Breastfeeding on display

When I saw Your Right to Breastfeed in Public, My Right to Be Apalled [sic]: An Argument for Discreet Breastfeeding linked on Black I was prepared to be annoyed by another silly person complaining about breastfeeding. Then I read it and found that I agreed with the author. She's a bit more harsh than I would be but I do think she is right. Breastfeeding is great for your baby but you need not expose yourself in the process.

I've breastfed three children and have never found it necessary, nor thought that it was my right, to intentionally expose myself in the process. Accidental exposure is an occupational hazard for breastfeeding mothers. Breastfeeding however, does not require that mom's body be on display to the public. Nursing on display is arguably an invasion of privacy, mom's, baby's, and those who are treated to the sight of mom's naked body. Yes you can be comfortable with your body, proud of your body, and feel great that you can sustain you baby with it but it does not logically follow that you should put it on display for all to see.

I have the good fortune of being a mother at a time and place when it is no longer against the law to breastfeed in public (discreetly or otherwise). I know a few moms who breastfed their children at a time when it was considered breaking decency laws to breastfeed in public. That was clearly a wrong headed way to think of the act of feeding a child. But the act of feeding your child is not an occasion for revealing your body for all to see. Modern women's fashions provide plenty of opportunity for that.

Discreet breastfeeding is not very difficult. There are plenty of options. Specially designed nursing tops and bras are readily available. A baby blanket over the shoulder is a simple time honored method for discreet breastfeeding. For warm weather a quarter yard of 45 inch wide muslin will do the trick. Or a cotton pillow case if you don't sew. A strategically placed cloth diaper will also suffice to preserve a nursing mom's privacy.


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