Why is discretion such a hot topic?--Update#127 (pg 7) - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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#121 of 145 Old 01-21-2008, 10:40 PM
 
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Yeah, moms who nip are looking for attention if they expose xyz amounts of flesh,girl o girl, we are one screwed-up 'culture'. I nip or anywhere with little hassle but I'm in uk,(been 7 yrs since I did tho) I don't be in restaurants but am out and about and see hardly any women nip at all and thats SAD. Disgustingly, we are soo not offended to have boobs and butts all over bus shelters,'news'papers etc our bodies exposed for anyone to see, how about the flake advert, kinda sexual, no? everywhere. I only had one elderly man almost take steps to ask me to cover up, on a lovely shore in a remote but touristy location, I had to give him the evil eye as he approached as I would not have been pleasant to him had he actually 'conversed'. My back was turned right away from him, I have small breasts and I had a huge jacket on, he had to have been looking really hard to suss what I was doing and he just could not 'let it go'. Other peoples comfort levels? Give me a break! This is as we know a far deeper problem and imo a lot of people are ignorant, no we don't need to cover up if we don't want to, no freakin way! At 40 I've had my fill of the sexism in this world but I was lucky enough to know from an early age that I would breast feed if poss and tho not an overly-confident person I felt extremely proud and blessed to be bfding my dc. Look em right in the eye I say, no I am not ashamed to use my breasts for their primary and most important function. Loving the cover-up theory by pp, yeah the 'offended' party would perhaps feel more at ease if they put a blankie on THEIR head, lol so funny thanks,and it's far more relaxing feeding when there ain't some total **** unable through ignorance and fear to take their eyes and 'thoughts' off the lady trying to feed her babe, disgraceful behaviour and what a sad but so true thing that it appears to be boobs for men and bottles for babies. To the op I would say don't let yourself be the one accomodating to everyone's wishes all the time, especially when nursing, let go of the shame piled on us women and bask in the empowerment of breastfeeding, I was lucky, my female friends that I lived with just got em out and fed their babes, anytime, anyplace, anyhow and these gals have ample boobs and they never rushed to put them away or worry incessantly over how much or how little(as in my case!) flesh was showing. I certainly felt no compulsion to appease the body fascists anyhow I was really happy and wouldn't have let them ruin it for us. If anyone had had the guts to approach me they would have been backing off pretty quick, why can't they put their time towards something useful? I don't care about cultures that require women to be shamed about their sexuality and basic bodily functions and that covers just about every culture on this planet. We are just meat to them, they care more about their mucked up feelings than they do about babes getting a healthy start to life. A very good friend said to me when she realized I was feeding my 15 month old(2 month preemie) and was also just pregnant with my son, WHAT.ARE.YOU.DOING?!! in a very loud freaked out voice, you have to stop that, she bf her own kid!!! Do I have to explain to someone who got straight A's That I am 'still' nursing and while pregnant and the sad thing was I followed her advice as I was in a very low and desperate place as my childrens dad had been hospitalized and I was a single parent again and really not thinking straight. Other people cannot judge what is right for you, no way.
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#122 of 145 Old 01-21-2008, 10:44 PM
 
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I will admit that I haven't read every single post in this thread, but I just wanted to share something that made me smile. It's relevant to breastfeeding etiquette.

My twin sister is an attorney and is currently writing an article on breastfeeding and the law for our state's bar journal. She asked me for some help with the research, and in the outline she included mention of a "breastfeeding etiquette" sidebar. My words of caution flowed freely, as my lactivist red flags were at full attention (she is pro-bf, but has no children and is a bit more conservative than I). She replied, saying that what she means to include is "breastfeeding etiquette from the perspective of those in the presence of a bfing mother". I thought that was an interesting spin (sorry if it's obvious to some of you), and a great opportunity for lactivism. People assume (myself included) that when we are talking about breastfeeding etiquette, we put the responsibility on the nursing mother. This potentially puts some responsibility on everyone else (ie., offer her a glass of water, lower your voice when speaking to her, etc.)
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#123 of 145 Old 01-21-2008, 10:49 PM
 
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This thread has me thinking of Peggy O'Mara's editorial: "Breastfeeding in Whose Public?" I highly recommend it

And this Mothering article: "From Bashful to Brazen."

I hope the points of view are helpful.

I have retired from administration work, so if you have a question about anything MDC-related, please contact Cynthia Mosher. Thanks!
 
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#124 of 145 Old 01-21-2008, 11:21 PM
 
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As others have said, asking a woman to cover, or expecting her to do so, implies that NIP is somehow 'wrong' or 'dirty'. That it something that should be private and hidden. This is untrue. In 90% of the world (basicly everywhere but the US), NIP is no big deal. Its just what happens, and nobody thinks twice or looks twice.

That any woman, and one who nurses at that, thinks that women should in general cover themselves and act as though nursing is somehow 'dirty' or 'inappropriate' just in case someone's immature enough to think that its 'gross' boggles my mind. Truely.

Suggesting that accidentally/incidentally flashing a bit of nipple/breast is anywhere along the same lines as men pulling their penis' out in public is just sick. It's along the same lines as "we don't urinate/deficate in public, so we shouldn't nurse either!" - which is jsut wrong and disgusting. Urination/defeication is universally something that is done away from others. For good reason - urine/feces are generally very bad for public health. Breastfeeding is the exact opposite - it is generally done in public, is overall very good for public health, and has *NEVER* been hidden from public view anywhere but the US. My NIP helps to normalize bfing, and is therefor an overall benefit to the public. If one less woman nurses in a bathroom or doesn't nurse at all because they saw me nip, then I have done the public a HUGE amount of good. And even if 1000000 are made uncomfortable in order for just one to decide to nurse, then the overall net benefit FAR OUTWEIGHS everyone else' discomfort. Period
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#125 of 145 Old 01-21-2008, 11:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ruhbehka View Post
I would venture to guess that most MDC mamas nurse differently in different situations....

