Scott Hardie | April 18, 2005
(link)

When I first heard of a baby being born in an art gallery, I figured it was a silly gesture by the kind of ultra-overachiever parents who play Mozart while the child is still in the womb. I cannot fault the good intentions of such parents, but seriously, giving birth in an art gallery? Kids rarely look around right after birth, and when they do, they're seeking faces, not video installations. I am highly skeptical that this setting could have any real cultural influence on the kid. But I figured, if the parents want to give it a shot, and the doctor says it's safe, then whatever.

Then I read the article more closely. This isn't being done for the kid's benefit. This is a publicity stunt. "It's a bit of test to see if society can cope," said the manager. You've got us: We just can't cope with the mind-blowing reality that some people do stupid things in the name of art. Yup, this revelation will rock society to its very core. I expect no less than full-blown riots.

And even better, the publicity stunt is closed to the public. Because, of course, it's a private act. Not because, I dunno, this has no public benefit, and is quite possibly a hoax. Nah.

Jackie Mason | April 18, 2005
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Anna Gregoline | April 18, 2005
Maybe it's supposed make us laugh?

Kris Weberg | April 18, 2005
Time was, art actually affected people. There were riots at the opening performance of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring." Likewise, John Millington Synge's drama The Playboy of the Western World -- yes, it predates the magazine -- caused riots in Ireland and in the US when it was performed.

Lori Lancaster | April 18, 2005
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Anna Gregoline | April 18, 2005
Everything I've been hearing lately on parenting boards leads me to believe that having many people in the delivery room is becoming popular, so perhaps people wouldn't blink an eye at this. Home births also seem on the rise, so the place is malleable too.

Scott Hardie | April 19, 2005
You're right, Lori, it's not nice to stereotype. If you want to play music for your unborn child for fun, I'm behind you. It's also good to do everything you can to help your developing child, so playing music and reading out loud, et cetera, don't hurt. I'm just skeptical that they have any real effect.

I did wonder how long it was going to take for somebody to say something about it, though. :-)

I don't know about the German; I blame Babelfish.

Anna Gregoline | April 19, 2005
I wish more mothers would nurse in public - it shouldn't be a shocking thing, in my opinion.

Aaron Shurtleff | April 19, 2005
I agree! Nursing in public is natural and should be supported!

You know what else is natural and shouldn't be stigmatized! Pooping! I support tossing down the pants and just dropping a load no matter where you are! If someone doesn't want to see it, too bad! You're doing something that's totally natural!

I hope this doesn't sound sarcastic. It's REALLY REALLY not. :)

Scott Horowitz | April 19, 2005
Anyone else think of Me, Myself, and Irene from this discussion?

Amy Austin | April 19, 2005
Hmm.

Anna Gregoline | April 19, 2005
Uh, except it's not legal to poop in public, as far as I know.

It IS legal to breastfeed in public. So please don't give any breastfeeding mom shit for feeding her child in public. NOT that I think you would. It's a perfectly natural thing, and it's a mom feeding her kid, after all. I don't feel a baby should have to wait to eat just because other people might be uncomfortable with the idea.

America is one of those societies that has totally sexualized breasts - most other nations don't really have this problem, do they?

Scott Horowitz | April 19, 2005
I gotta agree with Anna.... I wouldn't pay any attention to this thread, but I saw the word "breast"

Anna Gregoline | April 19, 2005
(By the way, I didn't let myself see Me, Myself and Irene on principal - now, I could be wrong, but I thought that the movie was based on the idea that he had multiple personality disorder - and if that is so, then I didn't care to see or support it on the grounds that it's a completely false view of the disorder, and makes light of something that we don't understand completely and is a serious mental illness. I know I'm too political with my personal politics sometimes, but mental disorder portrayal in film is just atrocious these days. If the movie used some other excuse, then I missed it I guess. Anyway.)

Scott Horowitz | April 19, 2005
You know what, Anna? I hate people that do shit like that. It was a hilarious movie. I am the type that if you make fun of something, it isn't considered insulting. Jim Carrey is probably the master of physical comedy in our generation, and this movie actually shows how he can make you think he's someone else by just changing his body language. (And the fact that they shoved a chicken up someone's ass, that's always funny) BTW, I'm not picking on you or anything.

Anna Gregoline | April 19, 2005
So...you're not picking on me, but you hate me? Gee, thanks.

Anna Gregoline | April 19, 2005
I also don't see what's wrong with not seeing or supporting something you disagree with - what's the harm? Certainly doesn't seem like it should draw hatred, for crying out loud.

