Sancti-selfies: the latest weapon in the mommy wars

Sanctiselfie

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s why sancti-selfies have become the latest weapon in the mommy wars.

Several weeks ago I wrote about brelfies, breastfeeding selfies. I quoted the paper Selfies| Virtual Lactivism: Breastfeeding Selfies and the Performance of Motherhood by Boon and Pentney.

The sancti-selfie says: I am a better mother than you!

Situated between lactivism and narcissism, the breastfeeding selfie must … be understood as both a personal gesture and a political act…

Like other selfies, breastfeeding selfies offer individuals the possibility of microcelebrity, the opportunity to present carefully manufactured and managed online selves across a range of social media platforms, with the “audience” imagined as fans…

If … participation in social media is modeled on corporate branding strategies, particularly active self-promotion and status-seeking behavior, then the selfie may be the most obvious example of the self as brand commodity.

Brelfies are a subset of what I call “sancti-selfies.”

What are sancti-selfies?

Situated between sanctimony and narcissism, the sancti-selfie is both a personal gesture and a political act. It conveys a dual message:

Look at me! I’m an awesome mother!

and:

If you aren’t mirroring my own choices back to me, I am a better mother than you.

In other words, they’re just the latest sanctimommy tool for compelling ideological adherence.

In my experience, most sancti-selfies are posted by breastfeeding and homebirth advocates. The sancti-selfie above, taken by Ashley Kaidel, is a perfect example.

Carefully staged tableau? Check!

Breast exposed far more than needed to feed a baby? Check!

Sanctimonious expression? Check!

Many, many women breastfeed. Very few feel compelled to photograph themselves doing so and even fewer feel the need to post those photos on social media.  But among lactivists and homebirth advocates, sancti-selfies are practically de rigeur.

Think about it. How many women post photos of themselves feeding their infants on social media? Very few and nearly all of them are breastfeeders. How many women feel compelled to post photos and videos of a baby emerging from their vagina. Very few and nearly all are homebirth advocates. A baby born vaginally in a hospital emerges in exactly the same way, yet women who have epidurals don’t feel the need to display it on Twitter.

That’s why, as Boon and Pentney note, brelfies are posted almost exclusively privileged women:

Perhaps not surprisingly, then, the vast majority of breastfeeding selfies posted … feature white mothers and children and reference cisgender, heterosexual family structures. While most images do not include the full body, the bodies that are shown appear to align with standard body ideals; for example, there are no visibly fat bodies included.

What’s that I hear you say? They’re normalizing breastfeeding and vaginal birth?

Are we really supposed to be gullible enough to believe that?

When lactivists promote normalizing breastfeeding they are using “normal” to signify normative and morally preferable. When homebirth advocates display babies dangling from vaginas they are using “normal” to signify that unmedicated vaginal birth is normative and morally preferable.

Birth and breastfeeding advocates are aware that describing breastfeeding and childbirth in these ways is vicious, creating two classes of mothers, good mothers and bad mothers. That’s the point point of sancti-selfies, to be sanctimonious.

They want to behave viciously but they don’t want to be accused of doing so. They claim they are “normalizing” breastfeeding and vaginal birth in order to create plausible deniability.  No, no, no, they’re not trying to shame formula feeding mothers, they’re simply pointing out that breastfeeding is the normal and natural way to feed an infant. No, no, no, they don’t mean that normal birth is better; they just mean that it is the common way to give birth.

We should recognize sancti-selfies for what they are: portraits of the ugly marriage of narcissism and sanctimony that characterizes so much of lactivism and homebirth (as well as natural childbirth) advocacy.

And we shouldn’t let them get away with it.

  • Marie Gregg

    Ugh. I’m so tired of this. Ladies, breastfeed your babies all you want. Yay you. I couldn’t care less. But when you’re doing it in the middle of everything, with no form of coverage (blanket, jacket, etc.) it’s not about breastfeeding. If’s about you daring people to come at you.

    Because come on. There’s no woman who doesn’t know that the act of breastfeeding can and does make others uncomfortable. By all means, attend to your baby. Feed him/her. But have some respect for those around you.

    Go ahead and flame me. I’m infertile so I probably shouldn’t even be commenting anyway, right?

  • Staceyjw

    I like taking lots of pics of my ad my DD BFing because it was a special time.m I share them where people are receptive, but not on my wall. I think they are fine so long as they don’t come with a nasty comment or rant about formula. And they ALL DO.

    (and CIS is a SLUR to many of us. Its an “identity” thats pushed on you by others, you don’t get to choose. And yes, MOMS BF. WOMEN BF. I am sorry I know that reality is so offensive these days!)

  • Charybdis

    She seems to be missing the requisite flower garland in her hair…or is she too *militant* for that ?

