your breasts, your baby, your decision

Breastfeeding has got to be one of the hottest hot buttons for moms in America; possibly as volatile as the abortion issue, and apparently yesterday’s Ask the Moms segment has started a minor firestorm within the breast feeding community.

Yesterday on our Fox 5 Ask the Moms segment, one of the moms asked a question about covering up during breast feeding and for how long a mom should breast feed for. I should have known that any conversation regarding breast feeding would lead to World War III because moms are so divided on this issue.

Here is the video so you can watch it first:

Since this aired yesterday, we have had some negative feedback about the segment, both on Facebook and here in the comments. Some of what we said was misconstrued and unfortunately, since all three of us on the panel have similar opinions on the subject, it came out a little one-sided. Sitting in the proverbial hot seat today, I feel compelled to expound upon my thoughts on this controversial subject.

My personal story:

I was anxiety ridden about breast feeding before my first daughter was born, and once she was born, all of my fears came true. Since she had to be in the NICU for a few days due to a pneumo thorax in her lung, I was not able to nurse her right away. I began pumping and as soon as I could, which was 3 days later, I tried to get her to latch. Latching did not come easy for this mother/daughter team, which was emotionally and physically painful as hell.

For nearly two months, that hell continued. I had bloody, chaffed nipples, I saw five different lactation consultants, went through countless packets of Soothies, attended breast feeding support groups, had to take Vicodin for the pain and cried a river of tears over the fact that feeding my baby was not a natural, easy process like it was for so many other women. I wanted to give up countless times. I threw things at my husband in the middle of the night and called him names that are not even appropriate for this R rated blog. One day, my determination to nurse paid off and I was able to breast feed her with no pain and with great ease. I went through the exact same thing with my second daughter and nursed her til she was a year old.

I See Both Sides:

I find myself in the middle on this issue because I saw nearly every breast feeding issue from mastitis to bloody nipples and I still pushed through and ended up nursing both my kids for 9 moths to a year. It was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done and the most rewarding. I loved bonding with my girls in that way and when I weaned my older daughter I was a little sad to see that era pass. I appreciate breast feeding groups and sites because they helped me through some dark times.

BUT, with all of that said,  I STILL think it is a woman’s prerogative to choose whether or not to breast feed her baby.

For a multitude of reasons, some women cannot nurse. Many of my friends were not able to nurse their babies for health reasons, and I know that many of them feel enormous guilt and pressure from breast feeding groups who make them feel less than. Even though I would help women push through if that was their choice, I do not think badly about women who choose not to. It is their decision, made for physical and/or personal reasons.

Clearing Things Up:

Unfortunately my words (and my sarcasm) and those of my panelists have become misconstrued. All three of us said that we think it’s fine to breast feed in public, but we also advised that it is common courtesy to people around you to cover up your breast.

I myself nursed my first daughter a few times without a cover and I noticed that I was making the people around me uncomfortable. I can’t change them, so instead I started wearing a Hooter Hider, one of the best inventions ever. I could still see my baby while she nursed, she wasn’t being smothered, and no one around me was bothered. It was a win win. So it is my personal opinion that women should be aware of their surroundings when they nurse. People who have to pull their pants down to give themselves insulin shots don’t do it in the middle of the mall or a restaurant. They do it discreetly, even though it is something that they need to stay alive.

When I said in the piece that women should move if they don’t want to be judged, my standard Mama Mary sarcasm came out, and what I meant is that in the current climate of our society, uncovered breasts are unfortunately, taboo. Our beaches are not topless, nor are our ads (albeit revealing). We are not Paris or any other city where women’s breasts are just as average as a knee cap or an elbow (I’m not saying that I agree with that cultural norm, it’s just the way it is). Is nursing outright in public the answer to changing that? Maybe it is. Maybe not.

Our mistake:

I regret that one of us on the panel did not properly represent the pros for breast feeding and that some of the viewers felt like we were condemning breast feeding, because we certainly did not mean to do that. The segment could have been an hour long and we still would have made someone mad. But as far as I’m concerned . . .

The Bottom Line Is:

Your breasts, your baby, your decision.

It’s your decision to nurse or not, for how long, and where and when to do it. Learn the facts about health benefits but then listen to your body and don’t let anyone else tell you what’s right for you. Go for what you know, ladies.

On the day your were born

 UPDATED: February 21st 8:00pm: I decided to turn the comments off on this post because the name calling and cursing began which is just taking this too far.

Also, I want to clarify that this post was not an apology. I am not sorry for my opinions. Our Fox 5 panel is made of “real moms with real advice”, we have never claimed to be a panel of BF experts nor was our short segment a study on lactation.

If you are a nursing mom, and are truly having problems nursing or you have serious concerns about how, where, when to nurse, then please contact me privately and I will help you. I promise I will not judge you or tell you to cover up if you don’t want to cover up. I will get you the help you need.



  1. 1
    Chelsea says:

    Mary — I am with you! I struggled the first two times, but powered through and felt that all women should definitely give it their all. THEN, with the twins, I was on that kick and they just weren’t gaining weight :( Finally, the pediatrician said that either I give them formula or take them to the hospital for an IV. I finally agree with you that it’s such a personal decision. Great topic! Glad you started some conversation :)

  2. 2
    Jodine Chase says:

    You’re doing great with the “Your breasts, your baby, your decision.” Follow with how it’s up to moms to decide what they want to wear, and you’ve nailed it. I love this award-winning video by blogger Annie PhDinParenting and I urge you to take a look and then see if your mind is changed.

    PS – Even PBS’s parenting show “Mr. Rogers” shows a lactating breast – American culture may not be as puritanical as you believe.

  3. 3
    Kari says:

    I agree it is a personal decision. I also think it’s none of anyone else’s business. I

    would have loved to hear you or another panelist discuss the laws that protect a woman’s right to breastfeed in public.

    It is too bad that people in our culture don’t accept breasts when they are serving their purpose and feeding a baby. Although I was personally very modest when breastfeeding, and I chose to use a cover when out of the house- if women don’t use a cover- they are usually very modest. I hope that one day the cultural climate does change to accept this in America so that when my daughter is grown and feeding her own children, she won’t feel like she has to move to another country to have that acceptance.

    • Mary says:

      I completely agree that one of us could have spent more time on the rights of a woman to breast feed in public. Unfortunately we were cut short on time so that part of the argument did not get heard. I think Robin from the Breast Feeding Council will be on their show this week to talk about those sides of the issue.

  4. 4
    Paula says:

    I am all about breastfeeding your babies. I am an RN and I know all the good benefits of breastfeeding. But for crying out loud COVER UP and be discreet. I don’t want to see your breasts and I don’t want my family to see them either. It is just rude of YOU to want it any other way. I agree with you that in our society it is not accepted and this is the society that WE live in. And we have to live with our society ‘rules’. Don’t like it, then find a place that will accept you when you want to flop your boobs out in public. America does NOT. And now just in my personal opinion a child who can walk up to you and demand to be breastfed is way way way way over the age of needing to be breastfed. You have to ask yourself at this point if you are nursing him or is he providing you with some need that is not being met elsewhere. Come on people!

