I read a blog this week which bought to my attention the video below. It’s a discussion on Loose Women about breastfeeding pictures not being allowed on Facebook and they generally discuss whether breastfeeding should be done in public at all. It’s awful and totally one-sided.
I know it’s tabloid television and by it’s nature it is designed to push my buttons and so I should just leave well alone. There are plenty of other great blog posts pointing how awful these women are, but, BUT every time I think of it I just cannot get the nervous breastfeeding mother, who already feels uncomfortable feeding in public, or even the potential mother who is weighing up how to feed her baby and may have been watching this, out of my mind. This is certainly not going to help them feel more able or more confident and for that they should be ashamed, as should ITV.
The opinions they express consider boobs to be purely sexual things. Lisa Maxwell compares showing anything while breastfeeding to a man flashing his genitals and feels that a woman’s husband my be offended by her putting pictures of breastfeeding onto Facebook. Whatever else breasts can be used for, they are for FEEDING INFANTS. We are mammals, the clue is in the name.
She also suggests as a breastfeeding mother herself that we should all follow her example and feed in the car or worse in the toilet. Good grief! Where do I begin? Well, for starters I would like Lisa Maxwell to not be allowed to eat or drink in public and instead be banished to the toilet, as I find her rather offensive.
People should feel comfortable feeding their children in public, no matter how they choose to do it. I did not see her suggesting that those who choose to bottle feed should be shut away and of course they shouldn’t. We need to normalise breastfeeding and until we get used to seeing people doing it and seeing images of it, this will not happen. We see enough images of women’s breasts in our mainstream media that no-one bats an eye at and yet as a society we do not seem able to get away from schoolboy sniggering and nudging when it comes to a perfectly natural thing.
Some women have real, actual problems when breastfeeding. Sore nipples, difficulty with latching their baby on, problems with milk supply, mastitis, blocked milk ducts to name just a few. These are the things that we should be concentrating on helping them with and debating how best to do this. Worries about where they are feeding or if they are offending people should not even come into their minds.
Unfortunately with people like this in the mainstream media being allowed to spout their offensive views many women will feel uncomfortable and to those I say this. I have fed my children in coffee shops, restaurants, on trains, in pubs and libraries and I have never received a negative comment or even a look that made me feel uncomfortable. Most people ignore it completely and those that don’t have only ever given me a smile. It is just a shame that Loose Women chooses not to have those type of people on their show.
So, finally I leave you with this. A picture of me feeding my baby, when we were still in the delivery suite, because I am not ashamed and it’s is a more pleasant image to leave you with than those over-made up harridans in the video.
For a much more positive and sensible discussion about Facebook’s new rules please read this article from the Guardian, which first bought my attention to the issue.