That's because it's clear to them that I ought to be nursing my child, and they realize that they are uncomfortable because it's not something they see much, not because I'm doing something wrong.

OTOH, I have no real interest in perpetuating someone else's mistaken belief that nursing is something that should be kept out of the public eye. I refuse to make a point of being "extra discreet" for disrespectful or misinformed people.
Excellent points. I do this. Yes, I nurse differently in my house in front of my girlfriends (esp. those who have nursed their babies) than I do in front of my FIL or neighbor's husband. I may even remove myself from the room to nurse if I feel uncomfortable. But the key is that *I* get to chose.

Of course, I am respectful of others around me - I will accommodate them WHEN it does not negatively impact me or my child, and I feel that accommodation is based on respect or love, not fear.

And of course I have been intimidated at times to not nurse (esp. my toddler) in public - and seeing another mom nurse in public really helps give me the courage to know that it *is* okay.

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And anyway, for every person that you offend by NIP in a natural way, you educate five more, plus several children, and remind them that nursing is a natural, positive thing.
Exactly.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#126 of 145 Old 01-22-2008, 12:10 AM
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I have never been hassled about NIP nor have I ever worried about being 'discrete'. I have NIP EVERYWHERE from the laywers office to standing in line at the post office to the bus, beach and everywhere in between. ( I even NIPed in front of Justin Timberlake)

The difference being for me is I live in a country where NIP is accepted (for the most part) and everyone is pretty much accustomed to it.
If I cafe owner here were to tell a mother to cover up while breastfeeding he would go out of business.

So because it is more accepted here I have never used a blanket or worried about 'offending people'.

There are plenty of things about me that offend people, from my hairy armpits to my being jewish to my bisexuality. HOWEVER I do NOT attempt to hide these things from the world because of others perceived uncomfortableness.

PS I also find it really hard to believe how many people are willing to put their comfort in front of that of a infant or child because they are scared of boobs!! Shame on them, that THIER problem!
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#127 of 145 Old 01-22-2008, 12:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, there have been a lot of posts here that have brought up good points. Some were points I hadn't considered before, or things I hadn't thought about exactly that way before.

I appreciate those of you who have very graciously and gently educated me and allowed me to be exposed to different ideas in a polite way, even if you strongly disagreed with something I said.

I started this thread basically trying to understand where people were coming from, and probably also to explore why it triggered such strong feelings in me when people said things like, "I should be able to nurse topless anywhere I want to and nobody should be able to say a thing about it" or "nobody can tell me how to feed my child--that's rude, horrible and abusive!"

Now that I'm thinking about it more, I think that when people make comments about how horrible and rude and inhumane and inconsiderate it is for anybody to set limits or make requests of people about how they feed their children, ever, I think that makes me feel uncomfortable because, in an indirect way, they are talking about me.

Not about breastfeeding--I don't think I've ever said anything to anyone about nursing, except to encourage them to do it. But I have had to set limits on what people feed their children in my home because I had a child with severe food allergies (reactions triggered by even trace amounts of her allergens), and it was one of the most difficult and uncomfortable things I've ever had to do.

I felt like a horrible, mean, intolerant person doing it, but I felt it was necessary to protect my child, so I did it. Some people were offended or thought I was crazy and overreacting, and I had to deal with that.

My daughter has now grown out of her allergies, so this is no longer necessary. But, still, whenever I hear a comment about how terrible it is that anyone would ever try to limit where or how someone feeds their child, it stings a bit. Even though I know it's a different situation.

We all come from different backgrounds and are going through different processes.

Me, I come from a background where most people dress extremely modestly, to the point that most mainstream people probably think it looks wierd. Where breastfeeding is the norm, but mothers pretty much all nurse covered with a blanket every time unless there are no men in the room (if they nurse in the same room with men at all). Where spanking is a primary mode of discipline.

I used to think strictness and spanking were the way to go with raising kids. Now I take a very gentle, respectful, as non-punitive as possible approach with my kids. I used to think spanking was required, and now I think it's not a good tool to have in my parenting toolbox at all.

I now have a completely different attitude and approach to parenting than I used to, and it's still growing and morphing. Being exposed to ideas, asking questions, and engaging in discussions has been a big part of this change. The mothering.com message boards have been hugely instrumental in that.

It's very nice to have a relatively safe place to ask questions and engage in discussion, and try out different arguments to see if they hold water. Sometimes when we say something aloud or in type, the very act of voicing it and seeing people's responses can help us to know whether it's valid or not.

Some of the things I said in this thread were pretty stupid, I know. Like the decorative screen in the restaurant thing, for instance. Even so, I appreciate having had the opportunity to voice the thought and have people interact with it, so I could realize it was stupid instead of just never voicing it and still having the nagging thought in the back of my head, "Well, could that be a viable solution?" for who knows how long.

I still don't understand how or why exposing the entire breast to nurse would ever be actually necessary. I can understand that it might be easier or more comfortable for some women, but I don't understand why it would be significantly more so.