    • andrea says:

      Both of my daughters could “walk up and demand to be breastfed” by 9 months old, and I do not believe that they were “way way way way over the age of needing to be breastfed”. Also, I find it EXTREMELY ignorant, RN or not, for someone to even suggest that a woman breastfeeding her child is doing it for any reason but the health, developmental, and emotional benefits for her CHILD.

      • Paula says:

        Since I support you right to your opinion, I will not call you names or tell you that you are ignorant. I simply stated my opinion. I am sorry that you are bothered by opinions that are not the same as yours. Carry on.

        • Cynthia says:

          is it possible to nurse without a cover and not see anything? I usually cover up but the few times I have not you were not able to see anything, you were able to see less thank most bathing suits. So just because women do not use a cover it does not mean its not discreet.

    • Cris says:

      I can’t help but notice that when you use the words “the society WE live in” what you really mean is the society YOU think we live in. In CA where this segment was aired there have been laws on the books for more than 15 years protecting a woman’s right to breastfeed anywhere that that woman and that child would otherwise be allowed, and the law makes no requirements that the mother meet anyone’s definition of modesty. So if in OUR society the rules are on the side of the breastfeeding mother, I really don’t know where you are coming from when you imply by royal WE that that your views on the subject are better or more important than mine as a mother who often has to and chooses to nurse in public

      • Paula says:

        I do not normally return to these comment sections to comment again but in this case I felt compelled to do so. What people often chose to ignore is that America is built on freedom and rights for ALL of her people. And my rights end where yours begin and vice-verse. I was only saying that I am all for breastfeeding but I do not know why it needs to be anything more than a private thing between a mother and her child. Sit in a restaurant and feed your child if you need to but please cover yourself because then it becomes an infringement upon my rights. But since I so totally defend the freedom of speech amendment, I do allow you to have your opinion. I applaud you for feeding your child wherever you so chose. I just voiced my opinion. In the part of America where I live women respect all others and cover themselves up.

        • Christine says:

          Your interpretation of the constitution is a little off. Infringement of your rights?! Seriously… how about the baby’s rights. Delusional.

          • Paula says:

            I am NOT opposed to breastfeeding in public so how could I possibly be taking away a baby’s rights. Sorry Christine. You just can’t have it both ways. I am entitled to my opinion and you are entitled to yours. I think you are trying to twist my words around to suit yourself. I simply will not allow you to do so. I will never take away a baby’s rights to be fed anywhere and anytime. Just be discreet that Is all that I ask. What is so wrong with that??

            • Christine says:

              Can u explain how feeding a child becomes an infringement of your rights??

              • Paula says:

                It is obviously escaping you that I continue to say it is not the feeding of the child. I will not change your opinion and you will not change mine. I am moving on.

                • Nichole says:

                  I would love to hear your ideas on how to cover up when I am breastfeeding my child while he cries and tries to rip the cover off. Believe me I feel as though I have exhausted all avenues. So if anyone has any ideas how I can use this “hooter hider” when my child prefers to see the world around him *gasp* while he eats. I think I’ve showed more boob trying to get him covered then when he isn’t. PS. If you are so offended by women who are breastfeeding are you also offended by the huge giant ads at the mall at Victoria’s Secret of women in bra’s and panties? Have you written to them saying they need to COVER UP?

    • asrai says:

      Yoy cannot say yoy support BF or Bf in public and then add a but. That but makes you unsupportive.
      Do you demand a 2 year old cover up while eating a granola bar? It is eating whether from breast or package.
      People with this opinion are why advocates have to fight so hard for every bit of progress.
      When my child nurses you have to watch damn close to see anything but a head.

    • Sarah says:

      where is the ‘dislike’ button here? Wow, RN obviously does not mean professional. Breastfeeding is natural, and parts of your culture obviously are not (I luckily live in New Zealand where we support breastfeeding a whole lot more than the US). Mothers should not have to think twice if she needs to feed her baby, she has enough to worry about without considering others ‘feelings’ about what they do not want to see.

  5. 5
    Eddie Guevarra says:

    I saw the segment yesterday & saw nothing wrong with it. Unfortunately some viewers took it out of context & poked & prodded other “groups” until a big deal was made out of it. I love your explanation here & totally agree with you. As a father of two daughters who were breast fed until 9-12 months I fully support a mother breast feeding if she can. Yes, in some cases some women can’t. And as far as nursing in public……I don’t have a problem with it although it should be done with some discretion. However, there are some women who believe no discretion is needed. More power to them & I respect their decision. As for my wife, she used discretion not only because she felt uncomfortable in public, but there are also alot of sicko pervert out there in the world this day that get their kicks even seeing part of a woman’s breast in public! There, those are my thoughts. Whether you agree with them or not, please respect them as I’ll respect yours regardless if I agree with yours or not. Let’s all just get along FOR OUR CHILDREN’S SAKE! :)

  6. 6
    Haydee says:

    As an insulin dependent diabetic and nursing mother I couldn’t agree less. The comments made on that segment were completely one-sided, ignorant and rude. Please freshen up with California Civil Code § 43.3 before you accuse nursing mothers of anything other than modesty and suggest they nurse in disgusting bathrooms or in a vehicle. There was no sarcasm in any comment that was made, they actually sounded pretty honest. I’m glad that a fact-based panelist will be on the show to clean up the mess that was made and give an educated (not ignorant) opinion. I have yet to see a diabetic pull their pants down to inject insulin in the middle of anywhere and have yet to see a nursing mother galavanting her exposed breast about right before nursing her child. The law is the law and if you have a problem with it then maybe you should move to another country.

    • Erin says:

      Yes yes yes!!!

    • Paula says:

      I, myself, have seen mothers opening their blouses, exposing their breasts and nursing their child while in a public place. Just saw this last May right at Disney World in Florida as an example. I think that is why there is so much controversy surrounding the issue. California may have that law but not all states do. There are plenty of unmodest moms out there.

      • PaulaHatesBewbsHa says:

        Paula. Your opinion is shit, regardless to how much you think you are entitled to it. I hope “flopping out” my “immodest” breasts to feed my child makes people like you cringe. I hope it makes you choke on your meal. I hope it makes all your trips to Disneyland and stores SO uncomfortable. that you cease showing your judgemental ass face in public again. How DARE you sit on your high horse and talk down to women who feed their children the way GOD AND NATURE intended. Cover your face when you’re eating, because YOU are offensive.

        • Sarah says:

          love it!!! you go girl – maybe we need to take this stance and word things like this to get the message across -

        • Paula says:

          And it is your attitude and your response that will keep this issue alive forever. You are nasty and offensive. I never called you any kind of name or said anything nasty to you Have a good day, dear

          • PaulaHatesBewbsHa says:

            You don’t have to call names to be rude or offensive. Obviously. Booby hater. Do you hate your own boobies too? Or just working ones?

            • Paula says:

              No I do not hate anything. I don’t even hate you and the way that you are bringing shame on your name and yourself as a person. Have a nice day.

              • Mary says:

                I appreciate you and your responses, Paula. I am sorry that some of the commenters have been so rude as to attack you personally. Their comments are exactly why “we” think “they” are “crazy (their words). I am going to turn off comments now because they are getting personal, name calling, cursing and missing the topic completely.

      • Cynthia says:

        I live in FL and itsok to Nurse in publoc btw ! Especially with all our beacxhes and half naked people one would think its a big deal.