  • Hmmm. Are you shaming women for being happy about a life achievement? Breastfeeding selfies, same as finishing a race/graduations/new houses etc all appear on my social media news feeds as life experiences to be shared and happy about. And as a woman, I feel my peers’ pride and joy, and I’m happy for them. At no point do I assume they are challenging my choices/behaviour/achievements, that would show a deep insecurity in myself.

    Maybe it’s becuase your generation hasn’t grown up in a world where a lot of ones life get shared on social media. Therefore you see sharing photos that others see as a celebration, as ‘sanctimonious’ (def: excessively pious). And maybe your world is more closed than mine, as the photos I see are of
    women of all shapes, sizes, cultural backgrounds, race and wealth.

    Embrace the achievements of others. Just because they’re proud of their choices, doesn’t mean they look down on anything else. Some women are actually kind, intelligent and happy…try it sometime 😉

    • Chant de la Mer

      How is breastfeeding an achievement? Every baby needs to be fed and breastfeeding and formula are just feeding the baby, no special achievement there.

      • An achievement = something accomplished. Life achievement = something you have accomplished in your life eg keeping a baby fed and happy (however you choose to do that). Any photo on a person’s social media may not be special to the viewer, but it is to the person placing it there…be happy for them. Just because you don’t rate it doesn’t make it not worthy. Let people decide what they are proud of achieving, and share in their joy, whatever it is. Deciding on someone else’s behalf what they can and can’t find an achievement is unkind and reeks of insecurity.

        • Chant de la Mer

          yeah but that’s like saying me drinking my morning tea is an achievement. An achievement is an act successfully completed with courage, skill or effort. Feeding your baby is not an achievement, you are expected to that as a matter of course, without fanfare.

          • Yep, some people share their dinner they’ve made as an acheivement. We all eat, you are expected to. If someone is happy enough with their particular experience to photograph and share it, why not be happy with them? Why assume they are being sanctimonious and making a comment on anyone elses way of doing the same thing? Accept it for what it is, someone being happy with their situation and sharing it with others. If you had a morning cup of tea that you wished to share on social media, go ahead, that’s fine with me, I wouldn’t start bitching that you were making me feel bad for sitting here drinking coffee without photographing it x

          • Chant de la Mer

            If someone is happy with their situation then they don’t really need attention drawn to it by pointing out what they are doing right.

          • Anonymous

            I think when people are happy about something, they like to share their joy with friends. I’m not a poster of food porn, but I understand that when my friends post it, they have worked hard to pull off a delicious dinner and are celebrating these small little achievements in life.

            My son had great difficulty breastfeeding. We worked quite hard at trying to make a go of it, for many months actually. But it never really click. Had it worked, after a lot of struggles, I would have seen it as an achievement. A small one, yes, but an achievement.

            Most women I know had some difficulty initiating breastfeeding. Sore cracked nipples, trouble with milk supply, mastitis, poor latch. If they see breastfeeding as an achievement when it finally works, I have no problem with that.

          • PS do you get annoyed by all photographs of babies or just breastfed ones? I see plenty of photos of babies bottle feeding, being put in new clothes, fed solid food etc, all expected baby/parent behaviour, none of which I take as sanctimonious or a comment to others parenting!

          • Chant de la Mer

            Why are you going after me? I never said I hated any of these pictures, I was only pointing out that they aren’t pictures of achievements. I like seeing pictures of babies actually. However, the commentary that is included by the original poster can be quite ignorant and judgmental even if the photo is cute. I have a friend that always post pics of her kid eating veggies bragging about it, it’s pretty judgmental because she’s implying that her particular diet is what gets her to eat veggies. Personally I like to see the pictures that tell a fun story, the ones with the kids doing silly things or the crazy disaster they made while mom was gone for 60 seconds. I’d get a kick out of a breastfeeding pic if it showed the reality of it, a baby yanking away to look at something making noise while mom is juggling the baby, the toddler, Facebook on the phone and a cup something. That would be hilarious because it’s something that a lot of moms experience.

    • theNormalDistribution

      Next time I have a particularly difficult bowel movement, I’ll be sure to share my achievement with you. <3

      • Not just with me, with everyone,if that’s what makes you proud and happy. ps there are websites where people do that ratemypoo.com, you’re welcome x

    • Tim Holland

      Most of us can tell the difference between sharing on social media and shaming on social media, this isn’t something us “oldies” don’t understand. If we’re confused (you know, because of our generation’s waning cognitive skills) we have plenty of venomous martyr-mommy boards to set us straight.

      The biggest advantage of today, over the old days before social media and birthcams, is that mothers didn’t have the ability to graphically remind their children how much they suffered and sacrificed to bring them into the world. The poor kid was resigned to simply taking their mother’s word for it, or forced to respond with “whatever, Mom!” But with Facebook, all that suffering can be archived. (I was raised by someone who opted for twilight birth, and couldn’t remember any more about my childbirth than I did.)