If someone can explain why it would ever actually be necessary and unavoidable for a woman to expose the entire breast while nursing, I would be interested in hearing the reasons. I can learn.

I see why using a lightweight blanket or shawl to nurse should not always be the standard, although I guess some part of me still believes that anyone really COULD do it if they really wanted to and were willing to work with their child to teach them to leave it on, and use a lightweight enough blanket so that heat wasn't such a huge issue.

I do understand now (as I didn't a few years ago) that many women can be just as well covered and just as discreet (or is it spelled discrete?) without a blanket as with one, and that blankets sometimes draw more attention than nursing blanketless. I have even gotten brave enough to NIP without a blanket myself in some situations (though not in others).

I still don't quite get the "it's not wrong or shameful, so we shouldn't have to hide it" argument. I mean, I get it about nursing. I totally get it about nursing. Nursing should not have to be hidden, ever.

I just don't get it about breasts. I mean, there are a lot of things that are not wrong, shameful or sexual in our culture that we just don't show publicly.

I could list off tons of them, all of which everyone would say are bad comparisons (because, I mean, even comparing wearing a shirt that shows some breast while not nursing to showing some breast while nursing was deemed offensive on this thread), so I won't. Suffice it to say that hiding something or trying to do it where other people don't have to get a good long look at it doesn't necessarily mean we think it's wrong or shameful or sexual.

In general, we hide our breasts. I'm just still not sure that's necessarily a bad thing. I think most if not all women can hide at least the majority of their breasts and still nurse with only incidental or momentary breast exposure, if they want to.

Honestly, I'm very supportive of breastfeeding women in general. I'm always encouraging people to nurse or telling them they don't have to go in the other room to nurse in my home unless they want to, or talking about how wonderful and unique it is to be nursing a toddler (nursing this long is a first experience for me with my third child). I blog about nursing my toddler quite a bit, which is actually quite uncomfortable for me since people I know are squeamish about nursing read my blog. But I'm willing to stretch myself in that area because I do think it helps to normalize and promote nursing a toddler.

I can't really imagine myself saying anything to anyone about the way they were nursing, with the possible exception of a situation where they were taking their shirt off or maybe if they were exposing an entire breast while people I knew were uncomfortable with even "hidden" nursing were present in my home. Even then, I probably wouldn't say anything. But I'd be dying inside if I was in a situation where a friend was fully exposing her breast in front of people I knew would be so uncomfortable with it, and I was the hostess responsibe for everyone's comfort, but I didn't know what to do or say.

I understand that some women need to expose more of their breasts than others to nurse, even though I don't (yet?) understand the need to expose the entire breast. If I see a woman with more of her breast showing than I would feel comfortable with, I generally don't even think twice about it.

I would possibly be tempted to judge a woman nursing completely topless, but, you know, I'd probably actually start to judge her and then think of a thread I read here in Lactivism and smile instead. I'd wonder if, like the situation I'm thinking of, the poor woman just got so frustrated and overwhelmed trying unsuccessfully to latch the baby that she ripped her shirt off even though it was something she normally wouldn't do.

Knowing that there actually could exist a situation where someone was nursing without a shirt for a reason like that would make me less likely to judge her, and that lowered likelihood to judge would be completely from reading this board. So, people, your time and energy is not wasted by posting hee.

But (and this applies more to interactions here on the message boards, too) it's the attitudes and motivations that affect my opinions of people's actions more than anything else, I think. That's where my posts about courtesy and respect come in.

If I just saw a woman nursing with a lot of her breast exposed, I would probably be more likely to assume she had a good reason.

But imagine that a friend came to me and said, "I was visiting Mary at her house, and her grandpa dropped by to give her something. He always looks so uncomfortable when anyone nurses a baby near him, you know? So I decided I'd give him something to be uncomfortable about. I sat where he'd be sure to get the best view and then I pulled out my breast and tried to make sure he saw as much of it as possible while I nursed my babe. It was great watching him squirm! Maybe that'll teach him not to be such a prude."

My response to her wouldn't be, "Wow, that was great! You really helped advance the cause of nursing mothers." It would be more like, "Wow. That was an incredibly rude and disrespectful thing to do to Mary's grandfather in her home. I wouldn't be surprised if she never invites you over again."

My reaction would be NOT because of how much breast she did or didn't show, but because of the attitudes and reasons she communicated for having done what she did.

If someone has a good reason why they need to nurse topless or expose their entire breast, I don't have a problem with them doing it. But if they say they're doing it because they enjoy making people uncomfortable or because they just don't care, then it seems rude and disrespectful to me.

However, the arguments about social change actually have me reconsidering this idea somewhat. At least in general. I still think I'd be hurt and offended if someone I considered a friend decided to unnecessarily take off her shirt to nurse in my home in front of my husband or father, knowing he was uncomfortable, just to try to teach him (or me) some kind of lesson.

Anyway, like I said before, thank you for all of your posts. I know I'll be thinking about them for days, if not longer.
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#128 of 145 Old 01-22-2008, 01:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by purple_kangaroo View Post
If someone can explain why it would ever actually be necessary and unavoidable for a woman to expose the entire breast while nursing, I would be interested in hearing the reasons. I can learn.
Would you like to see a photograph of my breast, and the torture devices posing as nursing bras that I have to deal with? If you saw it, you would see why it would be next to impossible to just expose my nipple and areola while keeping the rest of my substantial, floppy, victim-of-gravity-and-fat breast contained in a bra or a shirt. It just ain't gonna happen. I've tried, it didn't work. In fact, it pissed my baby off. I'd way rather tick off some person in the park or the restaurant than tick off my baby. So, the whole boob comes out. All 10 pounds of it.