    • Tami says:

      Rock on, Haydee!!

      I am a mother currently nursing her almost – 3 – year – old AND the mother of an insulin-dependent teen. My son has NEVER had to take his britches down to give himself insulin. If someone is going to use such an analogy, they should learn more about the process they are using as an example!

      Or maybe, you know, move to another country where they pull down their pants to give insulin.

  7. 7
    Erin says:

    “Common courtesy” would be for someone to look away if they are uncomfortable with seeing breastfeeding in public. A mother should not cover up to placate a stranger. While I appreciate your response to the segment I feel like you still missed the mark. Glad an expert will be on to remedy this disaster in the nursing community.

    • Nichole says:

      YES! Why do people feel the need to watch me breastfeed my child? Don’t look. Go about your business.

  8. 8
    Cris says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful post. However, I find it confusing to mix the two separate issues of difficulty with breastfeeding with the legal right of a mother to nurse in public, unless you are making note of the fact that when someone is already having triuble with breastfeeding, having to do it under a hooter hider or blanket makes it more difficult to do. It not only raises a huge flag that says “hey, look at me, I’m breastfeeding!” but it also makes it harder to get a baby latched when you’re trying to support baby, keep the baby from grabbing and pulling on the hooter hider get baby latched and keep milk from spraying all over the place all with a mostly obstructed view of what you’re doing. People rarely notice I’m nursing when I quietly adjust my shirt while cradling a baby in front of me but they always notice if there’s a big blanket or hooter hider flapping around like there’s a big wind.

  9. 9
    Theresa says:

    This is my least favorite subject. I hate that vocalizing our discomfort and desire for other to cover up is looked at with such disdain. You want me to hear you and your breastfeeding knowledge, but yet you don’t want to hear me.

    I’m all for breastfeeding anywhere, but I’m also all for discretion. It does make the majority uncomfortable, but they stay quiet. Why? Because they’re afraid of being berated. Just look at the comments that flowed after this segment aired. Some gathered the troops and ganged up on these 3 ladies.

    Look, I would fight for your right to breastfeed in public. I would protest, scream and yell for you to be allowed to do so, but after I was done doing that, I’d also quietly ask politely to just cover up.

    I did not breastfeed my second. I hated breastfeeding my first. I hated every moment of it. I did not bond us, it drove a wedge between us. I was stressed, she was stressed and we were both miserable. The moment I gave her a bottle our world changed.

    • Cris says:

      As a nursing mom of two, I thank you for your support and I’m sorry you had an unpleasant breastfeeding experience and glad you found a solution that worked for you. I have a problem with “breast is best” as a slogan. I think “breast is normal for babies” would be a much more accurate and less judgmental way to view it. Breastfeeding is the normal way that babyies eat but not every mother-baby pair can do it, some need help or formula, just as 20/20 vision is normal but some people need glasses or contacts.

      Breast is best is just as problematic as “nursing should be discreet”. Both involve society telling women what they should or should not be doing with their breasts, when and how. And who decides what modesty means? As a society we pride ourselves for _not_ having mprality police. I can guarantee that every time I’ve nursed it’s been far more modest/discreet and more of my breast is covered than what people wear on the red carpet, to parties or concerts. They are showing their breasts to try and be sexually alluring. That shouldn’t be confused with mothers trying to feed their babies, and I’m glad you appreciate that.

      • Cynthia says:

        breast is normal. my lactation consultant put it that way. She said that that is how what we need to be normal.

    • Paula says:

      I applaud this answer. Why is it when all we want is modesty are we so berated for our opinions. Copulating for the purpose of producing a child is a natural process also but I don’t want to watch someone do it publicly. I, too, am not about getting breastfeeding banned from public places. I don’t even believe it should be addressed as a law. How ridiculous is this to need a law to saw how and why we can feed our babies. But I feel if women were more discreet it would never be an issue in the first place. But never the less, it will always be a hot topic.

      • Amanda says:

        I am a breastfeeding mother. My daughter is 15 months old and still nursing strong. I nurse her whenever and wherever she wants or needs it. I am a very modest person and when I breastfeed my daughter you can’t see a thing. Do I use a hooter hider or anything else, no. Do you like to sit under a blanket to eat? I know I wouldn’t. Paula it is ignorant of you to say that we should cover up. Last time I checked I have never seen or ever heard of a breastfeeding mother taking her whole top off and jumping around calling her son/daughter to come eat.

  10. 10
    Hayley says:

    I really feel like you missed the whole point. I don’t even know why the discussion was about whether or not to breastfeed or whether or not it’s a struggle. Yes, it’s a struggle for many, and even more reason why women need support. Women can’t stay home forever, and so many feel uncomfortable going out because nursing in public is hard and looked down upon by people like you.

    I appreciate you trying to make a comment to shed some light on the statements made, but nothing came across yesterday as sarcastic and you are merely expressing option about your view of our culture. I’ve never used a cover in my life and my daughter wouldn’t tolerate it if I tried to cover it up.

    Back to my original statement, you’ve missed the point completely. The show gave women the impression that nursing in public is not acceptable. You compare it to pulling down your pants to give yourself a shot, when it’s nothing like that. And the information about weaning was completely incorrect as well.

    Just like women have a right to choose to breastfeed, so too o they have the right to breastfeed in any public place without the need to cover up. I appreciate you felt uncomfortable seeing other people feel uncomfortable when you nursed, BUT I don’t care how they feel. I only care how my daughter feels. I’ll nurse her until she doesn’t want to anymore, in however many years that is!

  11. 11
    Michelle says:

    I’m glad you elaborated more on your blog because following my viewing of the segment, I was really quite sad about how you and the other panelists expressed your opinions. That said, I still feel a little sad. I’ve never seen a mother nurse in public in a non-discreet fashion. In fact, as I was, many nursing moms can feel uncomfortable because they feel a pressure to cover themselves up. By pushing the idea of “discreet nursing” as an important issue, we’re making this absolutely normal practice of providing nutrition to your baby, into something negative, something to be ashamed of. What a bummer :( I had to get over my fears of nursing in public because that was the only way I could continue to nurse my baby and carry on with my life. I’d just like to encourage you to consider dropping the whole “discreet nursing” topic and focusing instead on supporting women who want to nurse in public because how sad is it that women stop nursing because they’re worried of others judging them.

  12. 12

    I want to chime in and say that it makes me glad that this topic is being so valued that people are getting to have an opportunity to learn more.
    Before becoming a mother I did not know that there was a law that protected a woman’s right to nurse in public. In fact I was so naive that once while walking out of a restaurant my husband and I were caught off gaurd by a mom nursing with a big family gathering. My initial thought was that it was improper. Then I was kind of curious. Then as a new mom attending breastfeeding support groups i learned about the laws on the books and that breastfeeding a child should not be seen as indecent exposure. I had a wonderful doula who ran that breastfeeding support group and I learned so much from the discussions around babies and nursing, not just focused on problems with nursing, perhaps because we were not in a hospital setting that made a difference for the natural flow of conversation. Then while out one day my husband I were hungry, in fact I was famished, that kind of how it goes when you’re a nursing mom. Well, my baby decided she was famished also. Neither of us could wait. I ended up nursing her in the very same restaurant where i had seen another mom do it. And right there, my opinion on nursing in public changed. We all have different life experiences that mold our beliefs, it is possible to disagree and still get along. The fact however is this, the law allows for women to nurse in public and nobody should ever harrass her for doing so. Debate is healthy and good. When done with respect. Some people will walk away from debate having learned something new. If we didn’t care so much about the things that were important to us, our world would be so boring. Mary, I appreciate your candor regardless of your opinion – whether it was sarcasm or not – it just shows that we have not yet reached a level of comfort in our society to have this be a non issue.

