Is it time to see more breastfeeding in public?

Image credit: “Yo Mama” breastfeeding her daughter while sitting with her teammates from the Anarchy Angels Roller Derby Team (photo by Russ Desaulniers) via Avital Norman Nathman.

Is it time to see more breastfeeding in public?

As it’s a good, healthy and natural thing – though not easy for every woman – the answer has to be yes.

Anything or anyone trying to discourage or make uncomfortable a breastfeeding mother strikes me – as Mr T would say – as a crazy fool. As with that TV show you hate – you don’t have to watch.

And as Helen Lovejoy reminds us – Won’t somebody please think of the children? It’s for their good.

So in the spirit of support and encouragement, here are some inspired breastfeeding pictures. They’re from the Blue Milk blog (thinking + motherhood = feminism) here and here. And the subject of occasionally furious debate here.

Image credit: LeClan McMillan with her baby (via Annie Urban).

Blue Milk feels that it’s long overdue for us to have new images of breastfeeding. And she seems to being sorting that out nicely.

She says (and I’ve editied it a wee bit):

The feminist campaign to allow women the full freedom to breastfeed is about all of us. It is not really about the choices of individual mothers and their babies. It is about women being considered as important…  as normal as men. We are all made stronger when a woman can breastfeed, in public, as a member of her community, while getting stuff done.  Because when that happens it says that women belong, it says that women’s bodies belong, it says that women are here.

Fair enough.


Filed under politics

30 responses to “Is it time to see more breastfeeding in public?

  1. I’m fine with seeing more breast feeding in public as long as people are fine with seeing more boners in public.

  2. Seeing more breast feeding is but a small part of the issue. The real concern is in seeing more breasts.

  3. The “baby” on LeClan McMillan’s lap is a toddler … past the breastfeeding age.

    Blessings – Maxi

  4. What on earth has feminism got to do with breastfeeding? Women breastfed (in public, round the fire) in the dark ages when Neanderthal man still dragged his woman, by her hair, into his cave.

    People confuse the TWO functions of the female breast: Erotic/sexual enticement – which leads to babies being made in the first place. The breast’s other purpose being Earth mother’s way of giving our children the best possible nutritional start in life. I go ballistic when – in our overly sexualised world – boobs are used everywhere to sell, sell, sell whatever the product and then, a woman who suckles her baby is made ashamed by the same googlers of naked flesh. Arseholes who stuff their faces in restaurants and have no compunction about looking down any cleavage across the table then turn into shrinking violets when a baby suckles. Ridiculous, or what? Maybe it’s a peculiarly English/American trait. Other countries’ men don’t seem to have the same sensitivities. I have seen women breastfeed in astonishing places (no, not under the table) as not to make OTHERS uncomfortable. Uncomfortable? Try eating your dinner in a public toilet or a changing room cubicle. Lovely. Bring your own air freshener. And don’t forget to leave a tip for excellent service. It’s a disgrace.

    Let me say that I do not approve of women who, either thoughtlessly or militantly, let it all – quite unnecessarily – hang out. To me breastfeeding is a quiet most precious time between you and your baby. Which is why, where possible, it should be done in a place when you can concentrate on your baby. Look it in the eye as it looks into yours. However, when there are visitors, when you are out and about (and let’s not forget baby’s stomachs being so small they need to be topped up at short intervals) why faint should a woman not flash a little of that flesh that hangs about on every magazine’s top shelf, on every billboard?

    And that photo (typically) is ambivalent too; sending a very mixed message: Bike, Leather, Breast (SEXY). Add Baby. That’s Feminism, is it? Playing again on the two very different function of bosom. Oh, yes, and show me a mother who feeds her baby whilst sitting on a bike and I show you a publicity stunt. Presumably she got off her bike when the nappy needed changing? Or did she pass babe in arms to the photographer’s continuity girl?


    • PS Paul. Do give me five to ten minutes and you’ll find a lovely anecdote apropos my own breasts on own blog.


    • blackwatertown

      As for the pictures – yes, they are striking and not your typical scenario. But one of the points Blue Milk (from whom I nicked the pics) was making, is that we should broaden the range of positive images of women breastfeeding – which these do, and show that there’s no conflict between being active and involved and out and about on the one hand – and breastfeeding on the other.
      And – they’re great pictures – especially the top one.

