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All content of this blog is my own opinion only. It does not represent the views of any organisation or association I may work for, or be associated with. Nothing within this blog should be considered as medical advice and you should always consult your Doctor.

Why breastfeeding is NOT like taking a dump!

Earlier this morning whilst scanning the news, I spotted this article.  It outlines how a Michigan judge chose to publicly humiliate a mother; not for neglect, drug abuse or some other heinous crime judges like this must come across - but because she went to the back of the court room and began discreetly breastfeeding her fussing, unwell young baby.

When the mother defended her position by pointing out breastfeeding in public was her legal right, the judge claimed state laws did not apply in his court:
“Ma’am, it’s my courtroom, I decide what’s appropriate in here. Come on up, okay? You have to understand that a judge — the laws don’t apply in a courtroom. The judge’s law applies, do you understand that?
If this is indeed true, surely all attending should be given full details of what the the judge's whims laws are, otherwise how can anyone ensure they remain "judge's law" abiding?

Clearly anyone carrying a baby should be specifically told the  "breastfeeding is forbidden" rule - otherwise how are the mums supposed to know?  Given every health authority in the world (including the US) recognises the alternatives carry risks and so advise mums to breastfeed for a minimum of six months - why would anyone suspect a different US government building would defy state laws in order to prevent it?

The first comments that followed the piece were just as incredulous:

"Yes, breastfeeding is a natural bodily function vital for survival. 
So is taking a dump. 
But we don’t rail on about people’s right to do it in public. 
I’m sorry, as a woman and a feminist and a college-educated female feminist, I still think breast-feeding should be a private act and I fail to see why it’s such a horrible anti-feminist, anti-woman and anti-baby stance."
Had this been the first time I had ever had the misfortune to read such an ignorant rant, I would probably have just closed the page.  But comparing breastfeeding to toilet habits seems to be a pretty standard argument against public breastfeeding (particularly if you've ever picked up the Daily Mail) frankly it's crap, if you excuse the pun.

"As a woman and a feminist and a college-educated female feminist"

OK we get you're female and a feminist (twice) but it seems college clearly didn't adequately cover "bodily functions", so let's go right back to basics.

Feces

Feces, faeces, or fæces is a waste product from an animal's digestive tract expelled through the anus or cloaca during defecation. The word faeces is the plural of the Latin word fæx meaning "dregs".
The distinctive odor of feces is due to bacterial action. The perceived bad odor of feces has been hypothesized to be a deterrent for humans, as consumption or touching it may result in sickness or infection.[4]

Human breast milk

Breast milk is the milk produced by the breasts of a human female for her infant offspring. Milk is the primary source of nutrition for newborns before they are able to eat and digest other foods; older infants and toddlers may continue to be breastfed, either exclusively or in combination with other foods. 

After 3 to 4 days, breasts will begin producing milk that is thin, watery, and sweet. This quenches the baby's thirst and provides the proteins, sugar, and minerals that the baby needs. Over time, the milk changes and becomes thick and creamy. This satisfies the baby's hunger.[16]


The first contains potentially harmful pathogens that can cause sickness or infection, hands need thoroughly washing afterwards and thus a bathroom is a sensible idea; not to mention, where would you put a random dump in a court room?

The second is an antibacterial, antimicrobial substance that has been shown to actively kill infections - hands do not need washing post breastfeed; milk goes into baby.

I'm hoping I don't need to point out the differences between an anus and a breast!

Breastfeeding is no less hygienic than anyone else sat eating (and a great deal more so than some people's "washing machine style" of food processing that I frequently have to witness).  If the mum was sat squirting it around the room rather than into her baby's mouth, I could perhaps see the issue!

Next, does any one else see the irony in someone purporting to be a feminist, yet who also supports the suppression of women using their breasts for their intended purpose?

Isn't that rather like someone calling themselves an "advocate for same sex marriage", right before adding "as long as they are only a couple in private and don't rail on about wanting rights to be affectionate in public" ?  Then claiming they fail to see why that is an anti-homosexual stance....

Feminism

Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women


Yet men can even go topless in public right?
Breast Bottle
What makes it a private act, why is a real breast so much more inappropriate than a plastic replica of a breast and nipple, or just a nipple in the form of a pacifier? Would it have caused such a brouhaha had the mum pulled out either of those instead of the genuine article?
What should this mother have done? She presumably had to attend the court, she had to take her unwell nursling - had she denied his cues to feed, he would likely have cried, loudly; is that appropriate for a court room? Would that not have disturbed proceedings far more? No doubt then the "dump brigade" would have been tutting and muttering about how inappropriate the noise was.  Perhaps babies just shouldn't be allowed in public full stop?

Society needs to realise that milk of our own species is the normal way to feed a baby, and if it's a location a baby is permitted, a mother has a basic human right to be able to feed her baby as he requires without doing so in a toilet or a stinky nappy changing room.  Why should a hungry baby incapable of waiting, have less right to eat than an "educated female feminist"?

Related Posts: 
Breastfeeding mums should use a bottle in public!

Breastfeeding in public is offensive - see for yourself!



11 comments:

  1. I am in love with this. Best line? "I'm hoping I don't need to point out the differences between an anus and a breast!" Shame on that judge. I live near him, and I think a letter is in order.

    Jenna
    callherhappy.com

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  2. Great post. Agree with Jenna. That is my favorite line too. It disgusts me that people do this. That they expect a sweet, pure baby to be fed in a germ ridden bathroom because they have issues. We need more posts like this

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  3. I find it interesting that people insist babies should be taken to a bathroom to eat, but are totally fine with babies pooping in public--that's what diapers are for, right?

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  4. I agree with this post and that women should be allowed and encouraged to breast feed in public. I prefer to do it privately, though, and I wish more public places would have nicer facilities for women to do so. My favorite place to nurse is in the Nordstrom Mother's room. Babies R Us has mother's rooms also, but they tend to miss the mark on cleanliness. If more restrooms had a comfortable and clean sitting area, I don't think there would be anything wrong with offering that option to mothers.

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  5. Both the judge and the "feminist" commenter need some serious educating.

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  6. I seriously hope you or someone has shown the judge and the so called "feminist" this blog.. Go on, someone do it.... please!

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  7. I am SO linking to this in a forthcoming article I'm working on (about idiotic anti-breastfeeding comments). Good work AA. The amount of times I've heard breastfeeding being compared to taking a dump, urinating, having sex, masturbation. There's a lot of ignorance out there.

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  8. Jeanette, would YOU want to eat your dinner in the foyer of a public restroom? What appetizing smells and sounds! NOT. I doubt it!

    I find it incredible that just about everyone seems to know that breast feeding an infant is 1000 times better for the child's health and well-being, yet freak out when mothers actually have the gall to do so in public! Crazy.

    If you are a breast feeding mom just ignore those that have a problem with it. The problem is and should be THEIRS, not YOURS!

    (This, coming from the FATHER of 6 bio-kids and several informal adopteds!)

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  9. If only the "come on up" meant to comfort her to stay where she was originally sitting and that she didn't need to feel she had to move to the back. Although some would also say it's better just to not even point it out.

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  10. Great post. I feel compelled to add, though: even after all this has been said, babies DO poop in public, any time, anywhere they need to. They CANNOT control or delay their bodily needs, period. They'll go when they have to and they'll eat when they have to - or CRY.

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