  13. 13
    Christine says:

    Damn!!! I can’t believe thus is an issue AT ALL!! We’re FEEDING our CHILDREN… PERIOD! I refuse to hide my baby or his meal no matter where we are. If it makes anyone uncomfortable…. THEY should be the ones to remove themselves from the situation. YOU throw a blanket over your head or go shut yourself in a stall or move away to where u feel comfortable! Jeeeez… what a disappointment some of you women are to the breastfeeding community!

  14. 14
    Christine says:

    DAMN!!!! I cannot believe this is even an issue!! It’s not only the human body were talking about but NUTRITION 4 our CHILDREN! Get over yourselves and your insecurities and if our breasts make you uncomfortable than DONT WATCH! Better yet…. why don’t YOU throw a blanket over your head, or go sit in a stall, or move to a place where you are comfortable! …now turn around while I feed my baby!

  15. 15

    “Your breasts, your baby, your decision.” AMEN.

    I was lucky that my daughter had no issue with latching on and I had not issue producing milk. I nursed for 18 months (6 months longer than I wanted to). I nursed in public with a blanket covering my breast and daughter. If I didn’t have a cover up I went some place for privacy. I did this partially because I didn’t want to make anyone around me uncomfortable, but I did it because I personally didn’t want to expose myself and I wanted my daughter to nurse with out distraction. That was my personal choice. MY breasts, MY baby, MY decision.

    If a mom is comfortable exposing her breast in public comfortably then awesome. I have a right to not look at her. If a mom is comfortable having her child nurse over the suggested 6 months then awesome. HER breasts, HER baby, HER decision.

    Did you and the other ladies express yourselves eloquently in the couple of minutes you were allotted. Maybe not, but I didn’t hear any of you say “breastfeeding in public is BAD” or “don’t breastfeed your baby past a certain age”. Breastfeeding is a touchy topic and no matter what you say some mom will be offended.

    I appreciated you sharing your breastfeeding challenges. Every mom has a different story about their experience. Are any of us doing it perfect? No. What we are doing is what we believe is right for our child and ourselves.

    • Paula says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more. And you said it politely and without disrespecting those who do not agree with you. I simply say that I don’t think it is the ‘breastfeeding’ itself that is the touchy subject here. I think it is the blatant exposure of oneself that some women think is necessary in order to accomplish the task that is what bothers some of us.

  16. 16
    Lisa Voss says:

    I saw nothing wrong with the segment. Nobody was implying anything negative about breast feeding. Nobody was arguing whether or not there are known health benefits to breast feeding. The health benefits were clearly stated. What was said beyond that were personal opinions about whether or not you should nurse in public. Mary, you are allowed to have your own personal opinions just like those people so clearly feel the right to state here in your blog. There is no reason to need a nursing expert to clear things up. There was no scientific evidence based information being debated. I don’t care about a nursing experts opinion about whether or not to be discreet about nursing in public. It’s still just that person’s opinion.

  17. 17
    Jessica says:

    I completely agree women should have the right to chose how their babies are fed and for heaven’s sake women need to stop competing with each other and start fighting for each other!

    Me personally I only envisioned myself breastfeeding for 6 months at the longest but my son had other plans. He refused the bottle and here we are on the 11 month. I’m not sure when we will stop by in the end it will be MY decision not anyone else’s. I didn’t know much about breastfeeding before I had my son and for something that everyone says is so natural it is also one of the hardest commitments I’ve made. I never knew about the physical or emotional impact breastfeeding itself could have on a mother and after experiencing it I strongly believe that it should be the mother’s choice PERIOD.

    As far as the covering goes I’m not offended at all to see a mother openly breastfeeding her baby and until I had my son I wouldn’t have dreamt about breastfeeding in public without a cover but things changed. My son won’t let me feed him with a cover and I’ve been able to discreetly feed him without a cover with less attention brought to us than by using a cover. Sure if I’m somewhere where I could find a “private” place to feed I will but sometimes there’s just no other option than to feed my baby when he is hugry.

    Women need to start supporting each other’s decisions and realize that we all should have the choice to raise our children the way we see is right for our own family. Parenting is not a competition, we are all mothers just trying to raise our children the best we can!

  18. 18
    Ashleigh Ord says:

    I honestly think your apology is half-assed. We are not trying to shove breastfeeding down your throat. We understand some women can’t breast feed and that had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with anything (and honestly I don’t even know where that is coming from).

    MY issue was imagine a mother of a four month old baby. Tired exhausted from up all night trying to nurse her baby. She’s frustrated, she doesn’t know what she is doing, she almost wants to quit. EVERY new mom has felt like this. I did too. I too had a daughter in the NICU, she had a blood clot in her brain and ended up with cerebral palsy. Yeah, you can bet nursing was hard. She was on a feeding tube for weeks and I wasn’t able to get her to latch until she was almost 9 weeks. But, imagine this mom struggling. She turns into the news (a place where she thinks she can expect unbiased reporting) and finds moms who are her peers, talking about nursing like it’s gross. Suggesting she should go to another country instead of dare venturing out without a cover (not funny). Saying that maybe she should stop nursing when the baby starts biting and getting teeth (my kids started teething and biting around 4 months) what service are you doing her? You are simply feeding her insecurities. You are simply pushing her to quit.

    Now I know you are probably going around your house scoffing at us “crazy breastfeeding mom’s who are over the top” …right, because we couldn’t just be regular moms… because you nursed too but you had the “DECENCY” not to do it publicly. Well you should know this. I am not a troll. I don’t cruise nursing sites all day looking for a juicy story to pounce on. I am just a mom. A mom who worked really hard to breastfeed her 3 children. And I live in Escondido so I am not coming from some out of state link that was passed down. And I think you did a lot of damage by spouting off nervously whatever popped off in your head. You may be joking with your husband about how you can’t believe what a big deal everyone is making here, but you are dead wrong. That news cast was dangerous to new moms who are struggling.

    Even though I believe it’s completely up to the mom whether she wants to use a hooter hider or not (not up to the people around her like you–that are the entire REASON our some of our country views it as inappropriate) I firmly believe until you’ve been there don’t judge.

    Two of my children had no issue with being covered. I used to be very pro-hooter hider. My third however kicked and pushed it away constantly she DID not want to be covered. All the thrashing and kicking and me, quickly trying to pull it up out of embarrassment drew MORE attention to myself and boy was I red in the face. I dreaded going out in public and actually told my husband he would have to start running the errands. It wasn’t until I realized I shouldn’t have to live like this and decided to go out without the cover that I finally realized every situation is different.