Quote:
I see why using a lightweight blanket or shawl to nurse should not always be the standard, although I guess some part of me still believes that anyone really COULD do it if they really wanted to and were willing to work with their child to teach them to leave it on, and use a lightweight enough blanket so that heat wasn't such a huge issue.
Some people have to work hard enough just to teach a baby to latch.
Why should they have to put in extra work, heartache, and stress to 'teach' a baby something that only benefits people who are uptight about breastfeeding?

Quote:
I still don't quite get the "it's not wrong or shameful, so we shouldn't have to hide it" argument. I mean, I get it about nursing. I totally get it about nursing. Nursing should not have to be hidden, ever.

I just don't get it about breasts. I mean, there are a lot of things that are not wrong, shameful or sexual in our culture that we just don't show publicly.
...sigh. OK, like what? Like poop? Breastfeeding is NOT LIKE POOP. It's not even like pee, or the organs that make poo and pee. It's not excretory, it doesn't spread disease, it doesn't smell bad. And there is no valid comparison in terms of wearing a low-cut shirt while not breastfeeding - it's done for a completely different, unrelated reason. If someone can see part of my breast when I'm breastfeeding, it's not because I was trying to show off my breasts in a mating display. It's because I was trying to feed my baby.


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In general, we hide our breasts. I'm just still not sure that's necessarily a bad thing. I think most if not all women can hide at least the majority of their breasts and still nurse with only incidental or momentary breast exposure, if they want to.
It's acutally pretty hard for me, as I said above.
When I do it, people get an eyeful.
And when I started, I thought I was wrong or bad or too fat or whatever because I couldn't find a comfortable, workable way to NIP without taking my whole breast out of my nursing bra and exposing a lot of skin.
I don't care now, 17 months into it. But apparently I should be worried about how much skin I'm showing, not how well my child is latched and if he's eating well.

Quote:
If someone has a good reason why they need to nurse topless or expose their entire breast, I don't have a problem with them doing it. But if they say they're doing it because they enjoy making people uncomfortable or because they just don't care, then it seems rude and disrespectful to me.
Thanks for your permission.
How about this - I do need to expose my entire breast when I nurse, and I do it because I have to, but I'm also secretly glad that some people think it's rude, because I enjoy being rude and disrespectful to people that would judge me over something like breastfeeding.

I didn't mean for the tone of my post to sound rude.
You touched a button with the repeated claims of "not understanding" why a woman would have to expose more breast than you're comfortable with in order to nurse.
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#129 of 145 Old 01-22-2008, 01:34 AM
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Originally Posted by purple_kangaroo View Post

I still don't understand how or why exposing the entire breast to nurse would ever be actually necessary. I can understand that it might be easier or more comfortable for some women, but I don't understand why it would be significantly more so.

If someone can explain why it would ever actually be necessary and unavoidable for a woman to expose the entire breast while nursing, I would be interested in hearing the reasons. I can learn.
I can give you a few examples! I do this often when I am wearing a dress and have to put my boob over the top of it to feed (if you go to my thread about myspace taking my bf pic down, you can see an example in the picture link) . At the beach or pool - when I am in my swim suit.

I also hardly ever wear bras (actually i only wear them to work) and almost all the time I have to roll my shirt up over the top of my breast when i need to breastfeed as my DS does not like anything flapping in his face or in the way of our eye contact.

I also implore you, purple kangaroo, to separate your experiences with your childs food allergies to those of a nursing mother harrassed, degraded or insulted for nursing her child. Your experiences was one where real harm could of come to your LO and there fore you had to set stringent rules as you how others fed their kids in your house.

In the case of a nursing mother - NO ONE has ever had a severe allergic reaction to seeing a little boob
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#130 of 145 Old 01-22-2008, 01:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by purple_kangaroo View Post
I still don't understand how or why exposing the entire breast to nurse would ever be actually necessary. I can understand that it might be easier or more comfortable for some women, but I don't understand why it would be significantly more so.

If someone can explain why it would ever actually be necessary and unavoidable for a woman to expose the entire breast while nursing, I would be interested in hearing the reasons. I can learn.
.

I am going to guess that you don't have very large breasts. And, by very large, I mean VERY large. I don't either. And, if I didn't have a friend with VERY large breasts, I totally would not understand why someone would have to take their whole breast out and lay it on a pillow to latch on a baby. I knew that some women needed to do this with newborns, but I now understand that even with bigger babies, this is necessary for some women.

When I latch on my baby, I can shield my nipple from view with my hand, so I hold my shirt, and cover my nipple with my hand while latching the baby on. It is very discreet and most people probably would not know that I was latching a baby on, unless they were watching us intently. But, I don't have to support my breast at all. There is no way that someone who has to support her breast with one hand and the baby with the other who could do that.

When we are alone and it is just women, my friend just lets it all hang out. That is something I really had to get used to, and it surprised me that it made me feel a little uncomfortable at first. I had to think and re-evaluate stuff because of that. But, it remains that it is my stuff to re-evaluate.

When my husband is around, she still has to have her nipple "out there" when she latches on, but then she pulls the shirt down to cover everything after the baby is on. She is being as discreet as she can be and still take care of her baby's needs. It would be near impossible for her to latch her baby on with a blanket over the baby's head. And, she shouldn't have to. She is feeding her baby. Period.
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#131 of 145 Old 01-22-2008, 01:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I can give you a few examples! . . .

