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Because Breasts Are Gross Yo

Last night I ran across this post on twitter.  It is on Babble (hello similac ads! ) And the writer, Meredith Carroll, has since modified it from the original because it caused that much of an uproar. 

I have a few things to say about the whole,”Let’s not give them something to talk about, just cover it up” mentality. Especially when it comes from another nursing mother.  This is just adding to the stigma surrounding the whole breastfeeding in public issue.

First of all, it rankles to see this advice from someone who has been breastfeeding for ONE MONTH.  You know what? It is super easy to cover it up with a little tiny baby.  They don’t pop off your boob, stick their head up and look around.  They don’t whip off your cute little cover, or the “towel” you say is so easy to just toss over their heads.  Older babies MOVE.  They have opinions on being stuck under a stuffy cloth, and they tell you and everyone around.

Loudly.

I never “whip it out” in public.  This is a picture of me nursing my newborn, uncovered, at a family gathering.  What are you seeing?  What is wrong with this picture? Nothing. 

Nursing mothers have no more interest in flashing you a breast than you do in seeing one. Even my crunchiest, hippiest, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, homeschooling mama friend -who refuses to wear a bra under her tie-dyed organic cotton shirts- does not “whip out her boob anywhere she wants”.

I take issue with terms like “saggy milk-filled breasts” (which was in the first version of the post.)  By using words like that, you make it sound like using our breasts for their intended purpose is shameful or disgusting. I have a big problem with that. You are perpetuating that image of the poor, beleaguered, milk-filled mother. You are perpetuating the idea that using breasts for their intended purpose is shameful and distasteful. This is wrong. This is why so many women are so vocal in protecting the right to nurse in public.

The writer goes on to say:

“And here’s what I wonder: You must not be covering up if you’re getting a rise out of people for feeding your kid in public, right? Because I’ve been breastfeeding everywhere for a month and I’ve never gotten so much as a double take. Even though apparently the law would protect me if I did just do it topless, I have no interest in becoming a side show.”

Guess what? You have just been LUCKY. It has nothing to do with covering up.  I know many women who have had issues even when covered up.  There are tons of stories of women who have been kicked out of public and private places, restaurants and businesses, and not one of them was “topless”.  Most of the time when these sort of things happen the nursing mother is sitting quietly in a corner, discreetly nursing, and someone STILL has a problem with it.

Because breasts are gross yo.  Unless they are perky and popping out of the top of a skimpy dress.  Who wants to take a chance that they might see some woman’s “saggy milk-filled breast” when they are trying to enjoy a nice meal in a restaurant?  How dare that woman leave the house? Why doesn’t she just pump? Or better yet, just stay home until that kid is weaned?

See how easy it is to get from “just cover it up” to there?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24 Responses to Because Breasts Are Gross Yo

  1. I tried to do the cover up thing with my kids- mostly because I am well endowed and it is hard to not look like I’m whipping it out. It was difficult! Half the time I ended up squirting milk all over my poor babe because I couldn’t see that he wasn’t latched on quite right or he decided to give me a nice squeeze “hey how about some light in here mom!” Cover ups just are not that practical!

  2. to be honest, i wasnt happy with my breasts until after i started breastfeeding. now i love them and think they are more beautiful than ever. i am lucky i have never had anybody say anything to me that was negative. i really like this post <3

  3. What is funny to me is that when my breasts are full they aren’t saggy. If anything they’re perkier.

    I feel bad that this lady obviously doesn’t like her own “saggy milk-filled breasts” because breasts are awesome yo! They put the FUN in FUNctional.

  4. hah! my kids NEVER at any age wanted to be covered.. they’d squirm till free. Woman needs a reality check. i’m thinking she’ll get one soon enough..when her baby becomes more mobile in about another month or so. lol!!