Amy Austin | April 19, 2005
I don't think it's hatred, just misunderstanding.

Scott Horowitz | April 19, 2005
I don't hate you personally, I hate everybody... I'm a non-partisan hater. I think comedy is comedy and you should laugh at everything.

Anna Gregoline | April 19, 2005
I would have found it impossible to enjoy the movie because of the above reasons, which is why I decided not to watch it.

Of course you can speak however you want, but I find it's usually better to say you hate the practice, not the person. From what you said, you literally said you hated me. Never a fun thing to hear.

Scott Horowitz | April 19, 2005
I'm sorry... I'll try to be more clear in the future.

Amy Austin | April 19, 2005
Those of us with a crass sense of humor tend to feel a bit burdened by those who always want or tend to point out the serious side of any issue that happens to be fodder for a laugh. It isn't as though we don't know that a more serious side exists (I sure *hope* so, anyway -- and there's nothing wrong with making sure!), just that some things beg to be made fun of, and we like to laugh.

I don't consider myself to be an insensitive person, but sometimes it can be hard to strike a balance when it comes to humor and sensitivity. And I certainly support anyone's right to not see a movie on principle -- but that doesn't mean that everyone will understand!

Anna Gregoline | April 19, 2005
I agree, Amy - I would just rather that things on here not get so personal. We've all had enough of that. If it's preferred, I won't share any more "serious" sides of conversations about humor or humorous (to some) subjects.

Thanks, Scott, for the apology. I wasn't really mad or anything, just a little hurt that I got hated on!

Amy Austin | April 19, 2005
No, it's all right, Anna -- you have a right to feel differently on it, and I don't mind having the serious side pointed out (esp. if it benefits the ignorant!)... I just wanted to say that I didn't think it was at all personal when Scott "hated on" you -- just a matter of frustration over the difference. Sometimes, it feels like people just don't want you to laugh at *anything* anymore, because someone might be offended.

But I can see how you'd take it that way -- logically speaking -- and I'm glad that he gave you an apology and said as much. Sometimes saying what you mean and meaning what you say requires much more time and thought than we give it... especially online. We all know that by now, but I don't really believe that it will do much to keep future feelings from being hurt! I'm glad you aren't mad, however... ;-)

Aaron Shurtleff | April 19, 2005
But, my point is why draw the line? Both actions are totally natural. Everyone eats, then everyone poops. Why should someone have to wait to eliminate waste just because it makes someone else uncomfortable? Why is pooping bad, in fact, as you stated, illegal to do in public, but breast feeding is not?

I fully support having special places for both. A mother can put a diaper on a baby, fully noting that people in public might be offended by a baby dropping poop behind. They can go to a restroom to change the diaper, which tells me that a mother must be aware that there are aspects of taking care of a baby that are acceptable to wait a minute. (And I'm sure now that I write this, I'll go to a restaurant, and a mom will change her baby's diaper at the table, with the excuse that the baby shouldn't have to have poop on its butt for too long and I need ot get over it.) Why can't a mom take a baby to a more secluded spot, out of the public eye, to do so?

And honestly, if I see a mom breastfeeding, and I stare, would the mom not tell me I was harrassing her? Even if she doesn't know me, even if she couldn't tell you what was in my mind, she would have no problem telling me that staring at her while she breastfed was wrong. And I would wager my weekly paycheck that a lot of people would agree that I was in the wrong. If breastfeeding is natural and OK, the mom should have no problem with this. How would anyone know if I was "sexualizing her breasts"? If a mom breastfeeding in public is thinking I'm being sexual about her breasts (assuming I'm not being a drooling moron with a bulge in front of my trousers), then she brought the sexual aspect into this. Not me, not society, just her and her own beliefs and thought processes.

There are many natural common acts that people all over the world (and most animals, too, I'd wager) do every day, and not all of them need to be paraded out in front of the world for everyone to see. There is nothing wrong about these acts (a point I can't stress enough), but that doesn't mean someone has to go out of their way to do them in public.

I haven't seen Me, Myself, and Irene either...Jim Carrey doesn't do it for me.

And I'm not hating on anyone...or at least I'm not trying to. I just feel kind of strongly about the subject. (And I use feel, not think, so it's all emotional and irrational!)

E. M. | April 19, 2005
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Anna Gregoline | April 19, 2005
I didn't think it was personal either - just trying to point out the difference between saying you hate the "playa" and saying you hate the "game." One causes hurt feelings and the other is acceptable to me.

