross eater and said “OH MY GOD, we shouldn’t have to look at that! Why can’t you go eat in the bathroom!” or “That’s just disgusting, put a blanket over your head or something!” or “Can’t you wait until you’re somewhere private to eat? Why do you have to force that on the rest of us?”. In fact, if we said those things to someone, we’d have them and the rest of the diners looking at us like we were nuts.

So why is it ok to say those things to a breastfeeding mom, just because someone is freaked out by part of a boob?

Go eat in the bathroom? Sit on the floor of (or in a chair in the corner of) a public restroom where waste germs are actively everywhere and have a meal? How many of us would actually, legitimately think that was an appropriate place for someone to consume food? “But, but…” There are no buts, you are not a motorboat. If you would be grossed out by eating a meal in a bathroom or janitors closet or stairwell, you can’t expect a mom to go feed their baby there. ESPECIALLY given that babies have weaker immune systems than adults. Would you ask someone undergoing chemo to eat in a bathroom? No? So don’t have a baby eat there.

And, lest you think that covering up is the reasonable thing to demand, go eat a whole meal with a blankie over your whole head. Go for it, I dare you. Get through a whole nourishing meal until you are full with a blanket over your head. Even better- make it a blanket you can’t control; so if it starts getting too hot, getting in your mouth or blocking your nose you have to stop eating and cry until someone fixes it for you. Oh and you can;’t tell them exactly what was wrong.

Secondly… Well, honestly, if you can’t tell the difference between displaying your primary private sexual organ in public and breastfeeding, there’s really no help for you. But I’ll try and break it down.

Newsflash: Most women aren’t “whipping it out” and letting it all hang free in the breeze for all to see when they breastfeed.

No, they aren’t. Even if you saw this one lady this one time at the mall who toootally had her whole boob hanging out, ZOMG.

For most women, nothing but the nipple and areola (the darker area around the nipple) needs to be uncovered for a baby to latch on properly, and once baby latches, you can’t see those. Babies provide better coverage than burlesque pasties.

How much of the rest of the breast shows often depends on the nursing bra being worn, the clothing being worn over the nursing bra, her breast size, how much futzing is needed to get the baby latched on, and how much skin to skin contact happens between baby and breast. 99.9% of the time, a woman breastfeeding in public will show less skin than a Victoria’s Secret ad or a Kardashian selfie. Oh, how scandalous!

The bottom line is public breastfeeding is neither shocking, tittilating or immoral.

It just isn’t. It’s how babies get fed. And if you look it closely, no one in our culture had an issue with that, up until the time formula feeding became a heavily marketed and advertised commodity in the mid 1930s. So it really has only been the last 80-85 years that breastfeeding became something weird or offensive.

So the next time you see a woman breastfeeding in public, and you think “Oh, ick!”, stop and realize that your mindset has been deeply inflenced by decades of marketing execs telling you that bottles are the normal way to feed babies.

And if you really can’t handle that part of her breast is showing while she provides nourishment and comfort to another human being, then maybe go grab the latest issue of Cosmo or something, where you can look at breasts that are actually on display for your amusement.

Love,
Charlene