I also implore you, purple kangaroo, to separate your experiences with your childs food allergies to those of a nursing mother harrassed, degraded or insulted for nursing her child. Your experiences was one where real harm could of come to your LO and there fore you had to set stringent rules as you how others fed their kids in your house.

In the case of a nursing mother - NO ONE has ever had a severe allergic reaction to seeing a little boob
Yes, you're completely right! And I'm really glad I figured out why it was bothering me so much to read "Nobody should ever tell a mother how or where to feed her child! That's abusive and only a horrible person would do that!" Now that I've realized where my gut reaction was coming from, I can tell myself, "Cool it, Purple_Kangaroo. They're not talking about your kind of situation. Just because they said that doesn't make you a bad person for limiting your LO's allergens coming into the house. Not the same at all!" And I can get over it and stop feeling defensive when people say something like that about breastfeeding. Because it is not. the same. thing. at. all.

But I wouldn't have realized why that was making me uncomfortable and how unreasonable (and how silly the connection) if I hadn't taken the time to examine it and figure out where it was coming from. Now that I realize that, I don't think it will bother me as much.

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Originally Posted by ktbug View Post

Thanks for your permission.
How about this - I do need to expose my entire breast when I nurse, and I do it because I have to, but I'm also secretly glad that some people think it's rude, because I enjoy being rude and disrespectful to people that would judge me over something like breastfeeding.

I didn't mean for the tone of my post to sound rude.
You touched a button with the repeated claims of "not understanding" why a woman would have to expose more breast than you're comfortable with in order to nurse.
You don't need my permission, obviously. But, honestly, thank you for taking the time to explain how difficult nursing "discreetly" is for you. Your explanation helped my level of understanding a lot.
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#132 of 145 Old 01-22-2008, 02:46 AM
 
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If someone can explain why it would ever actually be necessary and unavoidable for a woman to expose the entire breast while nursing, I would be interested in hearing the reasons. I can learn.

This reminds me of when ds2 was a toddler. He'd insist on lifting my shirt as high as he could so that he could, as he called it, "Nurse Big!!" lol
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#133 of 145 Old 01-22-2008, 02:51 AM
 
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I've finally read all of this thread! So now I feel the need to respond, of course.

purple_kangaroo, I appreciate your willingness to learn and grow from the responses you've received. In all honesty, there were times through this thread that I got really frustrated with the things you said (which is why I've kept myself from posting). But I hope that you will continue to be open to discussion and explore your way of thinking here on MDC.

I just wanted to respond to this comment
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I see why using a lightweight blanket or shawl to nurse should not always be the standard, although I guess some part of me still believes that anyone really COULD do it if they really wanted to and were willing to work with their child to teach them to leave it on
My DD would never be able to be "taught" to nurse under a blanket. When she was younger and I tried it, she simply could not nurse that way. She cried until I took it off. Really screamed actually, in a way that hurts a momma's heart to hear. I don't know if it's the fact that she couldn't see me, or the fact that she has some slight sensory issues, but it truly seemed to hurt her to try using a blanket. And a screaming baby cannot nurse! So please remember that sometimes there are situations that you simply can't understand, and can't know of just by looking at a person.
BTW, I'm completely comfortable with NIP now, and probably won't ever bother trying to use a blanket with the next one...it has simply become the norm in my life, an in the lives of all who know me.

Sabrina loving wife to Nate , frazzled mom to Gabriella (1-23-07) and Robert (2-9-10) My bed and heart are overflowing!
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#134 of 145 Old 01-22-2008, 02:56 AM
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Originally Posted by purple_kangaroo View Post
Yes, you're completely right! And I'm really glad I figured out why it was bothering me so much to read "Nobody should ever tell a mother how or where to feed her child! That's abusive and only a horrible person would do that!" Now that I've realized where my gut reaction was coming from, I can tell myself, "Cool it, Purple_Kangaroo. They're not talking about your kind of situation. Just because they said that doesn't make you a bad person for limiting your LO's allergens coming into the house. Not the same at all!" And I can get over it and stop feeling defensive when people say something like that about breastfeeding. Because it is not. the same. thing. at. all.

.
I am glad I could help sort that out for you!
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#135 of 145 Old 01-22-2008, 04:14 PM
 
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I still don't understand how or why exposing the entire breast to nurse would ever be actually necessary. I can understand that it might be easier or more comfortable for some women, but I don't understand why it would be significantly more so.

If someone can explain why it would ever actually be necessary and unavoidable for a woman to expose the entire breast while nursing, I would be interested in hearing the reasons. I can learn.

I see why using a lightweight blanket or shawl to nurse should not always be the standard, although I guess some part of me still believes that anyone really COULD do it if they really wanted to and were willing to work with their child to teach them to leave it on, and use a lightweight enough blanket so that heat wasn't such a huge issue.
Have you ever used a supplemental nursing system, long term? I have, for 8+ months. It's nearly impossible to use one without exposing most of your breast, because you need to be able to see that your LO is getting the tube placed properly in his mouth, that he hasn't pulled it out, that it hasn't migrated, etc.

Have you ever nursed a LO who has a tendency to bite you? You learn to watch carefully for triggers. Something not easier to do if they're buried under a blanket.

Have you ever nursed a LO who is finicky about things touching him, in general? Who freaks out about having a blanket on him in bed, let alone covering his head?