      I started my OB/gyn class a week after my mother died, and it opened my eyes to how much the US (even worse in the UK) really discourages women from weighing options when it comes to infant feeding. Where you see “diversity” I see a one-size-fits-all approach to proper childbirth and feeding. Raising a child into a moderately well-adjusted adult is the real accomplishment… childbirth and breastfeeding are, for the most part, solo activities. Academic achievements, making good decisions, being a decent human being, these are shared accomplishments, and the real milestones.

      Growing up without a martyr-mommy has really baffled me to the whole “super-mom” culture.

  • sdsures

    “While most images do not include the full body, the bodies that are shown appear to align with standard body ideals; for example, there are no visibly fat bodies included.”

    Gosh, I better shoot some (or have my hubby shoot some) sanctimonious brelfies when I have a child and show me feeding my kid as I’m sitting in my mobility scooter and my tummy is sticking out because I’m a wee bit fat. You know, to present a more realistic sample of mothers who are short, chunky, disabled, but otherwise functional. (I may lose some excess weight while I’m pregnant because of the migraine meds I will need to d/c, so that would be nice.)

  • Jhon Murdock

    Madam Tuteur: your “And we shouldn’t let them get away with it.” would sound much more appropriate if you were to say instead, “And God and I shouldn’t let them get away with it.”

    • sdsures

      What has religion got to do with the subject at hand?

      • Poogles

        I haven’t a clue, but this person seems to be pretty anti-semetic (comments on other sites referring to Jewish people as “Joosh”) and I wonder if that has anything to do with it?

    • theNormalDistribution

      I don’t get it.

  • Dana

    So Skeptical OB, please tell me why you care so much? As an educated health professional and breastfeeding mother (or should I call myself a lactivist?), I fail to see how your opinion adds to this climate in a positive way. Mothers are trying to support other mothers and there is a definite spectrum of ways in which this is done. If this does not affect your daily life, turn your head the other way and stop with the drama!

    • Anion

      Yes, why should women care about issues and acts that affect women?

      Why does an opinion have to “add to this climate in a positive way?” Why can’t it just be an opinion? Who are you to say whether or not something adds to the climate/discussion in a positive way? Maybe it’s not positive to you, but to a lot of other women it is.

      “Mothers are trying to support other mothers,” my behind. Did you actually read the post? It explains exactly why she (and others here) care so much.

      Why do YOU care so much about her opinion? How does it affect YOUR daily life? Why do YOU care whether or not it “adds” something “positive?”

      “Turn your head the other way and stop with the drama,” she sniffs, as she sticks her head into the drama.

  • yentavegan

    Twenty six years ago I was discreetly nursing my then 5 month old son in the dining room of a Catskills resort. I have always been a discreet modest breastfeeding mom. When the waiter approached our table and asked me to leave , I initially thought he was kidding. He apologized but said other guests of the hotel were uncomfortable. We did make the mistake of booking our stay at the same time the hotel was running an event for singles , so perhaps it was too much happiness in the face of desperate singles looking for true love. We had three kids at the time and my Darling Husband ran into a few women he had dated years earlier. Anyway I digress, the point being that I did remove myself from the dining room to nurse alone in the lobby. It was a humiliating experience which I now contribute to the bitter jealousy of single women on the prowl for a mate.

    • Kerlyssa

      …seriously.

  • Gatita

    Marginally related but I went and googled nursing tops and wow, there are so many options now! Inexpensive and cute too. It surprised me.

    • demodocus

      I can afford a pair of new shoes for me or a Christmas present for my toddler. So I’m putting off the shoes until that hole becomes big enough for other people to see.

      • Gatita

        Yes, I understand. Been there. I’m sorry things are tight for you.

      • Who?

        Sorry about that. It’s hard when things are tight, particularly when consumption is everywhere, as at Christmas. I hope your situation improves soon.

        • demodocus

          thank you; it’ll help if I can get a job that pays enough for daycare and hopefully a car, plus a bit. I could work weekends at the mcdonalds, but I’m really bad at that. Really bad. Job hunting is such fun.

          • Who?

            I’m looking for a job as well atm. It’s a rotten market here for now, and there are a lot of good people looking for work, so it’s competitive. It’s hard to put so much effort in and then not to feel crushed when it doesn’t work out, which mostly it won’t.

            We only need one (each)! Just keep swinging, that’s my motto.

      • Anion

        Have you tried blocking the hole with duct tape? You can cut some cardboard to fit the hole and duct-tape it in place (from the inside) and, depending on the hole’s location, cover it with another piece of tape on the outside. You can buy duct tape in all sorts of colors, or use Sharpies to color it so it’s not as obvious.

        It’s not a perfect solution, but it can help the shoes last a little longer.

        And I’ve been there, too. 🙁 We’re lucky this year and are able to afford at least a small-but-good Christmas, but the last couple of years it’s been only kids getting presents at our house.

  • Anna

    OT: Kim Kardashian gave birth prematurely by c-section. I wonder if her first was a c-section too. Anyone with medical education have any idea? There was a lot of mystery around that birth, some of the tabloids wrote it was natural, some argued with that. It acually surprised me she admitted the c-section openly this time.

