Boob Wars: Nursing v. Beer Ads

I’m guilty of that thing. That thing where you judge something, and don’t understand it until it directly impacts your life. Then all the sudden you about-face. It’s what John Stewart makes fun of House Republicans for all the time. That’s me on the topic of public nursing.

It’s off-putting, seeing someone breastfeed in public. Because it’s a boob and it’s just there out in the open.

But here’s a fact – if you can do it (and not every human body can) it’s the best way to feed your kid. Moms today are really, really pressured to breastfeed. I know women who have gone to ridiculous, painful, expensive lengths just to be able to naturally nurse their babies. I resent, but understand the pressure. We want what’s best for our kids. I fought, physically fought to breastfeed. It was sometimes excruciating, but it is what is best for the baby.

So here’s the rub: If I want to leave the house, 9 out of 10 times I have to take my baby into a stinky public restroom and hover over a toilet to feed her.

Why? Because it’s off-putting to see someone breastfeed in public.

I’m too embarrassed to do it. I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. So me and my baby smell other people’s waste while she eats, because maybe I needed to go to the store. Or a restaurant. The nursing covers don’t work for us, we’ve tried, and it’s a non-starter. So, this video really hit home with me:

Hollie McNish on Nursing

I don’t think that we can just flip a switch and change our thoughts on this as a society, but man, I wish we could. This is literally the only reason women were given breasts. Not for beer ads. Not for Victoria’s Secret. For feeding babies. Imagine a cow with a bikini top on it’s udders. Sorry, but…really.

It’s just one of those sneaky “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenarios that women deal with – sometimes without even recognizing the unfairness. Choose not to breastfeed – BAD MOM. Choose to breastfeed in public – WEIRD HIPPY SHOWBOAT SCARRING FUTURE GENERATIONS OF BEER AND VICTORIA’S SECRET CONSUMERS.

Solution = Stay home all the time and breastfeed. WAIT, NO, YOU CAN’T BE A STAY AT HOME MOM EITHER, WE HAVE OPINIONS ABOUT THAT.

Super solution – Write a cutting poem about the whole thing and have it picked up by the Huffington Post. Seriously, watch that video. Hollie McNish really nails it.

Note: I want to mention IKEA, a company that provides a nursing area for visiting families. It’s so simple, but so important. It literally makes me want to shop there forever. Also, a chair in a handicapped stall is also appreciated. I think little modifications are a great step towards progress.


4 thoughts on “Boob Wars: Nursing v. Beer Ads

  1. yeah, nursing is great, but sucks. (pun not intended, or maybe it is. )
    I nursed emma til she was 3, during my pregnancy with molly. I tandem nursed when molly was born. molly nursed til she was 2, when i got pregnant with twins. I couldn’t nurse the twins. I tried but we were not “compatible”. so i pumped, exclusively for 4 months. it was awful! pump, feed, wash, rest for an hour, then repeat. when i had to give them formula for the first time, because i couldn’t pump enough, i was so mad at myself. i felt like a failure. i felt like i was poisoning them. and you know what……..they were fine. they liked it, they drank it, and they were happy.

    nursing in public is no fun. i remember planning all my outings so i could be back home in 2 hours. the covers didn’t work for me. I had to use 2 hands to nurse, so it was awkward. i envied those with little boobs who could nurse with a sling. πŸ™‚
    I got a few weird looks, and i felt bad, but i realized i was doing the right thing. a belly band helped, so i could cover up my belly a bit while nursing.

    I used to run story time at the library.
    One time, Molly was about 12 months, being super cranky, would not stop screaming while i was trying to read to the kids. so i pulled her onto my lap, and nursed her while still reading to the kids. I read on autopilot, and my mind was racing, people are gonna think i’m crazy, i was nursing while on center stage, i have 20 sets of eyes watching me. but i didn’t know what else to do. it’s hard to think when your kids is screaming at you, “milky, milky, mommy milky”.

    and no one said anything, no one stared. a few moms smiled, but the kids were deeply engrossed in Horton, or Curious George, or Sam I Am, or whatever the hell i was reading. When i was done, i explained the craft, and another mom helped the kids so i could finish nursing.

    To this day, people mention it to me when nursing comes into topic. “meghan, i remember when you nursed while reading at story time”, and i feel my face getting red, and then they finish their sentence, “that was awesome. you we so cool and calm about it”.

    sure it was a group of moms and kids, and not weird guys at the mall, but it made me feel better about nursing in public. a lot of people would rather see someone nursing, than listen to a baby scream . and i HATE it when I’m hanging out with a mom, and she goes and hides in her bedroom for half an hour, so she can nurse the kid, leaving me alone in her living room.

    so, i don’t know what my point is. “you can do it!” i guess. but when you’re nursing in public, at least you can think, “at least i’m not on stage”. Just do whatever YOU feel is right for you baby. Everyone else can fuck off. πŸ™‚

    • You are brave! And I love your attitude – maybe when I’m a more experienced mom I can get my courage up. I so wish I could use the cover – would solve some problems for sure.

      Exclusively pumping for 4 months literally sounds like hell. You’re amazing.

  2. Stopping by for first time & LOVE this post! I breastfed both of my daughters until they turned 1 & I can’t tell you how many times I nursed them in the car. I did relax a little more w/my second, but it was still tough to face the odd & sometimes scathing looks! And don’t even get me started on the horrors I endured pumping in airports & on planes on biz trips! Love places like IKEA that are getting on board & helping a mother out!

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