Google+ Authentic Parenting: Ignorance is bliss - Silence is golden! (re-run)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ignorance is bliss - Silence is golden! (re-run)

Here's something my friend Erin Napper cooked up in response to some ignorant comments on an article. It doesn't cover all the bases, but I found it very well written and would like to share it with you.
To those who display such ignorance, close mindedness and arrogance in their posts when they feel the need to dish out advice to others without understanding the circumstances, dare compare breastfeeding to anything sexual or are just plain sick in their thoughts, read this and then tell me what you think. 
and for crying-out-loud, be mature about it.

...I would like to clear a number of things up:

1. Breastfeeding in public.

I am of the opinion “each to their own” in most aspects of this ongoing debate. HOWEVER one should be fully informed before they form their opinion. For those who don’t feel comfortable breastfeeding in public, I completely understand why you might feel this way, what with the sexualisation of breasts in many of today’s societies and the unpleasantness of many onlookers that breast feeding mothers are constantly subjected to. I am not about to push anyone to do something they’re not comfortable doing, but I would like to say one breast feeder to another that you have nothing to be ashamed of, what you are doing for your child is perhaps one of the most selfless and honoured parts of being a mother.
For those who are uncomfortable by the sight of a woman breastfeeding, I would like to point out that this is YOUR issue, not the mothers. If you are not comfortable with breastfeeding, then don’t look. Maybe you have some self education to do if you are so disgusted by this perfectly natural activity. In many parts of the world breastfeeding in public is protected by law. If you don’t like this, maybe it would be better to complain to your government than to a breastfeeding mother.

2. Expressing, bottles and pacifiers.

To some, expressing into a bottle is a preferred method of feeding their child when in public. This is fine, again “each to their own”. What you may not realise though, is that a woman tends to overflow as her breasts produce milk on the same time frame that her baby needs its meals. So even though she is feeding from the bottle, she still needs to go and empty her breasts anyway. So for many the logical thing to do would be to just breastfeed and not bother with bottles.
Some women simply can’t express. For some this is a very painful thing to do, and often not very productive. Women also need to do this in advance, starting often days or weeks in advance, and sometimes there simply isn’t an opportunity to express before needing to head out.
Bottle feeding and the use of pacifiers are known to confuse a baby, as bottles, pacifiers and breasts require different sucking methods. Some mothers don’t want to interfere with their baby’s “latch”, so they don’t use bottles or pacifiers. Some mothers also don’t see the point in using pacifiers if they have the real deal there anyway.

3. Breastfeeding and other “natural bodily functions”

This is a useless argument, but I am going to address it anyway since so many seem deluded in their thinking.
Breastfeeding does not even come close in comparison to urinating and defecating in public. Not only are these acts unhygienic, they are products of waste. Breastfeeding is perfectly hygienic, and breast milk is not a waste product. As for having sex in public, yes sex is a natural thing to do, but it can wait. Babies can’t wait. When they get hungry, they are hungry NOW!
If I saw someone having sex in public, and it made me uncomfortable, I could stand there and be disgusted by what I see, and comment, or I can look away. I personally don’t think that having sex in public for all to see is appropriate, but that’s my opinion, so I will choose to look away. Maybe if you’re uncomfortable seeing a baby feeding, you should look away.

4. Breastfeeding as a comforter

It is well known that sucking is a natural reflex that babies are born with, and that sucking on something is very comforting for them. So in order to soothe an upset baby, it is natural that a mother might choose to breastfeed. In the instance of the article, this is exactly what the mother has done while her husband attended to the child’s burns. I applaud her quick thinking. Many babies refuse to suck on pacifiers so this isn’t always an option, not to mention the nipple confusion that could occur.

5. “Flopping it out”

Although there are a few exhibitionists out there, the vast, vast majority of breast feeders don’t “flop it out for all to see”. In fact, if you were to observe many a breast feeder you would notice that a baby covers any bit of skin the mothers clothes don’t already hide. Women tend not to leave everything hanging out, for an experienced breast feeder it is only a matter of a couple of seconds between breasts being clothed and baby latching on. Many can do this quite easily without drawing attention to themselves. And if you do happen to catch sight of a little nipple, it’s not going to kill you, and it’s not like you’ve never seen one before. After all, whether functional or not, we all have them.

6. Breastfeeding in toilets/parenting rooms

There’s not a lot that repulses me more than the thought of breastfeeding in a toilet stall. All I have to say on the matter is if you think a breastfeeding mother should breastfeed in a public restroom, I encourage you to go and eat your own meal in one, and see how you like it. Not to mention the lack of elbow room. How dare anyone suggest such an atrocity!
Parenting rooms are provided for the convenience and comfort of those who find them necessary. If you don’t feel it is necessary to feed in one, then don’t. If you are comfortable with where you already are, then this is fine too.

7. Discretion

I am not a fan of this term, primarily because anyone can interpret it in what ever way they want. To some, discretion means to remove yourself to somewhere private. To others, discretion refers to covering up so people can’t see what you’re doing. To me, it simply means not drawing unnecessary attention to myself, and not taking off my entire top to breastfeed. I don’t feel that covering myself and my baby is necessary, or practical. Would you like to be wrapped from head to toe in a blanket for 10-45min in the heat of summer? Unlikely. Someone I know referred to covering up as using a “veil of shame”. Generally I would assume that covering yourself would draw even more attention to what you are doing as you might look odd with a big blanket over your shoulder or apron looking thing around your neck. If you feel that covering up/not covering up is what makes you comfortable, nobody has the right to make you feel inadequate because of your decision.

The most important thing I feel everyone should remember is that you don’t know the complete circumstances of a breastfeeding/bottle feeding mother. You don’t know what her baby is like, you don’t know where she has been or where she is going, you don’t know what her beliefs are or what her comfort levels are, you don’t know the reasons for her methods. And because you don’t know her, you don’t have any right to judge her. You can have your opinion, but that’s just what it is, YOUR opinion. What works for you might not work for someone else. It is important to respect others and respect differences (even if you don’t personally agree with them). If you can’t be respectful, then you shouldn’t expect respect, you shouldn’t expect to be taken seriously, and you shouldn’t expect to get your point across.



  1. Can anyone tell me what kind of carrier the mom in this picture is wearing, I love it and I've been searching allover the net looking for luck...thanks! If you can offer some info. Please email

  2. I too am interested in that carrier. Looks perfect for summer months when both of us get really hot!

  3. Really enjoyed this post it covered alot of anxieties I had as a breastfeeding mother. Dont, I wish I had someone to tell me that women go through these situations daily with breastfeeding in public. I never confined myself,to staying home. But, I always felt people had something to say about me breastfeeding in public. Thank you for this note.

  4. Not sure, but I think that carrier looks as though it could be's definitely crocheted!
    Also wanted to say that I'm pretty sure sex in public is illegal just about anywhere...I mean, you legally can't even do it in your car parked out somewhere, so if I saw that, I'd be calling the cops. That IS something that shouldn't be done in public! Very inappropriate! LOL

  5. What kind of carrier is that??? I live in New Orleans and need it!

  6. It's a homemade crocheted Mei Tai... if that helps. maybe you could find something like that o Etsy


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