Well, for one, if people pooped everywhere in public, it would cause disease. That's one excellent reason for disallowing it. Secondly, pooping in public does nothing for other people (unless they have a poop fetish), while breastfeeding feeds a child, something a mother has a right to do, no?

Believe me, no mother goes "out of her way" to breastfeed in public, unless she's a "lactivist." It's not "paraded" around. Your sexualization of breasts has nothing to do with a woman who is using her body to feed a child. She's not thinking about sex, and if anyone is, they shouldn't stare. Staring is rude in any situation, anyway. If a man was staring pointedly at me without me breastfeeding, I'd feel uncomfortable. And with the sexualization of breasts in this country, I'd feel justifyably threatened if someone was doing that to me while I was breastfeeding. It's rude and unnecessary.

I'm sure if you had kids, and your baby was screaming to feed "right now" you might understand better.

I used to think more along your lines (not quite so strongly) but then I talked to mothers. And really, I see no reason why they should have to delay their babies needs to accomodate people who don't want them to feed their child in public! I've never seen a woman who has a breast hanging out, although I'm sure it happens. Most women are very discrete. I know when I have kids, and if I'm caught in public with my baby, I would have no problem breastfeeding. It's my right and I would want to do right by my child by not making them wait to eat - it's not my problem if other people have issues with when I feed my child. They can just deal with it.

I'm very happy the law is on women's side in this instance.

E. M. | April 19, 2005
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Anna Gregoline | April 19, 2005
Unfortunately, it's not made up - and I can personally attest that some of those lactavist ladies are NUTZ, with a capital Z. They are truly crazy, in my eyes.

But breastfeeding is pretty awesome, for lots of reasons, and I totally support any lady that even attempts it. It has tons of health benefits. That said, I dislike it when those ladies will badger people into breastfeeding - and they do use any means necessary. Guilt, intimidation, fear (your baby will DIE if you don't breastfeed!). Bleck.

But I do advocate it if it's possible (some women can't breastfeed, or the baby doesn't accept it, or the baby is premature, etc.).

Scott Horowitz | April 19, 2005
I thought the same thing Ed.... I cracked up when I saw it.

Lori Lancaster | April 19, 2005
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Amy Austin | April 19, 2005
Ah, you beat me to that one, Lori...

Scott Hardie | April 19, 2005
Though proper preparation as Lori mentioned, or discretion as Aaron mentioned, no hungry baby in public needs to wait more than a minute or two for milk. Why the mother has to do it right there at the restaurant table or the sidewalk bench, just because it's her right, is beyond me. You also have the right to talk loudly on your cell phone in a restaurant, or to wear t-shirts with offensive slogans on them in a store, but the world still thinks you're a big jerk if you do these things. Public breastfeeding is not a matter of rights, it's a matter of manners, a matter of common courtesy for your fellow public. Just because a breastfeeding mother is proud of her "progressive" values (some would say regressive) doesn't mean everybody else does share or should share those values, and they shouldn't be expected to "deal with it." I too am glad the law protects the mother's right in this case, and honestly it does not bother me personally to see a breastfeeding mother in public, but I still can't help but think poorly of her when I see her being so rudely inconsiderate of other people around her, who might just have a reasonable problem with it.

Scott Hardie | April 19, 2005
On a similar note: It makes me squirm whenever my companions at a restaurant curse and get vulgar, especially loudly when there are children around. I curse like, well, a sailor when I'm at home and writing on my site, but when there's a five-year-old playing behind me at Denny's, I prefer to keep the four-letter words out of my speech. I'd be infuriated if I was the parent of a child exposed to that kind of rudeness and vulgarity.

Anna Gregoline | April 19, 2005
Some babies won't take the breast again once they take milk from a bottle, so I'm told, making some ladies not want to risk feeding with a bottle.

I'm still not sure what's inconsiderate about it, if the woman is covered up. What exactly is the problem? Just that you KNOW she's breastfeeding?

Scott Hardie | April 19, 2005
Pretty much, yes. Some people have a problem with exposed breasts in public, for a variety of motives, some of them reasonable and some of them not. Would you want to walk into a McDonald's and see one of the employees behind the food line changing into her uniform, obviously topless but still "covered up" by the machinery or merely by having her back turned? Unless you're an oversexed man, you probably don't want that on your mind when you're trying to eat and have a conversation with your companions. That the breastfeeding mother is fulfilling a biological need of her child does not change that she is exposing her breast in public, considered by many to be indecent.

If it's her breast milk in the bottle, what's wrong with the baby no longer taking it from her breast? The inconvenience?