    The fact that you think we are all out there just “flopping our tits out” in your words (what do you think we think it’s fun? do you think we enjoy those nasty glances? I feel completely naked and exposed when nursing it’s not like I enjoy nursing without a cover–but some put our children over our own comfort) you have NO idea what situation that person is in and you have NO RIGHT to judge why she is or is not covered.

    You own your eyes. You can avert them. They move around freely in their eye sockets. But you perpetuate the stigma america has with nursing in public when you choose to speak out negatively about nursing without a cover.

    If everyone that had an issue with people nursing in public did their very best to keep their mouth shut when faced with answering what their opinion was on the subject and just pretended it was fine and dandy with them, eventually after time, more and more people would follow the crowd and eventually NIP would not be looked down upon. Do us all a favor and at least pretend it’s not a big deal, for the greater good especially on such a public forum.

    • Mary says:

      I am confused by your quote about “flopping tits out”. And I DO know what it’s like to be that mom. Each situation you listed above I went through. I’m also confused by the fact that you think “NIP” is looked down upon in this country. It is revered and EXPECTED by everyone. Women who cannot nurse are the ones looked down upon. I have no idea why you think you’re in the minority. Most women breast feed, as ALL of us on the panel did. We gave our opinions on how long and where and that is our right to have that opinion. It was not a medical panel on breastfeeding, it was a 2 minute segment. There are plenty of places that women who are in need of real help and answers can turn. I know because I was one of those moms, with BOTH OF MY CHILDREN. If you wonder why people think of you as “crazy breastfeeding mom’s who are over the top” it’s because of this comment. I’ve been holding my tongue with all of these slanderous comments on my blog about what a horrible judging mom I am but this one pushed me over the edge.

      • JSea says:

        Most women breastfeed? I’ve read your half assed apology and heard the discussion. I agree with everything Ashleigh has stated. You had an opportunity to support breastfeeding and you completely trashed it. And check your facts, most women do not breastfeed.

    • Theresa says:

      Ashleigh, your comment is why I hate this topic. You come off self-righteous and miss quote people to try and make them look bad. And she does have every right to state her opinion as does every Mother voicing their opinion here.

  19. 19
    Stefanie says:

    I started to write some long winded comment on this post and then it occurred to me. The only thing I would like to say is that it’s shameful that women cannot discuss this topic with respect, kindness and support. Truly shameful.

  20. 20
    Adam says:

    First let me state that I am am insulin dependent diabetic and I never have to remove my pants to give myself insulin. Yes, you can give yourself an injection in the thigh, but most of us prefer doing it into our stomachs or arms because it works faster.

    But that’s not why I’m writing. I’m taking issue with this part of your blog entry that you labeled “Our Mistake” where you said, “I regret that one of us on the panel did not properly represent the pros for breast feeding and that some of the viewers felt like we were condemning breast feeding…”

    It would have been good to end it here. While not an apology, it’s something. But you didn’t stop. Instead you continued with, “…because we certainly did not mean to do that.”

    Intentions aside, you did condemn breastfeeding on that TV spot you are now writing about.In said spot you voiced that you yourself nursed freely in public but then you indicated maybe others shouldn’t because it made people uncomfortable. You even suggested the interviewer’s friend who just had a new baby needs a hooter hider. Talk about making someone uncomfortable. She just had a new baby and she’s hormonal and you feel now is the time to be so assertive about the decisions she should make about her nursing relationship? And your colleagues say they want discretion, but this product you say she needs comes only in bright colors and makes it clear the user is nursing a baby. How is that discreet? How will it make a new mom feel who likely feels sensitive about this issue. In a survey of almost 5,000 moms Lansinoh Laboratories found that though 79 percent of moms feel that breast is best, 40 percent of moms listed Nursing In Public as their top roadblock. Details: There is a very real danger in your making sarcastic comments about leaving the country. Though I believe your intention was to be funny, you missed the mark.

    Anyway… you went on to write, “The segment could have been an hour long and we still would have made someone mad.”

    This feels less like an admission of wrong doing and more you pointing the finger at Fox for not giving you long enough to explained your position and at people like me for being so over sensitive… But anyway you closed with:

    “But as far as I’m concerned . . . The Bottom Line Is: Your breasts, your baby, your decision.”

    Which is what you also said on the TV. Perhaps if instead of saying it at the end you’d answered the question about NIP at the beginning by saying, “My opinion about nursing in public? California law protects your right to do it so I say: your breasts, your baby, your decision.” we’d be fine. But instead you made breastfeeding sound like deviant behavior. I was deeply offended when you said you felt when a kid can ask to nurse it’s time to stop. Babies ask to nurse by crying and grabbing. Should they stop? Older babies can sign nurse before using their words. Should they stop? When they can ask to nurse with words at 11 months should they stop then? Our pediatrician doesn’t think so. Why are you right and she’s wrong?

    I know you’re worried about women feeling pressured to nurse, but in this country the pressure is greater to stop than continue. The CDC tells us less than half of moms breastfeed until 6 months and roughly a quarter of moms make it to 12 months: So maybe you shouldn’t play on this all too common fear by getting so hurtful, sarcastic and defensive. Maybe in the future you can just stick to: “Your breasts, your baby, your decision.”

  21. 21
  22. 22
    Chandra says:

    I will never forget being pregnant with E and Mike saying “You will breastfeed”. Wanna talk about marriage turmoil! All hopped up on hormones and my hubby telling me what I was going to do – I had already made the decision that I would attempt it, but oh let me tell you I let him have it.

    While in the hospital I was struggling to get him to latch and had a lactation consultant in my hospital room when my male doctor just walks in. Hello modesty out the window -tatas hanging out in all their first days of lactation glory! (I’ve always been “well endowed” as they say, but hubby still talks about how big they were) Luckily for me I was a c-section and my insurance paid for five days in the hospital so I got to use that lactation consultant to the hilt. By the time we went home things were pretty good. When we hit eight months he got teeth, cut me and we started bouncing thrush back and forth. My doctor asked me to tough it out, as my little guy was battling some breathing issues. After a month of constant pain I gave it up – I figured nine months was pretty good of exclusive breast feeding.

    With O, it was all different. My pediatrician did not have hospital privileges where we delivered and so I got stuck with the on call ped who was straight out of school. He actually started asking my to supplement because my milk hadn’t come in -a duh- it was only a day. I refused. My hospital got over run with births and I was cleared to leave after two days. But the only way I could take O with me was to agree to take her to my pediatrician…she had lost a pound and he was concerned. I got to my ped and this was Feb right in the middle of flu season. My ped was pissed that I had been forced to come see her on a Saturday when it was the height of sickness and she’s four days old. They looked at her and saw she was a little lighter than birth—-NORMAL. Milk had come in by now and she was a champ at feeding. We hit the year mark and my husband asked my why I was still breastfeeding. He assumed it was because it was keeping off the weight. Yes that was part of it, I liked the way it boosted my metabolism, but when I discussed it with our Ped he was it’s all up to you and baby. Do what works for YOU! We continued until 18 months, when I realized she was walking up to me and motioning for me to lift my shirt and drinking for two seconds. I decided enough – I was taking the girls back :)

    I did breast feed in public and did use a cover up. I don’t care about other people seeing “my girls”, but I knew that our society was not comfortable with it. My oldest is 9 and my youngest is 5. Our society has come a long way in that time, but we were founded by Puritans and a lot of those “values” are hanging around.

