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.


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?









  1. Katherine says:

    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.

  2. Deborah says:

    Awesome response. Loving reading your stuff! Thanks.

  3. Cassie says:

    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…

  4. Natasha says:

    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”.

  5. Nichole says:

    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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