Breastfeeding activism

April 25, 2003 - 3:16 am 11 Comments

This boils my blood.

One woman was considered a terrorist for breastfeeding her 4 month son on an airplane.

This woman was brought up on charges of child pornography and had her kids taken away from her after she dropped a roll of film off at an Eckerd’s for processing. One of the photos was of her 18 month old nursing.

What in the hell is wrong with people!? Holy shit, God gave women breasts in order to feed their children. Mary and Jesus did it. WWJD? He’d breastfeed, that’s what! Why do we have to put all this stupid-ass moral weight on exposing a boob, a specialized sweat gland, whose whole purpose is to provide nourishment to a baby. It’s not put there for men, nope, sorry guys. Go obsess about something else.

I’m so freaking pissed off about these stories. Even though C. weaned herself early, my La Leche League leader told me I’m always welcome there. I’m going to re-up my membership with them right now, and I suggest to any other person who thinks that women should be able to feed their kids what God (or nature or whatever you believe in) provides, I highly encourage you to sign up as well. La Leche League is the main page, the page for membership is here, and if you would just like to make a donation, do it here.

11 Responses to “Breastfeeding activism”

  1. Raspil Says:

    After reading that bit of crap, I swear, I will go insane on the next person who wails, “think of the children!” When someone asks plaintively, “what’s next?” regarding how crazy we’re getting to be, send them that link. We’re already there.

  2. michigan Says:

    the canadian woman’s story freaks me out. i will be traveling, to houston, possibly on continental (or maybe not!), with a baby who is about four months old this christmas. and if she is hungry, i will nurse her, discreetly. of course i’m an american citizen, so maybe that will work in my favor? also d. will be with me, and god help anyone who says anything about his wife nursing his child. i also understand her point about the changing table thing. whether the plane you are on has one of those at all is luck of the draw, but i have used them before successfully. i have also been forced to change diapers in the seat itself, with a changing pad. thankfully nobody has ever said boo about it to me.

    the other case seems weird to me though… i know lots of women nurse toddlers, but it skeeves me personally; i couldn’t nurse past a year because of that. i figure by 18 months they are eating solid food and drinking from cups, and if i want them to continue drinking breast milk, i will pump it for them. the photo that article showed did not look like her nursing her son in a typical nursing position, and she said herself that her son is weaned already. so i feel the same way about it as i do about the picture of my niece standing naked in a field of flowers when she was 6 – it’s not pornographic, but neither is it wise.

  3. michigan Says:

    let me clarify:

    i don’t think what the woman did warranted having her kids taken away.

  4. Addlepated Says:

    I certainly don’t want to get in an argument with you, M., but…

    1. Some women are incapable of pumping. Also, pumping isn’t nearly as efficient as nursing, and you will drop supply if you pump exclusively.
    2. Nursing past a year is only a problem in American and Americanized cultures. In most parts of the world, nursing to 2 and beyond is the norm. Why on earth the US decided it was perverted is beyond me. I’ve nursed past 12 months and have several friends who have done the same, and believe me there’s nothing pervy about it.
    3. It’s not like she forced her son to latch on – he did it voluntarily. You ever tried to force a baby to latch? Can’t be done.
    4. She just wanted to have a memento. Good fucking thing she didn’t take the film to Walmart for processing. They’d have carried out the death sentence already.

  5. michigan Says:

    i figured i would get your hackles up, but i’m all about being honest.

    1. okay.
    2. i know. but i’m american and i can’t help the way i feel. note that in my original comment, i said ‘i personally’. i would never presume to tell other women how long to nurse their kids.
    3. yes, i’ve tried, and i know it can’t. but he also was not a baby anymore, and it wasn’t done for the purpose of feeding him, since she stated he was already weaned.
    4. if i wanted a memento, i would have put him on my lap in a regular nursing position, and *only* if he weren’t already weaned. i forgot to take a picture of my kids playing naked together in the bath, but i’m not about to put my 9 year-old son and 7 year-old daughter in a bathtub naked together today just to get a fucking memento.

    by 18 months, kids are already noticing that adult genitalia is different than theirs. i do sometimes shower with the girls, but only rarely when i am extremely pressed for time and/or hot water. i don’t undress in front of my kids, ever. am i american? yes. am i repressed? less so than some other americans, but compared to europeans, yes. is it a problem for me? no. my position on this is the same as my position on abortion: i could never do it, ever. but i understand that some people can and do, and i’m okay with that.

    whether the system is right or wrong is not an issue for me; most times i find it’s wrong. all i’m saying is that because i know this about the system, i would never have done what she did, even if i’d wanted to, because i would expect that something like what happened would follow.

  6. michigan Says:

    ps: i hope you understand that i have not and would never pass judgement on you for nursing past 12 months. particularly because you are my best friend, but mostly because i subscribe to the “different strokes” theory, as mentioned previously. 🙂

  7. Addlepated Says:

    The lady in question might have known how repressed Americans are if she were from here. She’s actually from Peru, where their attitude about nursing is just about diametrically opposite. My theory is that nursing is more accepted in poorer countries where women just can’t afford formula. In countries that are becoming more wealthy, it’s a status symbol to be able to afford to bottlefeed your kids, even if it’s not good for them (i.e. contaminated water). And in countries as wealthy as the U.S., nursing is practically vilified because that’s something you only do when you can’t afford formula.

    Anyway, I seriously doubt she ever expected the shitstorm that followed because in the culture she grew up with, extended nursing is the norm rather than the exception (as well as nursing in public).

  8. JenBen Says:

    Sice when does an AMERICAN man complain when a boob is exposed? Sheesh!

  9. michigan Says:

    i agree with you, d., about the difference in cultures. and if i lived somewhere in poverty where i had a free supply of milk for my kids for as long as they needed it, i’d probably nurse well beyond a year myself. and i agree that the shitstorm she got is undeserved, and i do feel bad for her.

    however, she should not be the poster child for cruelty to nursing mothers, because she was not nursing. she said herself the kid was weaned already. saying “we didn’t think he’d take it, but he did” sounds like pulling a camera trick to me, which may not be illegal but is certainly not the pure act of maternal nurturing her lawyers claim it is. it’s not like she was spending time nursing him like she does every day and the dad said, “hey, let me get a picture of that!”

    again, i would not accuse them of pornography. i wouldn’t even accuse them of doing something dumb, because obviously their culture is different. but i am not surprised at what happened, because the system is fucked.

  10. bafleyanne Says:

    As a nursing mom myself (my son is almost 2 and still nursing), I am appalled by the stories, particularly the one involving the roll of film. However….I also question the reasoning behind taking the picture of the child nursing after he was weaned. I think it is unfortunate, but in a society like ours currently, it’s “asking for trouble” to a certain extent. I hate to say that. *sigh*

  11. C Says:

    it’s always comforting to see other women who feel this way. when I throw “radical” ideas like these around my conservative hometown, I get branded the freaky one because I live in a CITY. ergh.