Breastfeeding in Public: It’s a Women’s Right

I follow a fair number of Mom bloggers, both through my feed reader and on Twitter. I also participate in a number of online blog and Twitter events. Through one, I got to know Jen from Liv, Laugh, Love. I found her through a Twitter follow thread on Facebook, and we were asked to engage with the particcipating tweeps. This could be as simple as retweeting some of their tweets, which I did with some, but it could also be starting real conversation. Jen’s first tweet I came across mentioned her blog post on public breastfeeding. Jen is a passionate breastfeeding advocate. I am not, and yet I wholeheartedly agree with her point in this post.

I don’t honestly think that “breast is best”. For some, it is, but other mothers cannot breastfeed due to taking certain medications, not being able to nurse a baby for whatever reason, etc. Still others choose not to breastfeed, and that’s fine with me too. There is probably research backing both sides of the breastfeeding/formula debate.

That being said, this post is about whether women are allowed to breastfeed in public, and my answer is a resounding “YES”. It’s not about whether breast milk is better than formula. It’s about whether women should be allowed to expose their boobs. And I would say as general rule they should.

I can see why exposure of some body parts would not be allowed. Genitalia, notably. Still, this is more to do with the nature of the exposure than the nature of the body part. If a person exposes their genitalia, it’s usually to shock other people. When a woman shoves her breasts in someone’s face so to speak, same. That is sexual harassment. However, breastfeeding in public isn’t intended to shock others. It merely serves the purpose of breastfeeding.

Also, of course, men expose their chests all the time, but that’s not a problem because they don’t have breasts, I suppose. This may sound logical, but in reality, women are just held to a higher standard of cover-up than men. A fomrer fellow patient was one day caught wearing only underwear and a T-shirt. The others commented that, had she been male, it would’ve been acceptable. Why? I believe male genitalia get more exposed when covered only by underwear than female genitalia. The only thing I can make of it is that women are not supposed to expose themselves, while men can go pretty far before their self-exposure is seen as indecent.

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3 thoughts on “Breastfeeding in Public: It’s a Women’s Right

  1. Thanks so much for your comments! I appreciate when people who aren’t necessarily “advocates” can stand up for the choices of women who breastfeed their children. This is something, like you said, that I am extremely passionate about. However, I am also passionate about letting all parents make the choices that are right for their family. Thanks again for sharing the blog!

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  2. What is most interesting to me in the cover-up debate is that it breastfeeding in public was only considered indecent within the last century or so. There are so many photos of women feeding their babies in public from the early 1900s, and paintings from earlier. It’s a shame that society has gone backwards on this.

    I think formula is a great invention – it saves lives every single day. But we shouldn’t make bottles the only way you can feed a baby away from home! I also agree with you about the double standard for men and women covering up in general.

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