Have you ever nursed a LO while wearing a tank top, in 100+ degree weather, where you can't bear the thought of layering a second layer? The alternative to showing your breast (over the top) is showing your entire stomach (my LO is a squirmer and doesn't cover my stomach with his body!).

Bottom line is, in all of these situations, I nursed my child in the way that was easiest and most comfortable for him. If it bothered someone who was observing, they were free to look elsewhere.

Rebecca, mama to M (08/06) and E (04/09)
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#136 of 145 Old 01-22-2008, 04:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by purple_kangaroo View Post

Me, I come from a background where most people dress extremely modestly, to the point that most mainstream people probably think it looks wierd. Where breastfeeding is the norm, but mothers pretty much all nurse covered with a blanket every time unless there are no men in the room.
http://www.acclaimimages.com/_galler...2505-0057.html

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I still don't understand how or why exposing the entire breast to nurse would ever be actually necessary. I can understand that it might be easier or more comfortable for some women, but I don't understand why it would be significantly more so.
I still don't understand why anyone thinks breastfeeding in any manner other than hiding under a blanket is "looking for attention." Really, if someone is looking for attention for their breasts they can dress in a way that exposes them.

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If someone can explain why it would ever actually be necessary and unavoidable for a woman to expose the entire breast while nursing, I would be interested in hearing the reasons. I can learn.
Because it is necessary to get the job done (someone inexperienced or with large breasts), because the clothing doesn't allow under the garment eating, or it is just most comfortable for the mother/baby.

http://www.celebrity-babies.com/2007..._gyllenha.html

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I see why using a lightweight blanket or shawl to nurse should not always be the standard, although I guess some part of me still believes that anyone really COULD do it if they really wanted to and were willing to work with their child to teach them to leave it on, and use a lightweight enough blanket so that heat wasn't such a huge issue.
Well, the simple answer is those that want to, do, and those that don't, don't. It took me about 5 weeks to realize that attempting to use a cover was ridiculous. Nursing a newborn requires support (though I suppose those with smaller breasts don't have this problem). Outside my house I didn't have anything to support the baby besides my diaper bag which did not work. My ds was tongue tied and it was difficult to get him to latch and he was screaming before I managed to latch him correctly. Attempting to keep a blanket on while doing all this was stupid. If most people did not share your attitude I would not have attempted such a ridiculous thing (ridiculous to cover when it hindered breastfeeding) in the first place.


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I still don't quite get the "it's not wrong or shameful, so we shouldn't have to hide it" argument. I mean, I get it about nursing. I totally get it about nursing. Nursing should not have to be hidden, ever.

I just don't get it about breasts. I mean, there are a lot of things that are not wrong, shameful or sexual in our culture that we just don't show publicly.
Um, nursing requires breasts. You cannot not be hidden if you are hiding the breasts. Breastfeeding is something that is shown publicly because women with nursing children are as entitled to go out in public. Attitudes such as yours discourage women from NIPing which can lead to cessation of breastfeeding because mothers like to leave their homes. Also, leaving ones home and NIPing are preventative of post partum depression.


Quote:
In general, we hide our breasts. I'm just still not sure that's necessarily a bad thing. I think most if not all women can hide at least the majority of their breasts and still nurse with only incidental or momentary breast exposure, if they want to.
Not particularly concerned about exposure.

Quote:
Honestly, I'm very supportive of breastfeeding women in general.
I can't really imagine myself saying anything to anyone about the way they were nursing, with the possible exception of a situation where they were taking their shirt off or maybe if they were exposing an entire breast while people I knew were uncomfortable with even "hidden" nursing were present in my home.
Being supportive of breastfeeding is being supportive of breastfeeding, not "I'm supportive of breastfeeding under X,Y,Z circumstances." Do you nurse your toddler in public? Are they covered with a blanket? What do you use to carry a blanket that big?

I understand that some women need to expose more of their breasts than others to nurse, even though I don't (yet?) understand the need to expose the entire breast. If I see a woman with more of her breast showing than I would feel comfortable with, I generally don't even think twice about it.


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But imagine that a friend came to me and said, "I was visiting Mary at her house, and her grandpa dropped by to give her something. He always looks so uncomfortable when anyone nurses a baby near him, you know? So I decided I'd give him something to be uncomfortable about. I sat where he'd be sure to get the best view and then I pulled out my breast and tried to make sure he saw as much of it as possible while I nursed my babe. It was great watching him squirm! Maybe that'll teach him not to be such a prude."

My response to her wouldn't be, "Wow, that was great! You really helped advance the cause of nursing mothers." It would be more like, "Wow. That was an incredibly rude and disrespectful thing to do to Mary's grandfather in her home. I wouldn't be surprised if she never invites you over again."
Why must we consider imaginary scenarios? The only people that I know would act like that are the ones who had been harassed by said grandpa for nursing.

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If someone has a good reason why they need to nurse topless or expose their entire breast, I don't have a problem with them doing it. But if they say they're doing it because they enjoy making people uncomfortable or because they just don't care, then it seems rude and disrespectful to me.
Personally, I don't know anyone who nurses a particular way just to offend someone. It is normally just a side benefit.

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However, the arguments about social change actually have me reconsidering this idea somewhat. At least in general. I still think I'd be hurt and offended if someone I considered a friend decided to unnecessarily take off her shirt to nurse in my home in front of my husband or father, knowing he was uncomfortable, just to try to teach him (or me) some kind of lesson.
Are we talking about imaginary friends again? Really, you'd be someone I'd avoid as long as I had a nursing child .