  5. 1. Determine child needs to eat.
    2. Locate towel.
    3. Check towel for smells or stains
    4. Locate Clean towel
    5. Soothe now frantic child to attempt to latch.
    6. Try and keep towel up while assuring proper latch
    7. Pick up towel, repeat from Step 5, at least a few more times until child is fully latched and comfortable.
    8. Breastfeed child.
    9. Try to keep everything balanced.
    10. Repeat from Step 6 until child is finished.

    OR

    1. If you don’t like it, turn your head.

    OR

    1. Get over it, and continue on with your day/conversation/life.

  6. I think that if women want to breast feed that is great! They should be shunned or shamed for doing it in public; BUT if a woman chooses NOT to breastfeed that should be okay too. I say this because it is super uber duper pushed in our society to Breast feed our babies BUT if you choose not too…you apparently are not “doing the best thing for your baby and are selfish”. Yep, I have had that said to me.

    As far as I am concerned no one should say a damn thing about either thing, it is the woman’s body and her prerogative and her choice on how she wants to hold, bond, and feed (breast or not) her child.

    • I’m right there with you…before i was pregnant with my daughter Morgan i survived a rather nasty event which left me with a disease that could be transferred to my beautiful daughter via breastmilk…the la leche ladies (in memphis) tried to make me feel like a bad mom because i wouldn’t even try to breastfeed…i didn’t feel like reliving that event because it wasn’t anyone’s business but my own…i think it’s great to breastfeed and fortunately my mother in law was a pediatric nurse the best i’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing and my daughter never had an ear infection or was colicly or had any other of those non life threatening however irratating illnesses most other children have…she was off the charts in growth and she is now a lovely 18 college freshman studying chemistry at SUNY Albany…i’m all for women taking charge to do one of the most natural and bonding activies in public or private…i was raped and couldn’t breastfeed because i contracted syphillis from the rape so by NOT breastfeeding my daughter I did the BEST thing i could…even though i no longer have the syphillis virus i still have the antibodies and they can be passed through breastmilk and the kids test positive for something they don’t have…so please be sensitive when urging women to breastfeed…there may be reasons that may take that beautiful option away. thanks

      • Agreed. My mother couldn’t feed because of her medication and even in my sisters teens (my twenties) she felt she was being made to feel like a bad mum for not breastfeeding. It makes me a little sad when I see a small baby being bottle fed but then I do a reality check. I have no idea why that baby is being bottle fed or what’s in the bottle so I keep my mouth shut!

        I do give a thumbs up to breastfeeding mothers if I think they look like they won’t mind though!

  7. Well after 1 month she was an experienced expert, wasn’t she? Um, yeah… newborns don’t wiggle so much when they nurse.

    I’d gladly “whip it out” to nurse… if it weren’t for our society’s skewed perspectives and rules. :-P

  8. Joni – you know I’m in full support of you on this issue. I love your “see how easy it is to get from there to here” example. That’s why I speak so strongly about ANY encroachment by our government on individual civil liberties – because ANY erosion is just another step towards “what liberties?” So, be proud of your ability to feed your children well, and (for what it’s worth) I will give a thumbs up to any and every woman I see giving her child a healthy meal.

  9. I completely agree with you. No nursing mother is trying to be a “side show.” We are simply trying to feed our children, and we’re made to feel there is something wrong or shameful or dirty about it. It’s infuriating. I would also add, that for those of us with very large breasts, discretion is that much harder. We have a big problem in our culture when we are horrified at the sight of a nursing mom, but tolerate as much violence and sexual content as we do. Very frustrating.

  10. Loved this post!

    I have four and with each kid I was less and less concerned about “covering up”. I didn’t feel like my boobs were “saggy milk-filled breast”, cause for one, I have rockin awesome boobs. lol And because they just felt like natural milk carriers that were health for my baby instead of something sexual or gross. I viewed breast feeding as love and in that light as beautiful.

    I nursed any darn place I pleased and no one said anything to me and I don’t recall getting dirty looks. There may have been a few, I don’t remember right now. Likely I got away with out the troubles cause I carried an air of confidence and being comfortable. Most bullies like to approach people who feel awkward and then they take advantage of it. A bully won’t usually approach a confident person cause they don’t want a fight they might not win. It may not be 100% but the odds are good if you carry yourself right.