  5. As Ursula says, it always amazes me that the same people who slaver after the public display of enormous breasts suddenly turn painfully shy and prudish when it comes to the very same breasts being used for the entirely natural purpose of feeding a baby. Sheer hypocrisy.

    • blackwatertown

      “slaver” – a good word that’s best sid with relish.
      “hidalgo” is another good one you rarely hear these days.

      re hypocrisy – you’re right.

  6. magpie11

    Mm! Only came this way at Ursula’s instigation. Chuckle.

    I have found it to be prudish women who make the most fuss. Closely followed by the prudish boys they have brought up…or should I say…the boys that they have brought up to be prudish.

    I was informed many years ago the the Eskimos (as we called them before we learned better) suckled their children until the age of eight and more.

    • blackwatertown

      Interesting observation.

      re: Eskimos – apparently there are Eskimos, over Yukon/Alaska way, as distinct from Inuit – or so an Eskimo told me when I referred to him as an Inuit. He wasn’t cross – just mentioned it.

  7. No harm – there was the story of Clifton Web, an old time movie star, who was known for his devotion to his mother, and who said at 35, “Mother, titty please.” I think there’s a cut off date!

  8. I especially like the Motocross and Roller Derby mom photographs — not just because they show breastfeeding, but because they show that women enjoy a wide brushstroke of activities. Activities that in the past may have been reserved for men only.

    Yes, we’ve come a long way baby…

    • blackwatertown

      Hadn’t thought of that aspect.
      My other Granny used to ride a big motorbike round the countryside as a district nurse.

  9. I’m not avoiding the topic, I just don’t have anything to say on the subject at this point!

  10. Oh my god. That’s what the freaking breast is for, forheavenssake. Breast=baby feeder and that’s all. Topics like this remind me how weird and twisted people are and I want to cover my ears and think happy thoughts. (Love the pictures!)

  11. I get the distinct feeling (and this is a generalisation nothing personal to any one male) that guys think we women have TWO pairs of breasts…one set that appear out of nowhere unannouced and never normally there, therefore very worrying, for the purpose of feeding little mouths…what a strange and previously unknown useage fo them…and the second pair which lo and behold are of the reassuring nature of the ones they ogle at so gladly whenever and wherever the opportunity arises!! These are presumably the ones that are always there and are the ones creating that happily familiar sensation of eyes popping hungrily out of head…otherwise known as leering,…and probably drooling 😉 Unfortunately for womankind until men get past this strange hypothisis breastfeeding in public will continue to be an issue when it shouldn’t be 🙂

    • blackwatertown

      All very strange. A wise woman once shared her motto with me, which was: What’s natural is wonderful. That stuck with me, and me with it.
      (Hailstones are an exception.)

  12. Bert Adams

    Awesome post. Thanks.

  13. Well I question whether those who stare lasciviously at a nice rack are the same ones who object to breastfeeding in public, I’d venture to say it’s the more prim among us who have a problem with whipping the tit out. Frankly, I don’t give a damn. Breasts are for babies. If men enjoy a funbag on occasion, fine but their purpose is predesignated. (Did you tweet this, I thought it was another spammy thingy)

    • blackwatertown

      Funbag? Sounds like a going home present from a party.

      Apologies for any twitter spam you and anyone else was on the end of. You are neither being backstabbed nor need you lose weight. It wasn’t me – honest. I think it’s sorted out now. Fingers crossed.

  14. Till the bible thumping missionaries arrived in India, most women were not even clad above their navels, except during the harsh winters. Even now, in rural India, it is quite natural to see them breast feeding children quite unaware of any embarrassment to themselves or the viewer. I do not see what the fuss is all about anyway!

    • blackwatertown

      Those would be “the men who came to reap with a musket and a bible”.

      I don’t see what the fuss is about either – except to protect something normal from harrassment.

  15. Pingback: Why breast is best - Baby Care Blog | All You Need To Know About Babies : Baby Care Blog | All You Need To Know About Babies

  16. Losh

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