Anna Gregoline | April 19, 2005
For the last question, partly, yes. Women who do that must pump diligently if they are to be able to continue to feed their babies, from what I hear. Sometimes to the point that if they get to pump too late, they run the risk of running out of breastmilk altogether, forcing them to go to formula. Also, many women don't want to give up the emotional connection of their child feeding from the breast, which I'm sure is terribly hard.

I can understand your example, but we'll just have to disagree. I don't see how she's at all exposing herself. Does similar knowledge bother you? Do you actively think about the fact that if you are in a restaurant with a lot of people, probably more than a few women are menstruating? That the old man in the corner has an adult diaper on? That the guy over there has an ulcer on his foot? Heh.

I see a lot more gross things in public that people DON'T cover up on a daily basis to ever think of being grossed out by a woman who is completely covered up feeding her baby. Is this just because I live in Chicago and ride public transit every day?

Is this a woman thing? Are guys just resistant to this? The board where I've learned and talked about breastfeeding is almost exclusively women.

I also think that if I was a mother confronted with my baby wanting to eat, I certainly wouldn't want to stand in a public restroom and feed her. I'd much rather be in a nice outside spot or a corner of a restaurant rather than hiding like I have to be ashamed for feeding my baby.

I respect anyone's right to be grossed out, I hope though that these types of discussions will at least make you consider it in a different light. I don't find anything gross or weird about it, and I hope someday we are at a point in society where it isn't considered as such.

Amy Austin | April 19, 2005
I see a lot more gross things in public that people DON'T cover up on a daily basis to ever think of being grossed out by a woman who is completely covered up feeding her baby. Is this just because I live in Chicago and ride public transit every day?

This made me chuckle... so true, and no, it isn't just Chicago public transit!

Since I'm not a mother or a man, it's hard for me to feel strongly about this one way or another, but I do think that all points are well-made. And I especially agree about the public bathroom not being the place to go for this... I don't even want to take your typical covered drink w/straw into that place and sip on it, let alone try to sit and feed my infant while hearing and smelling our surroundings!!!

Anna Gregoline | April 20, 2005
Also for the inconveinence factor - say you pump and now your kid won't take the breast. Well, he's crying, and hungry. But you're out of milk in the fridge. Instead of plunking him on you, now you've got to pump while he screams and then feed him. I can see how much of a pain this would be.

By the way, I totally support the other choices too - if a woman doesn't want to breastfeed at all, far be it from me to say that she should. Some of the "lactivists" would practically call her a murderer for making that choice, and I think that's ridiculous. No babies cared for properly and fed formula are going to die from it. But I totally understand that from the health benefits and from the emotional bond some women feel, and for what it can do for the child, that women wouldn't want to rush giving it up in any way.

From here:

(link)

Early introduction of bottles or pacifiers can put the breastfeeding relationship at risk, as the baby can develop nipple or bottle confusion, often resulting in the baby not being able to correctly nurse. If this happens, the baby may wean, or have such serious difficulties that the mother may need to seek professional help.

Let's examine some of the bonuses of breastmilk: (From a very knowledgeable lactation consultant on my message board)

-Breast milk provides perfect infant nutrition
"Human milk is uniquely superior for infant feeding and is species-specific; all substitute feeding options differ markedly from it. "
A.A.P. Breastfeeding Policy Statement: Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk (RE2729)

-Not breastfeeding increases mother's risk of breast cancer

-Breast milk helps pass meconium (colostrum has a laxative effect specifically designed to get the meconium out of the bowel)

-Breast milk contains immunities to diseases and aids in the development of baby's immune system.

-Breast milk is more digestible than formula (in fact, a baby's gut is designed to process only breastmilk until approx 6mths of age. Since formula is made from cow's milk, it is only partially digestible by the baby and the baby loses a physical barrier -referrred to as "a closed gut"- against over-production of bacteria in the intestines which leads to gassiness, diarrhea and inadequate nutrition absorption. Also, because formula contains a source of iron that is not easily digestible by humans the bacteria in the gut eat the iron as a food source and even if you give an infant iron drops they get less iron than if they exclusively breastfed.

-Baby's suckling helps shrink mother's uterus after childbirth

-Baby's suckling helps prevent post-partum hemorrhage in mother

-Nursing helps mom lose weight after baby is born (Breastfeeding requires an average of 500 extra calories per day.)