    The worst look I ever got from someone was an old lady who saw I was nursing my baby. She had that “oh how adorable” look on her face and wanted to see the baby. When my one year old Kara popped out she gave me a “how disgusting” look and walked away. How freakin rude was that! Oh well.

    BTW, in NY city, you can legally go topless even if your not nursing. hee hee Just thought I’d mention that for fun.

  11. People are so freaking ridiculous. I really don’t understand how it’s acceptable to flaunt your breasts as a sex symbol, to wear them spilling out of your clothes everywhere, but not to FEED A BABY.

    People are freaking idiots.

    And our country has a seriously bad case of “getting all worked up over the wrong damn things.”

  12. I was booby trapped with my first and just plain exhausted by a myriad of problems with my second. I would have given ANYTHING to have exclusively breastfed either of my children for longer than I did, would have given up anything and everything for that experience, that bonding, that look of adoration and the plethora of health benefits.
    That any woman would knowingly, willingly give up that opportunity for anything other than a medical reason – just because she thinks it’s unattractive, or “gross” – breaks my heart. My good friend and my sister in law (who also happily cut her newborn son after my brave husband shared his own heartbreaking story of a circumcision gone bad) both chose not to breastfeed for no reason other than it supposedly being “gross”.
    I am disgusted, I am heartbroken, I live every day knowing I could have done things differently but just didn’t know any better, didn’t have the needed support, didn’t have the tools I needed to know better. I can only imagine the children they might have been if they had been breastfed exclusively; as it is, I consider myself beyond blessed that they are both beautiful, intelligent, and healthy little boys. I just wonder what was lost when nothing went right.

  13. Love your response! Even my four-month-old is an expert at pulling off any and every covering I’ve ever tried to drape across my top boobage. This other writer has clearly done no research into the true stories of people harassed for breastfeeding even as they were doing it “discreetly” (whatever that is for every person, right?).

    Keep speaking out.

  14. Well from a religious viewpoint, it’s not so much about whipping it out and offending anyone, it’s about causing someone else to stumble and sin. To lust after someone. I am sure there will be many that will say well then look away. But if you have a guy who is really struggling with something like this then it’s best to keep covered. I don’t mean you have to smother your child, but for me personally I don’t want anyone looking at my breasts but my baby and my dh. They are not for the world to see, but I didn’t always cover up to nurse either, but I did do it discreetly. Yes, our breasts are meant to feed our young, but we are not animals or beasts. We have intelligence and a mind of our own(well most anyhow) and we should use that intelligence in a good way. No, we should not be forced to nurse our children in a bathroom or in a car, or a dressing room. We should be able to nurse freely and I think that the picture above was very discreet and tastefully done. But I also don’t think when we are out in public that we need to have a breast fully exposed. The baby doesn’t need it and neither does anyone else.

    • what? since when is someone getting lustful over nursing the nursing mother’s problem? if i had to worry about every pervo and crazy in this world i would never leave my home. plus, if some jerk really gets his nuts off from nursing mothers, there is this thing called the internet. wether i cover or not, pervos still have access to smut. their religion is not my problem. the same goes for the muslim man who gets turned on at the site of an ankle… am i going to start putting my daughter and i in burkas? no. and i’m not going to cover up or care at all what the people around me see or don’t see. my son is not a neat nurser, he just isn’t. i’m not going to do anything to stop him from getting what he needs and wants. especially not because of someone else’s ill conceived religion. sorry. my son’s health is more important to me than another person’s personal beliefs.

  15. I love your response sooo much! I often have found women on various mommy groups I belong to, say things about how we should cover up and not be so “in peoples faces” when it comes to breast feeding. and I feel that our bodies shouldnt be so taboo!
    even when I’ve used a cover up, my little guy likes to show off his handsome face and so pulls it aside.
    I never try and “flaunt” my breastfeeding or make people look ( seriously how do you MAKE someone look at your chest?) but I do have a large chest and even in those breastfeeding tops, some of my breast is able to be seen…..if people think its horrific or rude or whatever, they can look in a different direction!

    being a mother is tough enough and we should respect each others choices instead of trying to break each other down.