    I have a friend who couldn’t breastfeed either of her two kids, but was able to pump, so she did exclusively for a year. I am amazed at her strength of conviction. Getting up in the middle of the night to feed your child a bottle of breast milk and then pumping. I wish my pediatrician of my oldest would have given me the nudge of hey- why don’t you continue to pump some and supplement with formula. It wasn’t even a thought. But that being said, he had breathing issues and I was worried about Asthma, but knock on wood so far so good. As was said, even a little is good.

    I was lucky to have my own office to pump in – but at times I did have to use a bathroom. Oh yes, the last place I worked had a feeding/pumping room. but it was a 15 minute walk to get to.

    I have also been scrutinized by TSA. Wondering why I was carrying a chilled bag full of breast milk, but no baby. Helloooo that stuff is gold and for the three days I was on a business trip, I pumped and stored and brought it home.

    I hate the mommy wars – work vs stay at home, bottle vs breast, public school vs private school. It’s everyones own decision and you were asked “What is your opinion?” I’m sorry I thought that’s what the premise of your segment is.

    Love ya Mary!

  23. 23
    Jen says:

    In the segment, I find it clear that you were making a joke. It was funny. :-)

    I so agree with you… breast feeding is a personal choice and no one has the right to make anyone feel badly about that choice. Done. End of story.

    • Cynthia says:

      i agree. except lots of moms want to breastfeed and do not have support. that the problem.;

  24. 24
    Ashleigh says:

    I laughed that you think non-breast feeding mothers are in the minority! LOL You really need to check your facts. And again, what does that have to do with anything I said? This isn’t about whether someone should or should not or could or could not breastfeed but you are trying to turn it into that because you know you have nothing else to stand on. I never said that all women should nurse. I never pushed nursing onto someone that didn’t want to. I simply said your comments were damaging to mother’s who were struggling out there. Your comments were inappropriate. Also I completely believe everything Adam said was true.

    It is a woman’s choice whether or not to nurse. I have no issues with mother’s who can’t and I do know they are out there. Heck I have no issue with those who choose not to simply because they don’t want to. But when you force the idea that somehow because I disagree with your views on covering oneself and how damaging your news cast was, suddenly I am giving non-nursing mothers a hard time? Get over yourself. Do you even read the crap you type out? It makes no sense at all.

  25. 25
    Andrea says:

    I don’t think anyone is saying that a woman HAS to breastfeed. Of course its the woman’a choice. I did not find your sarcasm funny at all. All I seen was a panel of ladies shaming moms who BF in public without a cover. It’s hard enough to breastfeed in public (and it should not be!) and to have you all on TV laughing and making it seem disgusting is making everything worse. And a lady actually suggested to feed your baby in a restroom. What about women who have babies who won’t nurse under a cover? Is that inappropriate? Get out of here! I show less breast while BFing, than some woman do with the clothes they wear on a daily basis. BFing in public should not be “hid” due to the fact that other people are uncomfortable. I wish people would wake up and stop sexualizing breasts. It’s attitudes like THIS that makes BFing so “unaccepted”. If you truly don’t agree with how our society is, you wouldn’t have said what you did. It’s a shame.

  26. 26
    SurferWife says:

    You’re never going to make everyone happy. Had you spent too much time advocating for breastfeeding you would have pissed off the non-breastfeeders. I think you stayed beautifully neutral by supporting all women. Good job, ladies.

  27. 27
    Sean says:

    I’m a 41 year old father of a 4 year old girl and 7 year old boy who is a contrarian by nature that tends to use sarcasm and humor at any opportunity. When my wife was pregnant with our first child, we took full advantage of all the educational opportunities for expecting parents. Not once in that 9 month period or the 7 years since, have I encountered an individual or group that has discouraged breastfeeding. The best advice my wife ever got about motherhood was from the head nurse of our labor & delivery unit at the hospital where our son was born. “You don’t get any medals for being a parent, just a child that wants things the way they want them.” I also remember going to a parenting class that was attended by about 50 other expecting parents just like me & wife that were about 7-8.5 months along in their pregnancies. I made the mistake of making a joke. A valuable lesson learned about women who are experiencing the tail end of an arduous journey that they have been preparing for and anticipating their entire lives, thanks to the current societal norm of placing marriage and childbirth on top of a pedestal. Their sense of humor is compromised. And the hard part of the journey hasn’t even begun yet.

    I understand why this is a passionate issue for many reasons. As the 3 panelist did, I fully support breast feeding. I support it just as much as I support women that choose not to nurse, for whatever reason. It’s natural to breast feed, that’s why women have breast. I’m not sure the scientific or sociological reasons why but breast are also a device that attract a mate. Before, my peer group and I started our journeys in parenthood, I was like most of the male population on Earth and fascinated by “boobs”. I’ve never seen one or touched one I didn’t like. If you think, I’m in the minority, I can only counter your argument by directing you to the very successful porn and breast augmentation industries as an example of society’s obsession with the female form. That being said, I can remember the awkwardness I eventually over came when some of the women that I had known since childhood, some of whom I actually dated and got to 2nd base with, intended to use their “boobs” for their “other” primary function. And overcome it, I DID. At this point, I give a woman nursing in public(meaning anywhere but a private room with no one being able to see) as much attention as I do someone picking their nose. I don’t see either everyday so it will draw my attention but I’ll carry on with my day like it was no big deal afterwards. I am sure that my son will have a similar maturing process as will his fellow males of his generation, as did mine.

    I can understand why some people feel so passionately about this subject. After all, this is about women’s rights. I could make a lot of assumptions about what was going on in this controversial segment. I’m willing to suggest that this is far from a back of the bus/segregated water fountain issue. It’s more about 3 well intended women trying to cram some good advice/product placement in an regularly scheduled allotted time unsuitable for such a sensitive topic. I would also dare to say that the issue isn’t about rights, it’s about decorum. I think breast feeding is a wonderful thing that should be admired and appreciated by society as one of the fundamental connections of humanity to nature. That doesn’t mean that I wanted my friends and family nursing in the church when my bride was walking down the aisle. I can confidently assert my wife, not to mention my mother in law, would have been extremely upset if that had taken place.

    It’s also really easy to exploit this for the greater cause of women’s rights and more specifically reproductive rights. I’m sorry that were are is an organized and vocal group of nursing women that feel persecuted by the society that I am a fully participating of. I also think you might be a bit hyperbolic if that is how you feel. In the end as with everything in parenthood, it’s not about you. It’s about your offspring. You do whatever it takes to make them healthy, special, happy people. If that means that 3 women tend to agree that some discretion during nursing is advisable so be it. If you think parenthood is about changing society view on breastfeeding, I think you’ve hit a point of myopic meta debate that is best handled by habitual behavior rather than torch bearing self centered blog writers.

    This ruckus does remind me of one of those discovery channel/pbs documentaries about lion prides in Africa. The lioness retreats to a secluded place away from the pride to have her cub(s) and nurse. They will return about 6 to 8 weeks later, where coincidentally, they communally nurse in the pride. The lionesses do the majority of the hunting for the pride and if predators try to eat their young they will fight to the death.