    • Dr Kitty

      IIRC she had placenta accreta this time, so neither the CS nor the timing surprise me.
      Abnormal placentation is more common after CS, but unless she’s said North was born by CS, it is her business.

      • Anna

        “It is her business” – she is a public person who chose to turn her private life into a show and lives of it, so no, it’s not her business. How could she birth North naturally when she was nearly dying of eclampsia? Lies and mistifications in these issues only create an unhealthy atmosphere. As if a “not natural enough birth” was a thing to be ashamed of in the first place. Like Kate Winslet. They are celebrities and they set the trend. And we have the right to discuss them as much as we want and expose blatant lies. I think KK just realized birth is just birth and no need for intrigue and secrecy all over the place.

        • Dr Kitty

          Respectfully, it’s up to her what medical information she makes private and what she makes public. She doesn’t have to put anything out there that she doesn’t want to.

          It doesn’t really matter what the public finds interesting, or thinks would be helpful to know, or would reduce stigma or whatever, it is her choice what she puts in the public domain.

          People, no matter how public, are entitled to privacy about their medical history, if that is what they want.

        • toni

          Was she almost dying of it? I don’t think I’ve seen an episode in the last three years or so… certainly not a full one, not because I’m snobby (well, maybe a tad). if it came on TV I wouldn’t jump to switch it over but I don’t know what channel it’s on and I’m not going to seek it out BUT I browse enough mail online before bedtime to have seen stills from the show where she was in labour with the first kid and looking very relaxed so I don’t think it was a holy shit emergency. I know women who had quite bad cases of it and needed the magnesium drip and so on but were able to have vaginal deliveries. It’s not an automatic CS. I also recall one episode from way back where her sister was thinking about having her child naturally with no pain meds and Kim looked incredulous and basically said she was nuts to consider it so I think your theory that she is ashamed of not having a natural birth is baseless.

          • Anna

            Hopefully so. Yeah, I guess even KK knows better than listen to the NCB weirdos.

    • An Actual Attorney

      I hate myself for knowing this, but she’s been pretty open about accreta (or previa) and other problems that have made this a miserable and dangerous pregnancy. And she’s been pretty sick recently. Like I said, I hate myself.

    • Zornorph

      Is this baby going to be named South?

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      Keeping up with the Kardashians is one of my guilty pleasures. Apparently she had preeclampsia last pregnancy and delivered 5 weeks early.

    • FEDUP MD

      She has a lot of issues but she does seem to listen to her doctors.

      As a short woman with preeclampsia with both pregnancies making me have massive edema and weight gain, I against my will feel actual empathy with her. I had miserable pregnancies too, to the point of limiting my family size due to the combination of preeclampsia and misery.

      • RMY

        I didn’t think much of her, but recently, I’ve appreciated her openness about infertility struggles. It’s nice as it’s a problem rarely talked about.

        • Megan

          I’m not usually a fan either but I also appreciated her honesty in general about pregnancy and that is not all sunshine and roses.

    • Daleth

      I think this baby was breech, hence the c-section. I could be wrong that that’s the reason–maybe it also would have been a VBAC. I don’t read “People” and the like enough to know about her first pregnancy.

  • Anion

    I just went into a shop in town here for the first time. The lovely, hugely pregnant woman who runs it told my husband and I that 1) she is overdue; 2) she is having a homebirth; 3) she is having an *unassisted* homebirth; she’s a nurse so will be doing it all herself, and has IV tubes etc. all ready to go.

    All I could do was smile politely and wish her the best (genuinely) and pray that something doesn’t go wrong. I had to bite my tongue to keep from mentioning how the risks of stillbirth rise with every day past due, and how she really ought to at least have a doctor check her out (she told us she doesn’t trust doctors, of course). We’re at least twenty minutes–at LEAST–from the nearest hospital.

    I’m not going to be able to stop worrying until I hear the baby is born and healthy. Ugh!

    • demodocus

      She may be a nurse, but if she’s running a shop, one has to wonder how long it’s been since she actually did any nursing.

      • Anion

        She did mention it had been a few years, actually. I tried not to ask too much, because I really didn’t want to start anything.

        But the second we were out of the store my husband and I had a minor fit.

      • Anion

        See brief update. Baby girl, presumably all is well. Very glad.

    • PrimaryCareDoc

      How the hell is she going to start an IV on herself? Does she have a third hand?

      • Anion

        I wondered that, too, but I was honestly afraid any questions would come out with a “you’re taking an incredibly dangerous and irresponsible risk” sort of tone, because, well, I think she is.

        If she’d been someone I met socially I might have been a little more comfortable asking questions, but she’s a total stranger, you know?

        • PrimaryCareDoc

          I know. Of course, why does a total stranger feel the need to blather on about her birth plans?

          • Chi

            Because the more you brag about it the more crunchy cred you get?

