Beyonce was out having brunch with her little family, when her daughter, Blue Ivy, got hungry and Beyonce breast fed her at their table, in public. This stirred up a another conversation about women breast feeding their babies in public. It shouldn’t even be news because it is not against the law for mothers to nurse their babies in public, but of course it’s even bigger news because Beyonce is the mother in question. This long ongoing controversy would have nursing mothers take their infants to a public restroom to feed them, rather than make a public display of it. I hadn’t given the issue much thought before, but now I have and do not see what the problem is.
Besides being a natural act, it’s not against the law to breast feed in public. I always here people against it referring to “whipping out the breast” as though nursing women are going to strip down and become topless. Others call it nasty and lewd. This is just not the case. there are bras designed to open and just expose part of the breast, so the baby has access to it. Nursing mothers often carry a light blanket to place over the baby’s head and their breast, while the baby is being fed. Nothing has to be exposed. It can be done discreetly. There are even garments created for this purpose shown in the photo above. Babies benefit greatly from mother’s milk and a new mother should be able to make that choice without having to be confined to her home from six months to a year or longer. We are just an intolerant society, resistant to change.
Maybe someone famous, like Beyonce, will cause us to talk about this issue and re-examine our positions on it. Maybe many women who are choosing not to breastfeed because of the reactions they might get, will reconsider. Maybe people will get educated about breastfeeding and it’s value to infants and feel differently about it.
I guess I just don’t get what all the fuss is about. When I visited Boston a couple of years ago, the streets were full of homeless people sitting or laying down on the sidewalks. I find that a much more disturbing and unacceptable public display than a nursing mother. Maybe people who object to breast feeding in public should channel their time and energy into generating funding and housing for the homeless and let mothers go about doing what they do best…nurturing their children?