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#137 of 145 Old 01-22-2008, 04:55 PM
 
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I still don't understand how or why exposing the entire breast to nurse would ever be actually necessary. I can understand that it might be easier or more comfortable for some women, but I don't understand why it would be significantly more so.
A woman down the street has a 12 month old, and when she have birth, she weighed 350 pounds. She tried to find a nursing shirt, but nothing was available in her size. In addition, she was not comfortable nursing with a blanket. Thus, she wore a v-neck shirt and whipped it out when she needed to feed her baby.

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If someone can explain why it would ever actually be necessary and unavoidable for a woman to expose the entire breast while nursing, I would be interested in hearing the reasons. I can learn.
See the above example.

Quote:
I see why using a lightweight blanket or shawl to nurse should not always be the standard, although I guess some part of me still believes that anyone really COULD do it if they really wanted to and were willing to work with their child to teach them to leave it on, and use a lightweight enough blanket so that heat wasn't such a huge issue.
Teach a newborn??? Bwaaaahahahaha. And in 90 degree weather with 90% humidity, no blanket is light enough. This summer, when it's nice and hot and humid, leave your car in a shade-less parking lot for a few hours. Then go and eat your lunch in your car with the car off and the windows closed. Maybe you can teach yourself to be comfortable eating under those conditions.


Quote:
I still don't quite get the "it's not wrong or shameful, so we shouldn't have to hide it" argument. I mean, I get it about nursing. I totally get it about nursing. Nursing should not have to be hidden, ever.

I just don't get it about breasts. I mean, there are a lot of things that are not wrong, shameful or sexual in our culture that we just don't show publicly.
Nursing is not about breasts, just as formula feeding is not about the bottle. Nursing is about feeding the child. Period.

Quote:
In general, we hide our breasts. I'm just still not sure that's necessarily a bad thing. I think most if not all women can hide at least the majority of their breasts and still nurse with only incidental or momentary breast exposure, if they want to.
Change your pronouns to the first person, and you're correct. Do not, though, push your issues on other nursing mothers.

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Honestly, I'm very supportive of breastfeeding women in general.
No, you're not. You're supportive of BFing mothers when they BF your way.

Kirsten - wife to Mark and co-sleeping, breastfeeding mother to , :, and
Photography, including Breastfeeding Photography, in my Homepage.
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#138 of 145 Old 01-22-2008, 04:57 PM
 
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In general, we hide our breasts. I'm just still not sure that's necessarily a bad thing.
Actually, *we* - if you mean humans who have breasts in the world - don't always hide our breasts. This is culturally determined and changeable.

I lived in West Africa and have travelled a lot in other parts of the world. In Senegal, breasts are not sexual - our housekeeper (a 24 year old single woman, no kids) walked around topless in front of my male housemates every single day. It is not considered immodest, nor was she flirting - she is actually pretty religious. While she wouldn't walk around on the street topless, she also wouldn't walk around the street in a towel or her head uncovered, as she did in our house in front of all of us.

Topless sunbathing is the norm in most of Europe. Many traditional clothing around the world have women exposing their breasts. And breast exposure while breastfeeding is very very common and accepted in every culture where breastfeeding is the norm. In places where breast exposure is not okay, women are usually not able to freely travel without male supervision or have most of their body uncovered - not exactly a great model for us to follow, methinks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toplessness

Basically, the attitude that women's breasts (specifically nipple and areola) are somehow indecent is 100% cultural, just as culturally determined as how barechestedness in men is now okay (it was a strict taboo in victorian society and up to 1960 was still illegal in central park in NYC - plus, no shirt, no service laws still exist.).

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#139 of 145 Old 01-22-2008, 07:08 PM
 
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Honestly, I find it much more “offensive” for people to be rude and belligerent to women who are just trying to feed their babies than a few glimpses of breast could ever be.
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#140 of 145 Old 01-22-2008, 07:22 PM
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In a perfect world this so called 'discretion' deabte, wouldn't be a debate and Nursing-in-piblic wouldn't be a word. It would just be "nursing".
I hate that we have to waste our time explaining to people that we are just feeding our babies. I mean, come on people!! grrrrr

PS i LOVE that pic of Maggie Gylenhaal feeding her baby in the park, thanks for posting it.
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#141 of 145 Old 01-22-2008, 08:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ziggysmama View Post

PS i LOVE that pic of Maggie Gylenhaal feeding her baby in the park, thanks for posting it.
But wait! There's more:

http://www.popcrunch.com/maggie-gyll...ing-in-public/

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#142 of 145 Old 01-22-2008, 08:42 PM
 
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You do seem to have thought about a lot and found a few new reasons to be a little more un-judgemental.

So have I.

In the last month, I've become less judgemental about what I think is odd. Unrelated to lactivism (well, formula feeding because it is just as good, gets me, but so do parents I'm passing who don't soothe their crying babies, yk)

I just learned to take a deep breath and say - hey, I don't know their situation.(I.e - inapropriate dr's advice or bad information from people telling them to let them cry or whatever). They have to love their little one just as much as I love my little E. I'm sure there are things I'm doing that I'll look back in in dislike - I did THAT???

I can go on and on, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's a learning process. This letting others be "wrong" - for lack of a better word. I know I'm going to get flamed for that - so I'll just say they aren't RIGHT in my head - but I defer to the fact that they love their little one just as much as I love my little E. And so on. It's not always easy, but my right may not be their right-or they may not have access to that right, if that makes any sense at all.