      • Dr Kitty

        I’ve taken my own blood, and reckon I could start an IV in my foot, but not one handed in my non dominant arm…

        • PrimaryCareDoc

          I couldn’t even SEE my feet at the end of my pregnancy, let alone start an IV in one.

          • Anion

            I’ve updated. All seems to be well (I have no details, only a note on the door of the shop) and a baby girl was born. Very relieved.

    • namaste863

      Oh, what an idiot

    • LizzieSt

      Dear God. Medical professionals are not supposed to be their own patients. That’s rule #1! Here’s hoping that this doesn’t end in disaster (and that someone will get her to a hospital in time, if need be).

      • sdsures

        Isn’t that like lawyers aren’t supposed to defend themselves?

        • LizzieSt

          Exactly.

          • Anion

            Update above. All seems to be well. Thank goodness!

    • sdsures

      This is gonna come back to bite her in the tukhus, I can feel it. (Happy Hanukkah, to all those who celebrate it, BTW!)

      • Anion

        God, I really hope not. I’m going back there tomorrow, let’s hope for good news.

      • Anion

        Well, I finally have an update. The shop’s been closed for a few days, and today there’s a note outside saying she’s delivered a baby girl, and mom & baby are doing fine. I’m very relieved and hoping everything continues to be fine.

  • KarenJJ

    When I was trying to breastfeed my eldest I went out with family and was trying to feed her at a restaurant. In my muddle trying to get my daughter to latch I probably showed my full boob to half of Darling Harbour in Sydney (apologies Darling Harbour).

    I didn’t post a picture of that, nor would I have been happy for anyone to snap a photo of that. Nor any dirty looks I may have gotten (unlikely – Darling Harbour has likely seen plenty of boobs before).

    Watching other mothers confidently and successfully breastfeeding babies in public did not help me feel like a successful, confident breastfeeding mother. I felt like one of those ordinary, flustered, hopeless types.

    • Wren

      Practice and a baby who is willing to help out create that confident, successful breastfeeding thing. I never looked that way with my first I don’t think, but I could walk around a shop or stand on a train breastfeeding my second and people didn’t even notice if they weren’t really looking,

      • Busbus

        I agree, it depends on so many things, but experience is just one piece of the puzzle. After a difficult start, I eventually figured it out with my first child and breastfed in public quite a lot, but with my second, there were all sorts of problems with nursing, and I never got to a stage where I felt comfortable breastfeeding in public (or really anywhere, but in public it was worst—me red-faced and wanting to disappear, my baby struggling loudly and constantly pulling off, and it all inevitably becoming this huge spectacle, or so it felt to me). You would have thought that having done it once before would make it easier, but it didn’t. I was also absolutely unable to retain any amount of decorum whatsoever—it’s very hard not to flash people when your baby is screaming and pulling on your shirt and occasionally tries to hurl themselves from your lap with no warning. All my “experience” made no difference whatsoever (nor did the LC’s or any of the other resources I tried). When we started bottle-feeding and I didn’t have to worry about nursing in public any longer, it was a huge relief.

        That’s why, when it comes to breastfeeding, I just don’t judge. I don’t judge those who flash the whole restaurant (be it on accident or because they decided not to care—I get that, too), and I don’t judge those who’d rather not do it at all, whatever the reason. I also think it’s fine to post breastfeeding photos if that’s what you want to do, just don’t post sanctimonious crap to go along with them. It’s hard enough to have a baby and navigate all this stuff without everyone thinking they get to have an opinion on the minutiae of what you’re doing. That goes for the people sitting at the next table in the restaurant just as much as for radical lactivists posting crap online.

    • sdsures

      If I am able to BF, I will feed the kid whenever it needs it, wherever we are…but in public if possible, I’d use formula or expressed milk in a bottle. I’ve had enough strangers (doctors*) looking at my boobs to still feel uncomfortable.

      * I have a benign mass (fibroadenoma) in one breast, and a suspected second benign mass in the other. Biopsies and ultrasounds years ago have reassurred us that everything is OK, but I still do monthly exams.

  • Puffin

    Why why WHY would she do that to her shirt?! Pulling the neck down like that just ruins it. It’ll tear the stitching around the neck and stretch the material all to hell. The only reason I can think to do that would be to show off as much as possible. When I breastfed in public, which I did regularly over the course of the four years I nursed my kids, I pulled UP my shirt so as to not damage it. But then, that doesn’t show much boob and I never once had a single person make a nasty comment that I could go cry to social media about.

    • Wren

      Agreed. Well, I had a few tops that pulled down well, but the vast majority was pulling up.
      Most of the nursing mums I’ve known over the last say 10 years go for an option like a nursing tank under another top when out, so you pull the top up, drop the cup on the tank and the belly stays covered too.

      • Anion

        I wore a lot of button-up shirts.