    As far as this issue goes, no one is trying to prevent breast feeding. If you want to breast feed your child till he moves out the house, that’s your own business, but don’t expect me or anyone else to think that is a bit out of the norm. Otherwise

  28. 28
    Andrea says:

    And you seriously think that NIP is expected?? Wow I’m assuming that is why I’ve only seen a handful moms NIP with a cover and maybe one or two NIP without one.. my entire life! And I guess that is why cases of formula are handed out at hospitals. And definitely why the BFing rates are so LOW! That makes no sense.

  29. 29
    Trudi says:

    I personally do not feel like you have to apologize for YOUR opinion! If people so disagreed with your opinions why then do you not have 46 comments in response to the stinky shoe segment etc? I believe it’s more about woman’s rights, then actual bf. Please, people, if you don’t like the comments or this blog, I’ve got a tip for you: STOP READING or WATCHING!!!

    I bf for 4 weeks then, by choice I stopped. I hated it, every single moment of it, yet my 4 year old son is completely healthy and incredibly intelligent.

    I think ‘this society’…yes I said ‘this society’ the same one that we ALL live in is so determined to force women in breastfeeding that you almost feel like a bad mother if you don’t.

    I covered up in public or went to a nursing room, because I didn’t want people seeing my tatas while they were chowing down on a hamburger etc.

    To be honest, although it’s a woman’s right to bf in public (in certain states), I don’t appreciate seeing it…that’s my choice!

    I agree with you all: COVER UP!

    • Cynthia says:

      well i want to BF and i have for 6 months and everyday i find it a struggle to get support. Where is my support?

    • Morgan says:

      I don’t want people seeing my breast either, but I don’t have say in that matter and my daughter doesn’t like the cover either.

      Then what I should do? Not fed her… I am not running to the car where I know in 30 minutes I will be back there again… I am not feeding her in the bathroom since I don’t eat there. What option is left for mom’s such as me who can’t cover? I can’t pump worth a damn either and there’s the bottle option most baby will not take.

      Instead of judging and telling moms to ‘COVER UP’, let’s be supportive and smiled that a mother chose to breast fed her child despite how much you hated it.

    • Theresa says:

      Trudi you are my new best friend! Everyone assumes I’m BFing and when I say I’m not I get the “ooooohhhh, what happened?” UGH

      As far as those of you asking for support. Do you not see someone being ganged up on for stating their opinion? There’s your support! What more do you want? Do you want applause every time you feed your kid? Do you want me to pat you on the back when you know you’re making someone uncomfortable? Do you want me to hold your boob for you?

      How about we just support that we’re all entitled to our own opinions.

      • Morgan says:

        That kind of opinion is what put women down from breast feeding. You may not like breast feeding and you have your reason why you didn’t or couldn’t, but doesn’t help anyone telling to someone to ‘cover up’. You give a view that breast feeding is negative thing when it shouldn’t.

        When people ask support, it means keep opinions to yourself and help in some way. Not asking for you to applause every time someone breast fed, a pat on the back, or what you say ‘holding the boob’. Support as in give a smile and carry on with your business. Telling someone you don’t like seeing someone’s breast when breast feeding in public is putting someone down whether you mean too or not. Opinions cause more damage then good.

        Yes, I support someone opinion but I have the right to disagree and ask not to be judged for not covering in public. Do you think I enjoy not covering? Do you think I am trying to pride around or show off that I am breast feeding.. Heavens no! I am trying to feed me baby like the rest of the mothers… Even though it’s with my breast. Asking to think of other people’s comfort is absurd. Everything in public offends someone in one way or another. Having to do every single thing to not offend someone is not possible. Instead of making opinions how someone do what in public. Let’s judge ourselves and carry out our business.

        • Theresa says:

          Give me a break! My opinion is that it makes me and the majority uncomfortable. This doesn’t make me wrong. This doesn’t mean I’m putting down breastfeeding.

          What all this means is the majority of those telling us we’re wrong to ask for discretion are only looking for a fight. Go back to your boob boards. You’re not changing any opinions here. You’re only validating my original comment.

  30. 30
    Christins says:

    So sorry if my boobies offend you. My daughter will not nurse under a blanket, or even my shirt. She pushes it up! (Thanks for letting me be “discreet” baby lol) So, by some of those ignorant comments, I shouldn’t feed my daughter at all? Okay then. The next time she is wanting to nurse when she is tired, or sad, or GOD FORBID hungry, I’ll just say (to a 9 month old), “I’m sorry honey, there are people here, and you don’t want to nurse under a blanket, you’ll just have to wait. Unless you want to nurse in the bathroom with the POOP”. Yeah. NOT.

  31. 31
    Kim Bright says:

    Was this whole debacle STAGED and paid for by Nestle?

  32. 32
    Marla says:

    The reason people feel uncomfortable seeing breastfeeding in public is because they are not used to it. If a mom is uncomfortable to nurse in public, than by all means, sure she can cover up.
    But for the moms who are brave enough to “bare it”… They should & not discreetly. Only through nursing in public & making breastfeeding public will it become more acceptable.
    Human milk is not only the best for human babies, it is the normal way to feed them. And most health organizations agree that breastfeeding should continue for at least 2 yrs.
    i would never judge a mom who chooses not to breastfeed. She’s made the choice she feels is best for her baby. She may be misinformed or unsupported. Or maybe there is a valid medical reason.
    There is not “too much pressure to breastfeed”, there is too much pressure not too breastfeed actually. And nobody worries about making moms feel guilty about other topics – car seats, snack choices, etc.
    we need to change our culture.
    Or maybe all you should cover up the next time you eat a big mac, it makes me uncomfortable.

  33. 33
    Indie says:

    The more we breastfeed in public the more comfortable other mothers and the general public will feel. There’s no need to go to another country. Instead, lets make this the kind of country that it should be by doing the right, normal thing whether people are used to it or not. It is sad to see that every single one of these women had some ignorance mixed in with what they said. The pregnant women and new moms I work with are scared to nurse in public because they are told this stuff all the time instead of being empowered to do what’s right for their babies and themselves.

  34. 34
    Paula says:

    I say it is time to end the argument and allow different opinions to be voiced. Go ahead and nurse your baby. I will continue to not like seeing exposed breasts of any kind, any where. And no I don’t like Victoria secret in the malls or on the TV screen And I don’t like ads for Viagra either for that matter. I just want to be allowed to have an opinion without being attacked. Last I looked, this was still America. I think as adult women we should be okay with each other having opinions that differ from ours.

  35. 35
    PaulaFan says:

    I am a fan of Paula. Seriously, I think HBO should launch a series called Paula about a registered nurse who is uncomfortable with the human body. The script writers wouldn’t have to even work that hard! Here are some of my favorite comedic moments:

    “I do not normally return to these comment sections to comment again but in this case I felt compelled to do so.”

    She has commented 10 times and counting.

    “I am moving on.”

    She’s commented 5 times after saying that.

    “I, myself, have seen mothers opening their blouses, exposing their breasts and nursing their child while in a public place. Just saw this last May right at Disney World in Florida as an example.”

    She see’s boobs everywhere! Even at Disney World! Hilarious freak outs result in every episode!

    “And it is your attitude and your response that will keep this issue alive forever.”