~ Kim

mama to E (01-2007) and wife to C

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#143 of 145 Old 01-22-2008, 09:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by purple_kangaroo View Post
I just don't get it about breasts. I mean, there are a lot of things that are not wrong, shameful or sexual in our culture that we just don't show publicly.

I could list off tons of them, all of which everyone would say are bad comparisons (because, I mean, even comparing wearing a shirt that shows some breast while not nursing to showing some breast while nursing was deemed offensive on this thread), so I won't. Suffice it to say that hiding something or trying to do it where other people don't have to get a good long look at it doesn't necessarily mean we think it's wrong or shameful or sexual.
I know others have kinda jumped on this, but here are some things I tend to do in private/alone that are not sexual or wrong or shameful.

1. Applying makeup
2. Changing clothes
3. Bathing
4. Meditation
5. Cleaning house (though my mother would call my house shameful and say I need more alone time )

I'm sure that others can think of more things that they don't do in public or in front of others that have nothing to do with excretion.

Not that any of these have anything to do with eating or feeding a baby...

Anna
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#144 of 145 Old 01-23-2008, 10:09 AM
 
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This is a very interesting thread (although I haven't read every single post yet!)
The only comment that I would like to add regarding discretion, that didn't ever occur to me as a very pro-breastfeeding mama before I had my baby and child less friends started talking to me about all things BF related, is the potential that very undiscreet breastfeeding has to put off others from breastfeeding at all. Some of my friends mentioned to me that there was no way that they would ever breastfeed because you have to expose huge amounts of breast in public, based on what they had seen of people breastfeeding before (although, to be quite honest, I have never seen anyone breastfeed in what I would call an indiscreet fashion-but then most people in my area don't breastfeed at all). For at least 3 of my friends (childless, in their early 20s), this was the main reason that they would not breastfeed their potential future babies. However, all of them were quite impressed at how discreetly I am able to nurse my daughter-they had honestly previously believed that it wasn't possible without a whole boob on display. Hopefully it will lead to them reconsidering how they might feed their children in the future.
Obviously, I recognise that for some people discretion is impossible, and i also recognise that it shouldn't be the responsibility of every nursing mother to be the poster child for discreet nursing. And, of course, I thinkt hat what we actually need is a complete paradigm shift so that boob exposure doesn't upset people to the point where they wouldn't breastfeed just to make sure it doesn't happen, BUT in the short term, as someone who is blessed with fairly easy nursing and breasts that allow discretion, I am glad that I can show potential nursing mamas who are uncomfortable with it that you don't have to 'expose yourself' to feed your child in public. For me, that is a more productively lactivist act than showing more boob than I need just to make a point (which I highly doubt anyone really does).
I do hope that makes sense, it's just something that I found really interesting, particularly as someone who has never had any real issues with showing their body, just to consider it from the point of view of other future mamas who may feel differently.
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#145 of 145 Old 01-23-2008, 06:32 PM
 
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When I was about 12 a family we knew, well I knew the ladies dc from school and her eldest son used to stay at ours so he could see his girlfriend who lived nearby. His mom had about 7 kids I think and seemed to be on her own most time and they were that bit different. Well my foster mother was a complete nut as far as I'm concerned but she seemed absolutely fine with me going into the moms room( at the moms request to help a bit) and witnessing probably the best thing I've ever seen, this wonderful lady feeding her twins with her very ample breasts and her beautiful long blonde hair, throned and looking like the goddess on the bed in the guest room! I can tell you, from that moment on, I kid you not, I was determined I would do that one day, it left such an impression on me! Foster mother got a bit cranky and prudish but she really surprised me that day, I also witnessed foster mothers daughter bf her babies, it was very relaxed in that way there I'm happy to remember. Now if I never saw women bfding or I was very young with a parent who felt boobs were too sexual to tolerate communicating about to a child even in their primary function of feeding babes I don't think I would be excited about bfding by the time I was an adult and feeding my own babe, I may even be too uptight to attempt it myself and be intolerant of other moms who did it. I think the whole thing about being 'discrete' is bs, I have never seen a woman nip and exposing herself in a way totally unrelated to her breastfeeding but then I don't see many nip anyway. Wonder why not?? What just knocks me out with frustration is the hypocrisy involved. There are boobs and butts EVERYWHERE and no-one turns a blind eye, there can't be that many children who are not exposed to womens bodies as product. My youngest is a boy and he is 9 and just recently he said to me 'I wish I'd had a wee brother/sister(make that brother he's a boy living with 3 females with no male present)it would be nice to see baby feeding, bah thats not fair, me being the youngest, boohoo' He's hankered over a younger sibling at times but never for this specific reason. So if anyone actually thinks they are doing their children a service by removing them from an area where a woman is bfding then I think it's time to connect those dots! It's sexist, demeaning, damaging and counter-productive to get on ones high horse regards women bfding. As another poster said on another thread it's nothing to do with the amount or lack of boob showing, it is the 'act' of breastfeeding itself that people are offended,uncomfortable,fearful,jealous,whatever of. A breast is an integral part of the breastfeeding whole, to demand or suggest removal of said breast is just plain desperate. I would not tolerate being treated like that tho of course I have been but not nearly to the extent that women here have been, I'm heartened to know women are standing up for their and their family's rites. Maybe the anti-bfding movement is a kinda witch-hunt mentality for modern times. Shame on us.
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