        I never actually had to breastfeed in public (once I went and sat in the car with her, because we were walking around a store and it wouldn’t have been convenient), but if I had, I would have been able to do it without pulling my entire boob out. And I definitely wouldn’t have needed to ostentatiously pull my entire boob out while glaring defiantly around the room, daring anyone to even glance in my direction so I could accuse them of being rude and “shaming” me.

        • Azuran

          It feels like there’s just no way to win with them.
          If you look at her boobs, you are judging them. (and let’s be honest, your eyes will be drawn to it for at least a second, we are human)
          If you try to avoid looking at her boobs, you are judging them.

        • Wren

          When I had my babies I lived in London and didn’t drive. Not ever nursing in public would have basically meant not leaving the house. I did it frequently, but managed to avoid pulling my entire boob out and defiantly glaring around.

          • Anion

            Yeah, I was lucky in that I only had to go out a couple of times a week (aside from picking up our older daughter at preschool), and that my little muffin didn’t have any “nipple confusion,” so when we did go out I could pump beforehand and bring the bottle with us. (I kept a couple of bottles in the freezer, too; holding the bottle between my thighs would thaw/warm the milk enough for her to accept it in the time it took to get from our house to the SuperTarget where we did most of our shopping. It stopped being a long enough thaw-time when she started needing 6 oz. bottles instead of 2-4 oz., but for a couple of months there it was perfect.)

            Sometimes I’d pump in the car, too, on the way to the store (I had the Avent manual pump, which was small and easy to carry/use; Avent were the bottles little muffin preferred). As before, I cannot imagine now how I managed to do it without pulling out my entire boob and glaring at everyone in every other car on the road–perhaps while arching my back and leaning toward the window to make sure everyone got a good look, because of course it’s no fun to Take A Stand and Be A Rebellious Rebel if no one can see what you’re doing or is paying attention–but I did. Perhaps you and I were doing it all wrong?

            (I was going to make a joke about smushing my boob against the glass and leaking milk all over it to “make a statement,” but I don’t want to give them any ideas. I can just see the next HuffPo headline: FOR GOOD MOTHERS, THE CHOICE TO BREASTFEED IS CLEAR AS GLASS or BREASTS UNDER GLASS, THE RIGHT THING TO SERVE YOUR BABY or even MOTHERS TAKE A STAND AGAINST SHAMING WITH BRAVE RUSH HOUR MILK-ART DISPLAY.) (I know I can come up with better parody headlines than that, sorry, my Clever switch is sticking today.)

            Little muffin turns eleven tomorrow. Ack!

      • tariqata

        Mileage may vary. I find it a lot easier to pull down my shirt than to lift my top to nurse (it always seems to slip down and get in the way). I do try to have a cardigan or a scarf to limit exposure, though, not least because it’s getting a bit cold to have my boob hanging out.

      • SporkParade

        I mostly bought maternity clothes that were designed to also be used for breastfeeding. They were all designed for the neckline to be pulled down and sideways.

        • Wren

          Really? I’m not doubting you, but surprised. Most of what I had had convenient slits at the right point, or I used the double layer technique.

          • SporkParade

            Huh. Mine mostly had cowl necks or crossing fabric, so they could open from the top while still being pretty discreet.

          • Chant de la Mer

            There are a ton that are meant to be pulled down but I never used them. That picture is the exact reason I preferred to pull my shirts up, I prefer to not fully expose my breast when feeding the baby.

      • Anonymous

        I didn’t have money for formal nursing tops, and my son didn’t breastfeed well (and we supplemented). Due to difficulty, I rarely breastfed out of the home, and maybe only a couple of times in public (versus at friends’ houses).

        All that said, the tops *I* found the easiest to navigate where baggy v-necks where you popped the breast out. OMG… I hated the lift-the-shirt-up kind. My belly got cold. Not to mention that I’d rather expose a little breast than a nasty post-baby stomach. But mostly it was that my belly got cold and it was hard to get a good look at the latch with all the fabric bunched up above the baby.

        • Wren

          That’s the reason I mostly went for the ones where you didn’t pull the top down or have to lift the whole thing. Mine were sort of overlapping at boob level so you could lift just that panel but the lower part still covered the belly.

    • sdsures

      That’s what I wondered – why not pull the bottom of the shirt up, or wear a looser shirt that wouldn’t get damaged either way?

  • DrSelina

    BlackWomenDOBreastfeed is a facebook page and blog that frequently asks Black and Brown mamas to post pics of them breastfeeding to the page to help normalize and destigmatize breastfeeding in the Black and Brown community. SO many young sisters have seen these pics and been encouraged to TRY to breastfeed, and have gone back for support and encouragement. There are several hundred women on that page. So no, brelfies are not just for privileged white women.

    • nomofear

      Arguably, those serve a different societal purpose? Though the same pitfalls exist, as far as overselling benefits and underselling difficulties.