-Pre-term milk is specially designed for premature infants

-The World Health Organization, the APA and UNICEF recommend it (as does every other health organization in the world)

-Breastfeeding protects against Crohn's disease in when a child grows up

-Breastfeeding baby helps decrease insulin requirements in diabetic mothers

-Breastfeeding may help stabilize progress of maternal endometriosis

-Not breastfeeding increases mother's risk of developing ovarian cancer

-Not breastfeeding increases mother's risk of developing endometrial cancer

-Breast milk lowers risk of baby developing asthma

-Breastfeeding protects baby against diarrheal infections

-Breastfeeding protects baby against bacterial meningitis

-Breastfeeding protects baby against respiratory infections

-Breastfeeding decreases chances of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

-Breastfeeding decreases child's chances of contracting Hodgkins disease

-Breastfeeding protects baby against vision defects

-Breastfeeding decreases chances of osteoporosis

-Breast milk is aids in proper intestinal development

-Cows milk is an intestinal irritant

-Formula-fed babies are more at risk for obesity in later life

-Breastfed babies have less chance of cardiopulmonary distress while feeding

-Breastfed babies have less chance of developing ulcerative colitis

-Breastfed babies require shorter pre and post-surgical fasting

-Breast milk protects against hemophilus b. bacteria

-Breastfeeding results in less sick days for parents

-Breastfeeding enhances vaccine effectiveness

-Breastfed babies have less chance of developing necrotizing enterocolitis

-Natural pain relief for baby (Breast milk actually contains chemicals that suppress pain (endorphins).

-Perfect food for sick baby

-Breastfed babies get fewer cavities

-Better speech development

-Less chance of baby getting eczema

-Less gastrointestinal reflux

-Lack of breastfeeding associated with multiple sclerosis in later life

-Less chance of inguinal hernia (The inguinal canal brings down the spermatic cord and certain vessels to the groin area . A hernia is a defect in the opening where these things pass through from the abdomen to the groin because the canal opening gets too big or tears off. The hernia allows abdominal contents to get down into the groin area. Breastfeeding is protective against inguinal hernias. For unknown reasons breastfed babies experience significantly fewer of them. Human milk contains gonadotropin releasing hormone, which may affect the maturation of neonatal testicular function. )

-Better cognitive development

-Better social development

-Decreased risk of baby developing urinary tract infections

-Protects mothers against anemia (iron deficiency)

Now, that's a long laundry list, and I don't know how many are directly supported by research. I took out the ones that in my opinion were hysterical or rude, so I think that this list should be taken with a grain of salt as the person who wrote it is a little fanatical. But I've seen many of these benefits in other medical places, so I'm sure at least some of them are quite true.

Scott Hardie | April 20, 2005
Anna: It's not about whether you're grossed out or I'm grossed out, since we have both said that we are not. It's about whether other people in the general public are grossed out, and some of them definitely are.

This issue involves simple logic: To be able to pat yourself on the back for being more "progressive" than people who are grossed out, you must comprehend that those people exist. If you demonstrate your "progressive" values in front of them, knowing that it makes some of them uncomfortable, then you have been willfully impolite. (link) You may choose to breastfeed anyway for a number of reasons, such as the ones that you listed, but they do not change the fact that you are being impolite, which is the only point I am trying to make.

Just as you believe I don't have to make breastfeeding into something negative, I believe you don't need to make "hiding" in the bathroom into something negative. Were I to do it as a breastfeeding mother, I would consider it an act of my conscience, making a small sacrifice for my fellow public instead of putting my comfort in front of theirs. In other words, I'm currently thinking of it as a selfless and positive gesture, something that you're not obligated to do but that you ought to do anyway. What's wrong with common courtesy?

It might be a woman thing. I cannot say for sure what I would do if I were a mother in that place unless I actually was. But if you can speculate as to possible explanations for our difference of opinion, I can too: What if it's political? You earlier wrote that it's "rude" and "unnecessary" for a man to stare at a breastfeeding woman, because breasts shouldn't be sexualized, according to some values of feminism. But that's an alternative attitude, deviating knowingly from the public norm that breasts are sexual. You make the woman out to be innocent for exposing her breast in public, which is fairly widely considered to be an act of indecency, while you describe the man as "rude" and even "threatening" for using his eyes to look at a public point of interest in his field of vision, which is not considered to be indecent. It takes a great deal of politicization of the issue to claim that you are "justifiably threatened" when a man in public looks at you, however lewdly, because his eyes simply cannot do you any harm. You say that you hope society someday sees it your way, and I do too, but until then please accept that your values are your own, and that other people should not have to "deal with it" if they have valid reasons for disagreeing.

