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Not for public consumption?

August 30th, 2004 · 3 Comments

Michael Williams has been running a short series on breastfeeding in public; his first post was published while we were on vacation. Many comments were made on the first post so I will offer only three brief ones here. As reference for the record, I will state that I have spent more than three years of my life nursing babies.

  • The time a woman spends nursing her children is a small fraction of her life. A mother who chooses to go against the grain of society, so to speak, and breastfeed her babies, is probably also determined enough to find creative alternate options and make the necessary small sacrifices if she is not allowed to feed her children from her body. Accomodations are ideal, but I have often nursed in my vehicle due to convenience and concentration. During the years my young infants needed to eat often, I stayed at home most of the time, since that was easiest for mother and child.
  • Businesses that provide a place for nursing mothers will be rewarded and find a successful niche. For example, Nordstrom’s in downtown Seattle is known for its lounge where mothers can feed their babies. If I were going shopping with an infant in tow, I would want to go to Nordstrom’s, or at least make a strategic stop in the store. Convenient parking spaces are nice too. (see below). We mothers (and our extended community) can certainly provide compensation for consideration.


  • Having a child can change one’s opinion of breastfeeding. Nursing babies is not something seen often on television or in the newspaper. There is, perhaps, a public relations angle that could benefit from positive marketing to the culture. I loved feeding my babies with my body. However, I will say that at first it seemed strange. The maternal abilities of the female anatomy are not often emphasized in our culture. And although one would think that nursing would be natural and thereby automatic, it takes some work, both mental and physical. I had to get adjusted to the concept. I’m going to do what with what?! But after having three kids, and after accumulating many friends who are also parents, my mindset changed completely. I wonder whether Michael Williams will feel differently about breastfeeding if he someday sees his own child being fed.
  • Tags: motherhood

    3 responses so far ↓

    • 1 Paul // Aug 30, 2004 at 8:28 am

      Hmm, I left a comment at the site you cite: I don’t see the need for angst over seeing the back of a baby’s head sticking out of a mother’s shirt. It’s not like she has to strip to the waist to nurse . . .

      My kids were breast-fed for I don’t know how long, either at the breast or with expressed milk their mother brought home from work: she/we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

    • 2 Katherine // Aug 30, 2004 at 10:28 pm

      Breast-feeding, RAH RAH
      Natural, normal, designed that way
      What’s so weird about a baby eating?
      If we ban a baby from eating in public, maybe we should ban everyone from doing it. It’s only fair.
      Breasts were obviously put there to feed babies. I fed both my babies for about 14 months each and never used a bottle once. I didn’t see the point. Throw a blanket over their head and your shoulder and pretend you’re just rocking the baby to sleep? I liked those nursing blankets that have a strap to keep it in place over mom’s shoulder. I used to nurse walking down the street sometimes, or walking through a store. I am sure people liked it better than enduring a screamingly famished infant for a half hour. Silent and happy and getting nourished. Shirts specifically made for nursing, with discreet and strategically placed flaps helped too.

    • 3 Katherine // Aug 30, 2004 at 10:30 pm

      P.S. I think “not for public consumption” are those shirts/dresses where you see the woman’s breasts falling out the TOP and she’s clearly NOT planning on feeding any babies…