    • Sarah

      I don’t think anyone was suggesting brelfies are never taken by non-white women, rather that there’s a reason so many of the images associated with lactivism are of white women with ‘acceptable’ body types. This particular lactivist clearly intends that her image educate and influence, but doesn’t appear to have addressed the implication of using her image rather than that of a breastfeeding woman who is black, or fat, or a very young or very old mother, or all of those things.

  • Jhon Murdock

    Ashley Kaidel, 24, was eating in a Plant City restaurant last week when she started breast feeding her 6-month-old son. She got some vicious, dirty looks from another patron and had a stare down that was captured by her brother on his cell phone. After posting it on Facebook, it went viral and has been seen over 400,000 times.
    See her interview here:
    http://video.tampabay.com/Breast-feeding-mom-speaks-out-30027285?playlistId=11886

    • Who?

      Oh no, dirty looks, the horror!

      • Rachele Willoughby

        Seriously, it’s not like she was asked to leave. No one even said anything (according to her own story). Maybe the (possibly imaginary) glaring stranger disapproved of people using smart phones in restaurants. Maybe they were talking too loudly. Honestly, it’s just as likely that Ashley is projecting as anyone here.

      • Kelly

        She needs to get over it. I have three young kids now. I am sure my actions in public are not always the best but I have never seen a dirty look because I don’t look around to find out what people are thinking or saying. I swear some people look for trouble and she seems to be one of them.

      • Grace Adieu

        The first dirty look of many, as she’ll discover when her baby grows up a bit and she’s taking a toddler to restaurants.

        • Megan

          …or to Target, or the grocery store, or the mall… Toddlers don’t much care where you are when it comes to making their wishes known!

    • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

      Sorry, but Ashley’s righteous indignation and assumptions that someone is opposed and offended by her breastfeeding is ridiculous! People are staring because her whole, entire breast is exposed and she is grandstanding or better yet trying to incite this type of situation to garner attention. Nobody cares that she was breastfeeding in public! People were looking because she is doing it in such an undignified and disrespectful (to herself) way. Ashley obviously has low self-esteem and was looking for attention that day, because any woman who nurses would not go into a crowded restaurant, as well as in front of her brother and pull out her entire breast for the public at large to gawk. She exposed her entire breast and nipple, latched her baby on and made no attempt at discretion or respect for the other people around her. Shame on Ashley for making such silly assumptions that people were offended by her breastfeeding her son and shame on the news station for giving this narcissist a platform to grandstand from!

      • Jhon Murdock

        Nothing of what you say is substantiated by the photo or by her interview video. Everything you say is but the projection of your own negative belief system and exaggerated, predetermined attitude. Sit down, take a deep breath and ask yourself where did you get so much venom. You certainly weren’t born with it. Shame on the people who instilled it in you.

        • Gatita

          Her story isn’t substantiated by the photo either. No one in the background is looking at her. If someone was giving her a dirty look the brother failed to get it on camera.

          • Jhon Murdock

            Let’s suppose the brother turned his camera on the person with the dirty looks. What do you think that person would do? What would that photo show? Just another restaurant patron with a big smile face on. Or angry at being photographed. Or whatever.
            Ashley remains creditable and your self contradicting, shyster rebuttal fails.

          • Gatita

            How about framing the photo so both the mother and the angry person are in the shot? Or shooting video so you can do a pan from mom to the person throwing dirty looks? The existing photo proves nothing one way or the other.

          • Jhon Murdock

            The photo was taken spontaneously to record the moment, not to prove anything. It’s not a crime scene photo to convict a perpetrator. You seem determined to somehow prove that there was no dirty looker who was inflicting her disapproving facial expressions on Ashley and her hungry breast feeding baby.
            Again, what would the angry disapproving person do? And what would it matter if a phone camera or a video camera were used to to record their unacceptable behavior? They would just turn their head away or change to neutral looks etc.
            In the extremely rare case, as might happen if the dirty looker were to persist and let their offensive behavior be recorded, what would you say then? That the offender was a stooge, an actor playing a role? That it was all a set up just to prove Ashley’s point?
            You’ve got to start getting real. If not: nunca vas a llegar a ser gatona.

          • Gatita

            This is your description of the photo: “She got some vicious, Tuteur style, dirty looks from another patron and had a stare down that was captured by her brother on his cell phone.” And again I say that it wasn’t captured by her brother on his cell phone. Maybe someone was giving her a dirty look but nothing in the photo proves it. You’re simply taking her word for it. I’m less inclined to take her word for it given her anti-vax stance, which doesn’t give me much confidence in her credibility. But there isn’t any smoking gun to prove it one way or another.

          • sdsures

            I noticed that! Hmmm.

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      Tuteur style dirty looks? Oh my.

    • momofone

      It might behoove Ashley, as a parent, to become accustomed to making and acting upon decisions regarding her child/ren without needing the support of her perceived audience.

      • Jhon Murdock

        Ashley made her decision(s) taking into account all of the pertinant variables and the enormous support she received followed gratuitously.
        If you have evidence or proof to the contrary then you should make it known by presenting it here. Otherwise your innuendo attack falls flat fast.