  16. I agree totally with everything you had to say… People are NOT practical when it comes to nursing to begin with… I have a 3 1/2 month old and since the beginning he HATES being covered up… been there tried that… And on top of that I live in southern Georgia, once summer time hits here there is absolutely NO way I will cover him up, it gets way to hot here for that… I hate how sexualized they have made breasts in society… Most children even grow up learning that breasts are sexual and not the real reason they are there… I personally think that if people would start being educated in the right areas things would change, but it would also take the world to stop portraying breasts in a sexual manner… All of the issues people are making is just plain ignorance… People will not hide to go feed themselves or their older children, nor will they put covers over their heads or older children’s heads, and they will not cover up a bottle fed baby… I don’t see why things with nursing moms should be any exception to that… We have laws in place to protect us, and no where in the law does it state that we need to cover up… However it is sad that we need laws to protect us… Ever since everything happened with the Target situation that made national news I have honestly felt like I need to keep a copy of the state statute with me “just in case” and I keep one in my diaper bag every time I go somewhere… I have only had two bad experiences nursing in public and one of them was in a HOSPITAL… We took our son to the e.r. because he wouldn’t stop vomiting and I was nursing him when the doctor walked in and he gave me one hell of a glare and walked back out and didn’t come back in for almost 30 minutes… Its obvious that the doctor has not dealt with much breastfeeding… Hell he even tried to tell me that switching to formula would get rid of the vomiting… I rolled my eyes and ignored it… The second time I was in our local Walmart grocery shopping and my son was hungry, so I picked him up out of his seat and proceeded to shop and nurse at the same time, yes it took a little longer to shop but I was feeding my son… One of the ladies who was stocking the shelves walked up to me and told me I needed to go to the bathroom to “finish what I was doing” and I just rolled my eyes and walked away… I was then approached by a manager who told me if I did not go and find a private place to feed my child and stop disrupting its customers I would be escorted from the store… By this time I had already started carrying the state statute with me stating that I could nurse in any place that me or my child are otherwise allowed… I pulled it out and handed him a copy of it and told him if he wanted me to leave for doing nothing wrong he would have to call the cops because I have the right to feed my child and shop and there would be no problem if I had a bottle stuck in his mouth… After that they left me alone… Not many people really seemed to care, I got a few dirty looks but nothing major…

  17. You are ABSOLUTELY right that she is lucky for not having a problem yet. I tried to nurse in a dressing room of a store that literally had TWO other shoppers (and 7 or 8 dressing rooms, so it wasn’t an issue of space) and I was told I wasn’t allowed to do that because it was “unsanitary”.

  18. Joni, I am a breastfeeding hippie minority in my area. My husband is supportive, but I think its mostly out of convenience and wanting to keep the peace (I am a bit of a bitch lol.) However, despite the many people I know who had children around the same time as mine, I am the only that breastfeeds. I often feel so alienated and alone about the choices I make for my child (breastfeeding, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, etc). When I found you through your husband’s article about being a supportive breastfeeding dad, I was inspired by you. My daughter is nearing two, and 2 years ago I wouldn’t have thought I would still be nursing, but we are, and I don’t see us stopping anytime in the near future. Part of me (I’m sure its the part that listens to what society says) says I should think about weaning, but the other part influences me to continue with that special bonding process that nourishes her so well. I wish I had friends like you locally, and I would really love to meet you someday. I don’t comment often, but I follow you on FB and I like to pop in here and check things out when I have the free time (or, more accurately, I take the free time lol.) Your postings, thoughts, and opinions help me feel like someone out there gets me. Even someone who doesn’t even know me. I just want to thank you for providing me with the support to keep doing what I feel is right because you really have been an inspiration to me.

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