Nature is natural

Published 2:40 pm Wednesday, August 9, 2006

What would you rather see in public parenting: a mother whacking her child, calling the child all manner of abusive names or breastfeeding? Of course, my answer could depend on the child’s behavior, but truthfully a lady nursing is a beautiful thing.

But with all issues, a woman who can’t be discreet can make the incident into a spectacle. Women are allowed to wear clothes, but some women do that with out discretion. Couples can hold hands in public but some couples take PDA too far too. There are always lines to cross in any activity. But for the most part, nursing an infant should not cause an uproar.

Yet, it is.

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The term for this aversion to nursing is cultural squeamishness. Since breastfeeding has increased greatly the last twenty years, so have our sightings. We are not exposed enough, so we are too sensitive. Many feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. It’s not a sexual act but rather a natural act. Why? Is there something wrong with it?

One woman was quoted, “People make you feel like you’re doing something dirty.”

When Barbara Walters on “The View” mentioned that a woman nursing a baby next to her on an airplane made her uncomfortable she was besieged with outraged women who called for a “nurse in” at ABC studios. Ok, so Miss Wa Wa has more than “Star” Wars to contend with, she has the ‘Lactivism” movement too.

The moral of that story is be careful what you say or you too could have a angry female lawyer and a pack of lactating hormonal women mad at you!

I think most folks are all for breastfeeding your children because it has been proven to be better for your child granting many extras to your parenting skills. (In other words, it can add a couple of digits to their IQ and health card)The problem with BF is in the public display that has sparked the controversy.

I remember the first time I saw a nursing child in a church in Oklahoma when I was 18…I was dumbfounded and fascinated. I tried not to stare, but I am sure I did. But, I never thought how dare she sit in church of all places and do ‘that’. It was an initial shock, but not censure.

Haven’t we come a long way baby? Should mothers be condemned? They let us vote, smoke, run corporations and almost be presidents, can’t they let mothers nurse?

Talk about irony, a woman was only allowed to nurse in a restroom at Victoria’s Secret. In protest, Lactivists organized a nurse-in at the store. The woman complained that Victoria Secret plasters breasts everywhere but seems offended when they’re used for their intended purpose. After all, the store models and mannequins show more breast than the average nursing mom does.

Have you seen Victoria Secret commercials? Maybe they are just against non implanted breasts?

Body parts…why can we expose some and not others and why is it different for men and women…after all, man boobs are more offensive to me than a woman’s exposed chest. Yet men can play skins and women just have to sweat. Is all this necessary? Can we blame Adam and Eve for picking out what parts needed to be covered?

Have you seen feet? If you ask me I am offended by a majority of the feet I have to see in public. Or, mid-drift bulges from our ever growing teens. If it bubbles over the edge, it should be banned.

Look at the history of bathing suits to see how far we have become accustomed to skin exposure, gone are the days when an ankle viewing was scandalous.

But before we jump on the topless bathing ship, let me say I would prefer not to see other women’s nursing instruments displayed for me or my husband. It is a no win situation for men, they will ‘Always’ get in trouble. One glance and the wife pounces. He will try to explain, “But honey, I was just making sure the kids aren’t drowning!” She will yell, “We didn’t bring the kids!”

With a government campaign supporting breastfeeding and the statistics showing that more than 70% of all American infants were breastfed, it is very possible a nursing mother could be near you.

But still we have lines that really should not be crossed. The Taboos of breastfeeding have already been tested. A woman in New Zealand says she is breastfeeding her pet puppy because she wants it to protect her baby daughter as they both grow up. Yuck!

Even Celebs are doing their strange celeb stuff such as Kirstie Alley wanted her assistant to breastfeed a raccoon? I forget why, but does that really matter?

I could be prejudice since I nursed all four boys and believe me, no animals!! I was discreet and did an occasional public nursing with blankets. It was not obvious what I was doing. I was never asked to stop, leave or reveal. But, I am in the South and we are bit more polite about those things. Even nursing we can be ladylike.

So, who are these people that are offended? Men? Oh, please. I doubt that. They have made a chain of Buffalo wings called ‘Hooters’ popular. Then it must be women. Is it the Barbara Walter types that think it shameful or is it women who have never nursed and feel guilty? Is it overly religious folks who feel modesty is at stake? Or is it the heathen who find the act too pure and sweet?

Where do you fall in? How do you react or will you if confronted with a nursing mother? Will you glare? Run? Ogle? Or will you just treat her like she is doing something normal like reading a newspaper?

You might as well prepare, because a nursing mom could be coming to a space near you.

Melvin Durai wrote, “If you own a restaurant, it may make sense to divide it into two sections. When women arrive, ask them their preference: “Breastfeeding or Non breastfeeding?” When men arrive ask them, “Mask or Binoculars?”

What would you prefer?