14 March 2007

Please Don't Hide

I've always wondered why breastfeeding in public ever became a taboo in the US. Is it because breastfeeding itself almost disappeared in the middle of the 20th century? That's the only reason I can think of. We almost forgot about it, and now that it's in vogue, it doesn't quite seem like a necessity. A woman can always give her baby a bottle.

It amazes me that women in the US are asked to leave public places when they breastfeed. That laws have to be passed to allow women to feed their babies in public. That I have been asked to sit somewhere else when I have been breastfeeding.

I have seen veiled Muslim women breastfeeding in public. It is a non-issue for them. I have never seen a women in any place who has not breastfed discretely. The point is to feed the baby, and mothers generally feed their babies in the quickest way possible. The goal is not indecent exposure.

Let's get over it, shall we? I bet that many people who are uncomfortable with breastfeeding have seen lots of breastfeeding babies and don't even realize it. Breastfeeding is going on all the time. Let's teach our children that breastfeeding is normal and common and good and to not be uncomfortable with it. Both our sons and daughters need to hear this message more often. And it's hard to get this message out if breastfeeding mothers are hiding.

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