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Sigh. I had a whole long rant written out about how freaking pissed off I am about this local hospital’s policy about separating mamas and babies for two days if mom shows signs of having H1n1, but I deleted it. I realized that there is no way I can write about this without offending a whole lot of people, and it’s just not in me right now.
I understand that this policy is supposed to protect babe from a scary, admittedly, virus, but to completely negate the – in my not even humble opinion – crucial factors that make those first few days irreparably important just makes me sad. These mamas need those hours for endorphin release. For milk production. For bonding. The thought of little babies in plastic cubes away from the one person whose smell and sound is the only thing they’ve ever known is barbarous to me.
I’m fully aware that many people think I’m a nutjob for my natural-leaning opinions, but I don’t see how there could be any mother who could have a healthy birth – of any kind – and not think something is just instinctively wrong when a member of the hospital staff walks away from you with your brand new miracle. I don’t care if you know that the colostrum that baby is missing out on has more antibody protection than the Fort Knox of quarantines, or that the hormones you might be missing out on could actually prolong your hospital stay if your uterus doesn’t contract well enough, or even that just having that baby at home – with full-on flu – is still statistically the safer choice, especially in relevant terms of nosocomial and iatrogenic infections. That really doesn’t matter. I’m just sad that we’ve gone so far from our instinctive biological histories that this is even an option. It’s just wrong.
I really don’t think I’m the nutjob. I just don’t.
So. I just found out from my parenting board that the KC Star posted an article last Saturday about avoiding holiday faux pas. In it, this gal was the ‘expert’ on the subject, and had the following to say about nursing:
Don’t do things that might make others feel uncomfortable. For example, a woman who didn’t want to miss an event came with her new baby and nursed in sight of all the other guests.
“The men seemed to like it, but a lot of women did not,” Lee says. “Unless you are going to a party with all the La Leche women then this isn’t appropriate.”
Hm. Of course that immediately pisses me off all kinds of ways, but mostly I’m annoyed with the male sexism of the quote more than her discomfort of what really is, I dunno, NUTRITIONAL NORMALCY. It just seems superfluous and snarky, and aside from making me want to flick her on the forehead, leaves me to think she’s defensive. Whatever.
But then it REALLY got ridiculous when one of the moms on my board wrote a letter to the editor to complain, and got this as a reply:
Thank you for sharing your opinion. Lee’s point was strictly limited to “in full view of other guests.” I don’t think the story implied that the nursing mother or her child were inappropriate.
Huh. I gotta disagree with you there, Cindy. That pretty much was the entire point of its inclusion in the story as far as I can tell. I mean it was about faux pas, right? And nursing? With words like ‘isn’t appropriate’? Obviously I’m biased, but COME ON. Maybe reading comprehension is not Cindy’s strong suit as an editor [insert joke about KC Star here] but my anger ain’t nuthin’ compared to others, trust me, so I suggest she at least learn the word retract.
Anyhoodle, this was Karen’s badass reply (used with permission, of course):
Breastfeeding women face enough challenges nursing in public, and the embarrassment factor is a huge reason that women choose not to breastfeed. That article has possibly contributed to some women’s trepidation. I would like to suggest that, to do some damage control, the Mom2Mom could run an article about breastfeeding in public including informing women that there are laws in almost every state (including MO and KS) protecting them and listings ways to feel more comfortable doing so. As I can’t find an email for the mom2mom section at the moment, I hope you will pass on my suggestion.
Now, in reference to “in full view of other guests”. Would it have been appropriate to give the child a bottle “in full view of other guests”? If so, then it is always appropriate to breastfeed. Why is it that we are completely desensitized to images of exposed breasts in everything from lingerie advertisements to NBA cheerleader uniforms, but to expose them actually engaged in their only biological function is uncomfortable?
Many people would say “She could have covered up with a blanket” or “She could have gone to another room,” to which I say, why does feeding one’s child have to be done in hiding? Why should the mother be made to feel like a second class citizen or embarrassed in any way? (And for practicality’s sake, many babies will not nurse while be covered by a blanket, and why even attend an event if you know you will just have to spend most of the time sequestered in another room. Some people even suggest nursing in the bathroom when no private space is available—which is truly just disgusting).
Furthermore, the inclusion of the quote that “the men seemed to like it” is really in poor taste, and, as I said in my original letter, insulting to the guests in attendance. Unless the event in question was the high school prom, I highly doubt the men were getting their kicks from it, as Lee implied.
Unfortunately, I am not surprised to hear sentiments like these regarding breastfeeding in public, but the fact that the writer chose to include them, *and* that they made it through your editorial staff, is extremely disappointing.
To which I say DAMN STRAIGHT. And VERY WELL SAID. And GET OVER IT ALREADY, PEOPLE.
Or something like that.
Oh the irony that this woman was sitting for her MEDICAL boards and was initially denied extra breaks to pump breastmilk. The obviousness of these stupid decisions are beginning to almost amuse me (in a rather sad way).
