I was having lunch with a group of ladies the other day who I know though work. Lunch was lovely. The conversation varied from light-hearted telly to putting the world to right. Then, much to my surprise the tone of the discussion shifted to that of mild outrage surrounding the topic of over exposed boobs when breast-feeding in public.It was sparked off by the news story of the man in the USA who took a photo of a breast-feeding women in a cafe and it went viral. I nearly burped out loud as I had just taken a gulp of my sparkling water. Did I just hear you ladies right? You feel it inappropriate if a woman shows too much boob whilst breast-feeding? Most of these ladies had in fact had babies and breast-fed so this made me feel flummoxed.
The issue was not about breast-feeding in public as the general consensus was that this is totally acceptable but the degree of boob exposure was the issue. The potential to offend others goes up exponentially and is directly proportional to the surface area of boob exposed. At least this is what I surmised from our post lunch pre dessert/coffee chat.
My thoughts were that if you need to whip it all out to latch the starving baby in record time then do. If this offends other diners, shoppers, passengers then they have the problem. If they happen get a glimpse of nipple, lucky then. At that very moment, your nipple really is just an udder. It is the place the milk exits the woman and enters into the baby’s mouth which will inevitably nourish the baby and probably allow the baby to sleep, smile, hydrate etc. . I know, who knew right?
It was argued you can sneak your boob out discreetly without making a big show. Well yes, sometimes this is possible if you are wearing the right outfit, the climate is right but sometimes it isn’t. There are those times when your top wont’ stretch enough to allow the baby to tuck under. There were times when I fought with the flappy nursing bras and needed to crawl out from my discreet muslin feeding yurt to adjust. Starbucks can be a warm place which means a baby might feel a bit warm under a blanket while feeding but this baby must learn that many people will be offended so mummy needs to over heat you slightly.
I could go on . If you are offended by OEBFB (over exposed breast-feeding boob) then at this point I won’t convince you otherwise. What I will say is this:We don’t’ ban butt crack /plumber bum in public. How many tines have I had to stare at a miss aligned g-string peering out of a pair of jeans along with a bit of butt crack? I’ve lost count. There was the gymnastics competition I sat through for 2 hrs with a view of a mans butt crack in front. I would have given anything to have a breast-feeding mum in front. It is ok for women to wear see through blouses and show nipples, cleavage, mid riff, but people still think getting out a boob without much thought for other people is selfish?? They’re boobs doing what they ought to. The afore-mentioned , the last I checked ,aren’t nurturing the life of a wee baby either. But hey ho more acceptable.
Having the belief that some women make a big show of it is more than likely further form the truth than you may think. I’m pretty sure she is thinking I need to feed my baby as quickly as possible before people get upset and /or offended by the baby screaming? Or, i need to feed this baby quickly as the poor thing is starving. Not, hey, what a great chance for me to pretend I work a Hooters while I feed my baby.
Take home message, don’t be offended. Don’t make a scene, don’t stare for too long either because guess what, that is inappropriate. What I can say, is chances are if you are in Barnes and whipped out a bottle and fed your baby this would cause more outrage than a single OEBFB.