Anna Gregoline | April 20, 2005
Wow. That felt harsh.

I guess I'll respond to that later.

Scott Hardie | April 20, 2005
I guess I look forward to reading it. :-|   How am I being harsh? I am merely speaking logically. I, too, would be made very uncomfortable by a man staring at my breastfeeding if I were doing it in public, but that emotion would not influence whether his staring and/or my breastfeeding would be ill-mannered.

Anna Gregoline | April 20, 2005
I guess I just was all bouncy happy feeling good about TC for the first time in a long time - and then I come back in here and it appears that I'm being a jerk.


I'll read over what you said again tomorrow and I'll think about each part before I respond.

Lori Lancaster | April 20, 2005
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Amy Austin | April 20, 2005
Anna, don't take it so much to heart -- if it makes you feel any better, I don't think you were being a jerk... just arguing a moot point. Scott wasn't in disagreement on the intrinsic value and merits of breast-feeding -- just on the issue of politeness. (And I can see how being directed to a definition of "polite" might feel a little bit harsh, too, so...) Don't let this kind of simple disagreement get you down, though, okay -- it's no reason to be instantly deflated! ;-)

Erik Bates | April 20, 2005
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Anna Gregoline | April 20, 2005
I'm just being deflated all over the place these days. I admit, after reading Scott's response, I cried for awhile. I'm having a really bad track record with my posts lately. I honestly thought I was just sharing information and being happy about it but it seems like from what Scott said that I was being hypocritical and rude. Am I ever going to make sense?

"Anna: It's not about whether you're grossed out or I'm grossed out, since we have both said that we are not. It's about whether other people in the general public are grossed out, and some of them definitely are. "

I use the general "you" all the time naturally in my writing and it's probably gotten me in lots of trouble over the years. I don't usually mean you in particular.

"This issue involves simple logic: To be able to pat yourself on the back for being more "progressive" than people who are grossed out, you must comprehend that those people exist. If you demonstrate your "progressive" values in front of them, knowing that it makes some of them uncomfortable, then you have been willfully impolite. (link) You may choose to breastfeed anyway for a number of reasons, such as the ones that you listed, but they do not change the fact that you are being impolite, which is the only point I am trying to make."

This makes it sound like I'm being pompous and cheering about how great I am. I'm not in the slightest. I'm sad that you think I was. You also act like I can barely even imagine that another side exists, where I don't really think I reflect that in my post.

"Just as you believe I don't have to make breastfeeding into something negative, I believe you don't need to make "hiding" in the bathroom into something negative. Were I to do it as a breastfeeding mother, I would consider it an act of my conscience, making a small sacrifice for my fellow public instead of putting my comfort in front of theirs. In other words, I'm currently thinking of it as a selfless and positive gesture, something that you're not obligated to do but that you ought to do anyway. What's wrong with common courtesy?"

If I were a breastfeeding mother, I am not concerned about society - I would be concerned about my child first. I think that society recognizes that we put family first, especially a mother and child. And also, how am I to know who's comfortable with breastfeeding and not? I would also consider it an act of exposure - if people are uncomfortable with it, and I don't want them to be, I'm going to hope that by seeing it out in public they'll get used to it. This isn't to say that I'm going to breastfeed right in front of you while you eat, if you're my friend and you're uncomfortable, if that's what you're envisioning I'm saying. I'm simply not going to move and hide if some stranger gives me a dirty look, or asks me to leave. I find that terribly rude, if I'm decently covered.

"It might be a woman thing. I cannot say for sure what I would do if I were a mother in that place unless I actually was. But if you can speculate as to possible explanations for our difference of opinion, I can too: What if it's political? You earlier wrote that it's "rude" and "unnecessary" for a man to stare at a breastfeeding woman, because breasts shouldn't be sexualized, according to some values of feminism. But that's an alternative attitude, deviating knowingly from the public norm that breasts are sexual."

Like Lori said, it's rude to stare in general.

"You make the woman out to be innocent for exposing her breast in public, which is fairly widely considered to be an act of indecency, while you describe the man as "rude" and even "threatening" for using his eyes to look at a public point of interest in his field of vision, which is not considered to be indecent."

Actually, breastfeeding is protected by law and is declared NOT an act of indeceny within the actual words of the particular law. I fail to see how it's indecent if no breast is exposed. I can't see how it's a problem. I'm sorry, we have to disagree on that. It's the same as if a woman is wearing a shirt, in my opinion. I've never seen a breastfeeding woman in public where (and I've seen a lot, considering I worked at a children's library) I saw a breast.