Watch out Bill – I’m turning into a right ol’ lactivist, when before I didn’t feel very compelled to get involved. I’m not trying to make it the one thing America needs to focus on, but I’m sure tired of ignorance about this. It’s irritating and regressive.
People need to just let whoever wants to breastfeed do it, and stop making it their business. Seriously.
IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT – DON’T LOOK!**
*ETA: Which, admittedly, isn’t the issue with this situation. Just my sentiment all-around that these stories keep coming up that seem so backward in logic. People breastfeed. Get over it.
Here’s the thing. Some people are very, very strong advocates for nursing in public. And I get it, because until it is normalized, it’s going to continue to be sexualized, and unfortunately that is a *huge* reason some women won’t breastfeed: simply because they can’t get past the sexuality of breasts. But other than advocating general education, I’ve never been extremely outgoing about nursing in public (NIP – get it? See, we have a sense of humor about it!). I did nurse in public, but it was just easier for me to nurse somewhere private, if nothing else because my kids would be too distracted otherwise.
And some women cover up for personal reasons, but most kiddos I know (my own included) HATE nursing under a blanket. It gets hot and stuffy and there’s nothing to see. I don’t think people get that when they just assume it’s no big deal to toss a blanket over a kid’s head. You try it.
And Jon and I watch Bill Maher every once in a while because of his guests, but overall I think he’s smug and arrogant. I like the discussions he has with people, and I don’t mind that he’s an avowed bachelor, but he’s too educated to be this childish and ignorant about breastfeeding. This guy is always trying to take umbrage with America for being so unhealthy and relying on Big Pharma.
H-e-l-l-o! What do you think is the point of nursing our future generation you idiot!
Anyway, this is the transcript of his take on the Applebee’s event. I agree with him that people have become lax on taking a stand on things, but devaluing something so irrefutably important is hypocritical and narrow-minded.
So Bill, I know you frequent the Playboy Mansion with your plastic girl-of-the-week, and think boobs are all for your pleasure. But if you’re comparing me to a dog because I can give birth and feed my child, what in the hell does that make you?
And finally, New Rule – and I never thought I’d be the one to say this, but: Don’t show me your tits. [laughter] Last week, the world’s first “Nurse In” was held to protest the case of a woman who was breast-feeding in public, and asked by an Appleby’s manager not to leave, but just to cover up a little bit. Because the wait staff got tired of hearing, “I’ll have what that kid’s having.” [laughter] [applause]
Look, I’m not trying to be insensitive here. I know your baby needs to eat, but so do I, and this is Appleby’s, so I’m already nauseous. [laughter]
Breast-feeding a baby is an intimate act, and I don’t want to watch strangers performing intimate acts. At least not for free. [laughter] It cheapens it. [laughter] But breast-feeding activists – yes, breast-feeding activists, called “lactivists” – say this is a human right and appropriate everywhere, because it’s natural. Well, so is masturbating, but I generally don’t do that at Appleby’s. [laughter] [applause] Not in the main dining area, anyway.
I mean, next thing, women will be wanting to give birth in the waterfall at the mall! [laughter] Look, there’s no principle at work here other than being too lazy to either plan ahead or cover up. It’s not fighting for a right. It’s fighting for the spotlight you surely will get when you go all “Janet Jackson” on everyone. [laughter] And get to drink in the “oohs” and “aahs” from the other customers because “You made a baby!” [laughter] Something a dog can do. [laughter] [applause] [cheers]
Only in America do women think they deserve a medal for having a kid. In China, women give birth on their lunch hour, and by the afternoon, they’re back on line, painting lead onto Barbie dolls. [laughter] [applause]
But this isn’t really about women taking their breasts out in public, as much as I’d like it to be. [laughter] It’s about how petty and parochial our causes have become, how activism has become narcissism. It’s why Al Gore can’t get people to focus on global warming unless there’s a rock concert. “Melting icebergs, brought to you by Smashing Pumpkins.”
It’s why there’ll be no end to this dumb war until there is a draft. Because, at the end of the day, Iraq is somebody else’s problem.
And, by the way, there is a place where breasts and food do go together. It’s called “Hooters.” [laughter] [applause]
Please consider having an informed guest to educate you better. Maybe your mom, since she’s a dog too, apparently.
ETA: P.S. You once dated Ann Coulter. Case closed.
So I think I stole this Youtube Tuesday thing from one of Jason’s friends. I don’t remember, but I want to say officially the idea was not mine.
That said, after last week’s waste of space and time (i.e., Bonzo Britney), I think I’ll post something a little more important this week: boobs. More specifically, the normal use of boobs as feeders of halflings. And given the recent ridiculousness of Applebees, I’ll post this clip of the nurse-in. It’s actually kind of headachey how quickly it moves, but the point is made.