    As of my posting this she’s written 887 words and counting, thus keeping it alive. Which is awesome because this HBO hit will last longer than Arli$$ with more nudity than True Blood. Also more tasteful as it won’t be in a sexual context.

    “I think you are trying to twist my words around to suit yourself.”

    These are direct quotes. But yes, I am having fun at her expense.

    I think these two Paula classic quotes are hysterical side by side:
    “You are nasty and offensive.” and “I never called you any kind of name or said anything nasty to you”

    “Since I support you right to your opinion, I will not call you names….”

    See above.

    But I think the series could also be educational. But obviously we’d want ratings so we’d want celebrity guest like Elsinora, The World Health Organization and Charles de Montesquieu to answer the questions.

    The following quotes will be answered by Elsinora and her wonderful article at

    “I don’t want to see your breasts and I don’t want my family to see them either. It is just rude of YOU to want it any other way.” and “Sit in a restaurant and feed your child if you need to but please cover yourself because then it becomes an infringement upon my rights.”

    You have the right to feel uncomfortable. Likewise, I have the right to feel uncomfortable when I hear people preaching on street corners or see men wearing socks with sandals. But unless you want to also ban everything else from the public sphere that could possibly make anyone uncomfortable, this argument carries no weight.

    “Don’t like it, then find a place that will accept you when you want to flop your boobs out in public.”

    The fatal flaw in this argument is twofold. First, simply because a belief is held by a large group of people doesn’t make it correct. For instance, Hinduism and Christianity are mutually exclusive, contradictory belief systems that can’t both be true, yet each is believed by very large numbers of people.
    Second, societal views are not static and can change very quickly. Women wearing pants was considered risque by the majority in the U.S. until the 1970s. Less than twenty years later, when I was a child, the overwhelming majority of women wore pants, and almost no one saw anything offensive about it. What changed those attitudes? Women wearing pants.
    In fact, the notion that breastfeeding is sexual is itself a newcomer to American society. In 1938, the government (via the Works Progress Administration) ran pro-breastfeeding poster ads that portrayed a woman breastfeeding, with no resulting outcry. (To put this in context, the Motion Picture Production Code that banned all perceived immorality or risque content from Hollywood productions was in full effect by 1934.) The idea of breastfeeding being sexual or abnormal didn’t become the norm until formula did, which wasn’t until somewhere between 1940-1950. As with the normalization of women’s pants, the transition from “breastfeeding is normal” to “breastfeeding is obscene” in the public consciousness took less than a generation, and occurred because people stopped seeing breastfeeding women.
    Since societal norms are so changeable and are rarely based in any kind of science or absolute fact, they make a very shaky foundation for an argument. This is especially true because, as illustrated in the case of women wearing pants, what changes society’s views is simply seeing something more(or less). If women simply wear pants, or breastfeed in public, it soon becomes accepted and normal. In fact, breastfeeding in public is already highly accepted as normal–45 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws stating that a woman has the right to breastfeed anywhere she and her infant are otherwise allowed to be, two other states have passed laws stating that public breastfeeding is not indecent exposure, and the federal government has passed a law stating that women have the right to breastfeed anywhere on federal property they and their infants are legally allowed to be. Now that’s a majority opinion.

    “California may have that law but not all states do.”

    See above

    “There are plenty of unmodest moms out there.”

    Tell that to the Puritans, who despite their exacting standards of modesty saw nothing unusual or sinful about women breastfeeding outside the home. Or to the Christians of the Middle Ages, who required women to cover far more than our society but commonly hung icons of Mary breastfeeding Jesus with her entire breast exposed in their churches. Or even to observant Muslims in the present day–many women who fully cover their bodies, hair, and faces to comply with Islamic modesty rules still breastfeed in public. The idea of breastfeeding being immodest is less than a century old–it didn’t become commonplace in the Western world until formula became the norm, never became commonplace outside the Western world, and is no longer commonplace in most of the Western world today.

    In any case, this is irrelevant. Women are allowed to walk around in skimpy bikinis in public. There is no law against immodesty as long as it isn’t obscene–and as there are no genitals involved, breastfeeding isn’t.

    “You have to ask yourself at this point if you are nursing him or is he providing you with some need that is not being met elsewhere.”

    Hugging and kissing are also intimate, but no one considers it inappropriate to hug or kiss one’s child in public. Intimate acts are just acts that foster emotional closeness between people. Emotional closeness can happen anywhere.

    Also, this particular intimate act provides free, convenient infant food. If my child is hungry while we’re out in public, I think wanting to feed him then and there is a perfectly logical reaction.

    “Copulating for the purpose of producing a child is a natural process also but I don’t want to watch someone do it publicly.” and “I will continue to not like seeing exposed breasts of any kind, any where. And no I don’t like Victoria secret in the malls or on the TV screen And I don’t like ads for Viagra either for that matter.”

    Penises are genitals (a.k.a. sexual organs)–that is, they are part of the reproductive system. Breasts are not genitals, because they are not part of the reproductive system. Scientifically speaking, breasts are erogenous zones–that is, an area of heightened sensitivity that can be stimulated to achieve sexual arousal. Genitals, since their primary functions are sexual, are legally considered obscene and cannot be shown in public. Erogenous zones are not primarily sexual and thus are not obscene.
    Mouths, necks, and fingertips, are also erogenous zones frequently used for sexual arousal; however, like breasts, their primary biological functions are not sexual. They become sexual or non-sexual in the context of how they are used. Using your mouth for oral sex or to give a hickey is sexual. Using your mouth to eat or breathe with is not. Likewise, stimulating your nipples or using your breasts for “mammary intercourse” is sexual. Feeding a child is not.
    Unless you want to argue that mouths shouldn’t be shown in public, either, this isn’t a valid reason to declare breasts too sexual for public view.

    “And now just in my personal opinion a child who can walk up to you and demand to be breastfed is way way way way over the age of needing to be breastfed.”

    I’d have the World Health Organization give this RN the following medical advice, “Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.”

    “How ridiculous is this to need a law to saw how and why we can feed our babies””

    I’ll let Charles de Montesquieu speak to this question, “In the state of nature…all men are born equal, but they cannot continue in this equality. Society makes them lose it, and they recover it only by the protection of the law.”

    “I just want to be allowed to have an opinion without being attacked. Last I looked, this was still America.”

    I’ll take this last one. Paula, it’s tiring to see you dish it out again and again only to play the victim card anytime someone disagrees with you. Yes Paula, this is America and you have a right to free speech. We have that same right. Which means we’re aloud to call you out for saying ridiculous things.

    “I say it is time to end the argument and allow different opinions to be voiced.”

    How’s that for a cliff hanger? Will she really let the argument end allowing me to air my opinion? Is this really the end? And if she does come back for another episode, I wonder what she’ll say next? One thing’s or sure, she’s not TV she’s HBO… er Paula.

    • Mary says:

      Enough is enough. Please take the bashing elsewhere. Of me, the Fox panelists, and the commenters.

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    […] Hider by Bebe Au Lait– Now here is where I got into BIG trouble a few weeks ago when I mentioned Hooter Hiders on a weekly Fox 5 parenting segment that I do. In many states it is your right to nurse in public (NIP), so please […]