"It takes a great deal of politicization of the issue to claim that you are "justifiably threatened" when a man in public looks at you, however lewdly, because his eyes simply cannot do you any harm. You say that you hope society someday sees it your way, and I do too, but until then please accept that your values are your own, and that other people should not have to "deal with it" if they have valid reasons for disagreeing."

Most women I know would feel threatened if a man was pointedly staring at them. His eyes can't do harm, but HE can. Women are taught to be wary of such things, and for good reason. It's not at all that I don't trust men, or think they're all pigs, or any such anti-feminism nonesense (not that you're putting that forth). It's just about making sure that someone doesn't want to cause you harm. I find any prolonged staring annoying and rude at best, and threatening at worst.

If people have valid reasons for disagreeing, they are allowed to disagree. I am simply saying that they have no right to make a woman stop breastfeeding where she wants and I totally see the side of the law on this one. So in that instance, they will just have to "deal with it" as far as I would be concerned. Again, that has nothing to do with whether I cared about the person and had a personal relationship with them. I'm not going to wave my boobs in front of my family or friends if they have a problem with it. Maybe it's wrong of me, but I cannot concern myself with what society at large thinks of my actions. I can only control my small sphere of existance, and that weakly, at best. I'm pretty positive I would see attending to my child as more important than what some stranger thinks.

Maybe that's callous. Just the way I am.

I was worried about this discussion because Lori just had a baby, so I'm glad to see she shared with us. I was trying my best to be delicate because of that fact and the fact that we have other parents on here who have probably made dozens of different choices regarding feeding their kids (and I support all of those choices). And then I go and insult Scott, instead. = \

Anyway, I'm sorry if I was being "impolite" - I sure wasn't meaning to be.

Erik Bates | April 20, 2005
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Anna Gregoline | April 20, 2005
I didn't feel attacked and I didn't take it that way at all. Again, just sharing how I felt and tried to clarify. I'm sorry I'm not as mental and logical as I want, but I'm being honest and naked with my feelings here.

I could try and never respond emotionally, and never reveal how I feel about anything (whether it's happy or sad or angry or whatever) but that would make me feel like a robot and it's not who I am.

Anna Gregoline | April 20, 2005
I also really wish that people would stop interrpreting how I feel (you always take it as such) because you aren't accurately portraying how I feel at all. I'm doing my best to clarify.

Erik Bates | April 20, 2005
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Anna Gregoline | April 20, 2005
Dude, I'm not promoting "ultra-feminism" whatever that is. Just that women have the same rights and respect that men do, we're still far from that.

Was I ultra-defensive in what I last posted? I took my time, I reasoned out my responses, and yes, I put in my emotions. I wasn't trying to gain sympathy or to induce guilt - I was showing that it affected me deeply the idea that I was being rude or that I offended someone else.

It's extremely frustrating to keep trying to change my image and how I respond to things and then get comments like yours that serve to keep me in the place I've been. If I had felt attacked, I would have said so. I don't see differing opinions as "attacks" on me, or anyone, so please put that thought to bed. I don't want anyone to take me any other way than face value - I've been completely honest and open and ready to listen in what I wrote above.

Scott Horowitz | April 20, 2005
Guys, can we kill this? I don't want Scott to get upset again. You both have your opinions/views, no personal attacks were made. Let's kill this before it gets ugly. Can't we all just get alogn?

Anna Gregoline | April 20, 2005
It's not ugly, and I don't see it getting ugly. I have no ill will in this discussion! I see no need to "kill it."

Amy Austin | April 20, 2005
I wouldn't classify the support of public breast-feeding as "ultra-feminism", either, Erik!

Erik Bates | April 20, 2005
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Scott Horowitz | April 20, 2005
Hey, if they have more public breast feeding, does everyone get a sip? Is it like a water fountain?

Jackie Mason | April 20, 2005
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Anna Gregoline | April 20, 2005
I was curious about ultra-feminism. I thought maybe I was missing out on something!

Sounds like warrior women!

Aaron Shurtleff | April 20, 2005
Lots to say, so little time!

I wouldn't necessarily advocate sending women to a restroom for breastfeeding. I get a little leery keeping my toothbrush in the same room that I use for elimination, and I would be the last person to ask someone else to do something similar! Public restaurants should have rooms set aside for this. I also think restaurants should have children/no children sections, but I'll never get support for that!

