Is public breastfeeding taboo?

A young woman can walk through a mall wearing clothes so tight, it leaves little to the imagination, and nobody blinks an eye (even though some necks will crack from the rapid head turns). But when one mother sits on a mall bench to breastfeed her child (even while covering herself up), everybody loses their minds.

Why is this the case? Why do people not care if a woman’s breasts are hanging out of her shirt but then care when an infant is feeding? According to Debate.org, 34 percent of people are against public breastfeeding. Why is this 34 percent against breastfeeding?

Well, first, people feel that breastfeeding is indecent and inappropriate. People feel that a woman’s breast is a private part, thus, it should not be shown in public. However, people do not care about seeing breasts. Rather, they care about seeing the nipple.

If you think about it, everyone sees breasts every day, and we do not even think about it. But when a “nip slip” occurs, become outraged. Even though most mothers typically cover themselves with a blanket while breastfeeding in public, the slight chance of catching a glimpse of a nipple is enough to drive people insane.

The fact that people go crazy over such a small part of our anatomy is ridiculous.

Believe it or not, the first point I listed as to why people are uncomfortable with public breastfeeding is one of the points that makes the most sense.

With that being said, some people also feel that public breastfeeding leads to awkward social situations. Now to me, this statement is utterly stupid.

Obviously, I will never be the one who has to sit and breastfeed a baby, but if I was a woman, I would not be too concerned if others felt awkward. Hell, I would feel awkward if I had to whip one of my breasts out in public, but if my baby was hungry, what else would I do? Would I tell the baby to wait? No, I would not.

So, to those of you who find public breastfeeding awkward, how about you grow up, realize that a child needs to eat and that there is little a mother can do about her child being hungry besides feed him or her.

Another reason why people are against public breastfeeding is because they feel that it can be dangerous according to Debate.org. Now, let me elaborate of this: they do not find it dangerous to themselves but rather dangerous to the mother breastfeeding. Why do they think it is dangerous? They think it is dangerous because they feel that exposing a breast, even in the context of breastfeeding, may be asking for harassment and assault from others.

This argument goes on to state that some people cannot fully control their actions when confronted with public breastfeeding.

Honestly, for this argument against breastfeeding, only one thing can be said: if one cannot be a decent human being and resist the urge to spit slurs at a mother who is simply trying to feed a hungry infant and cannot resist the urge to try and touch a mother who is breastfeeding, they should not even be allowed in public.

Other arguments against breastfeeding in public go on to say how breastfeeding is emotional and intimate and how such acts should not be displayed in public (basically comparing breastfeeding to public displays of affection), but overall, all the arguments against breastfeeding in public are things that seem more like personal issues rather than real problems.

I believe the 34 percent of people who are against breastfeeding in public are the ones who are at fault, not the mothers. I am sure it is not the most comfortable thing in the world for moms to breastfeed in public, but what else can they do? A baby needs to eat and will continue to fuss until it can eat.

Breastfeeding is a natural, human act that is beneficial to both mother and infant and should be something that is acceptable in today’s society. A mother cannot plan out when they will need to feed their child or when they will need to pump. 

My suggestion for those 34 percent is to grow up and remember that they were once a hungry infant as well.

 

Jordan Bierbrauer is the Opinion Editor at The Collegian and can be reached at [email protected]