I hate to sound flip-floppy, but I can also see the argument (I think it was stated, if not, it was implicated...if not, I'm crazy) that at what point does a person doing something that a certain segment of the population might find uncomfortable need to make arrangements? If we had a vote (and I don't want that!), I am sure that I would be in the minority of people in my opinion on the privacy of breastfeeding. Should I have the right to ask a mom to hide herself? How many people being uncomfortable is enough? No real good way to answer that. That said, it is my opinion, crazy as it is. And it's not that I feel uncomfortable...well, it is but it isn't.

I once saw a lady breastfeeding at a Wal-Mart (no comments about Wal-Mart shoppers, now!) and you could literally see the breast that the kid wasn't feeding at. I hope we can all agree that a situation like that probably should be avoided.

To me, an "ultra-feminist" doesn't want equal rights for men and women, but, instead, wants "special" rights for women, above and beyond what men receive. I don't think anyone here has been an ultra-feminist, but I don't read everything!

Warrior women are hot! :P~~~

I hope that no one thinks I'm trying to sway their opinion. I'm just stating mine.

I think that there are also a few (I said a FEW!) negatives to breastfeeding. I agree that the positives far out-weigh the negatives, but an informed decision should take everything into account. Unfortunately, I dont' have a web site to get a list from. :( I know that, for example, just like lots of good things from the mom goes to the baby, there is also the potential for bad things to get transferred. That's why so many medicines say not to use them if you're breastfeeding.

And finally, my last point, which is more of a question to everyone... I'm sure everyone has probably seen articles written about this, or even heard about it, but does anyone think that a child can be "too old" for breastfeeding? I've read an article in a paper about a 9 year old who was still breastfeeding (not for sustenance, but for the closeness with the mother, who encouraged it). Is there a time when breastfeeding becomes inappropriate?

OK, that's it. Thank you for your time!

Jackie Mason | April 20, 2005
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Erik Bates | April 20, 2005
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Scott Hardie | April 20, 2005
Anna: I wish I'd gotten back to this discussion sooner to prevent you the hurt. I never thought that you personally were being rude, impolite, or insulting. Everything you said was thoughtful and well-put. My point was that women who breastfeed in public, with disregard for the values of others in sight, were rude. Until you also do that, you're just talking. :-) I too was guilty of using "you" in a general sense where it was open to interpretation as "you" in the personal sense, and I should have been more careful. I regret your hurt feelings. You did nothing wrong.

Aaron: I don't advocate anybody having the right to ask/tell mom to go breastfeed. I advocate mom having the courtesy to take other people's potential wishes into consideration. As for breastfeeding beyond infancy, I think a lot of the opposition to it comes from fear of anything Oedipal. It strikes me as creepy, and I wouldn't want my wife doing it, but it's not necessarily wrong. It is described in Song of Solomon (been a while since I brought that up!) that the protagonist was breastfed until around that same age, as a method of establishing how crazy his mother was and how dysfunctional his childhood was.

Everybody: Yes, I know staring is also rude. I didn't say otherwise. :-P

Amy Austin | April 21, 2005
My younger brother and sister (now almost 17 & 14) were both breast-fed. The significance of this is that there was no lapse in nursing for my step-mother. My best friend in high school thought that my brother was a little bit too old for "ninny", insisting that "if the kid can ask for it by name, then it's time!" ;-D

Anna Gregoline | April 21, 2005
On the same family forum I was on to learn about breastfeeding, there are indeed women who have breastfed to age 8 - that was the oldest I heard. I admit, despite my turn-around on other things regarding breastfeeding, and I finally got over telling those women directly that I thought it was disgusting, I still can't handle it. I don't see the reasoning. When your kid gets teeth, it's time he used them on food, no?

And yeah, there's something creepy to me about remembering breastfeeding. How does that change a mother and kid relationship?

I don't think I'll get over that one.

Anna Gregoline | April 21, 2005
Scott - so I DID overreact, again. =( I just didn't read it that way, sorry to go all psycho. And Erik was right too, but I hope that I at least made that particular point in how I feel about it - I KNOW my failings, guys, and pointing them out to me over and over isn't helping me either. I'm honestly trying my best, and things SEEM to be going better. Amy and I are even talking and joking now, on air and off, so wrap your head around THAT one.

At least it wasn't as bad as I thought. Thank goodness.

Amy Austin | April 21, 2005
Amy who??? (jk) ;-D

Steve Dunn | April 21, 2005
Society should be tolerant of breast feeding in public, but breast feeding until age 8 is fucked up.

These conclusory assertions have been brought to you by Steve Dunn.


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