        • momofone

          To be honest, I’m not quite sure what you mean, and there is no “innuendo attack,” whatever that is. What I’m saying is that being a parent means making decisions. Sometimes other people applaud those decisions, and sometimes they don’t. (Frequently they don’t care either way, which I suspect is what actually bothered Ashley, but I have no investment there.) If her perception of other people’s judgment is that disturbing to her, she may want to adjust her expectations, and quickly, because she’s setting herself up to be upset over lots of things. If she needs to feed her baby, she can and should do so, but if she needs applause for doing so in a particular way, she’s setting herself up for disappointment.

          • Jhon Murdock

            You want to accuse but you don’t want to be accused of accusing. That’s the beauty of your wiggle word ‘might’ as in “It MIGHT behoove Ashley, as a parent, to become accustomed to making and acting upon decisions regarding her child/ren without needing adulation from her audience.”

            But where is your proof that Ashley needs any adulation whatsoever from anyone, let alone from some audience that belongs to her?

            Guess what: you don’t have to produce any evidence or proof of what you say which is pure speculation based on your use of the word ‘might’. But you have managed to paint her in a negative way, convict her w/o proof of needing to put ‘her audience’s adulation’ in between her and her children as a matter of custom.

            Your rhetoric is a text book model of an unsubstantiated, indirect derogatory intimation about another person. Pure innuendo.

            The reader’s attention is drawn to your use of the phrase “To be honest…” and recall that this is not a phrase that honest people use. Honest people just tell you where they stand. An honest person would not say there was no innuendo attack if they honestly didn’t know what an innuendo attack was. How could they?

            Your motherly care and concern for Ashley’s possible life disappointments are nothing short of ludicrous.

          • momofone

            I definitely see ludicrous, and it isn’t even from Ashley. Thanks for playing.

          • Jhon Murdock

            Finally you come to the self perception that was so painfully lacking. Now just keep your feet planted in the real world. You’re most welcome!

  • Amazed

    When I was visiting Miss Impatience, I took many picture of hers. In some of them, she nursed. Her mom was all, what a cutie you are, Missy, or how nice to talk about adult thing, Amazed, or how delicious this stuff is (we were having a small meal as Miss Impatience took hers). You know what she didn’t look like? Making a statement. She was simply feeding her child. Breast was a good deal revealed but you wouldn’t see it first since you’d see a mother enjoying her baby or her day. And when you do see it, you’ll see a mother feeding her child. Not someone exposing her breast for a better view and looking around for someone to start a fight with to make a statement.

    • sdsures

      “Not someone exposing her breast for a better view and looking around for someone to start a fight with to make a statement.”

      That is the crux of the entire post. Well done!

  • jhr

    “Limited” was the polite term that I was taught to use when referring to someone who had no sense of how absurd they appeared to others when they bragged about a commonplace skill or experience. Facial expressions also needed to indicate pity edging towards contempt…

    • AirPlant

      Hey, just this morning I got up, showered, AND brushed my teeth. My husband had to feed the cats but really when I am accomplishing so much he needs to chip in.

  • Amazed

    Poor woman. Her expression is basically shouting, Look at me, look at me, look at me in a hostile way but no one in the photo seems to register the bare breast.

    Perhaps that’s better. Perhaps this way, she’ll be able to better bond, make eye contact, snuggle and all those cutesies that are breastfeeing wonders and are clearly out of reach for FF mothers.

    For God’s sake, just feed the child which is, I presume, the purpose of baring the breast at all. Accept that no one around seems to care how you do it. Don’t look for a fight so you could be a lactwarrior.

  • Who?

    Those beads look really heavy, something like that anywhere near my lactating bosoms, which at times
    reached my collar bones, would have been very uncomfortable.

    • Mishimoo

      Oh goodness, mine just twinged in sympathy/remembrance. So glad I’m not doing that any more.

  • AllieFoyle

    It just isn’t that important. She’s feeding her baby, like billions of other mothers all over the world. I don’t find the photo offensive or provocative or subversive or anything really. Feed your baby however you like, but please don’t confuse doing so with a politically or socially meaningful action.

    • Azuran

      The thing about this picture is that she absolutely did it to be provocative and get attention. She’s not just feeding her baby, she clearly intended to be provocative in order to have reactions from people (which I’m not entirely sure she had, no one in the picture is actually paying attention to her), to take a picture of herself pretending to defend breastfeeding so she can write an article about it.

      • SarahSD

        All of that is true, but none of it is transparently obvious in the picture itself.

        • Monkey Professor for a Head

          The only thing from the picture itself that makes me think that she’s trying to get attention is the way she’s twisted her body around as if to show off what she’s doing. But I’m seeing that after reading her comments which may be colouring my interpretation.

          • AllieFoyle

            The photo itself is completely unremarkable to me. Posting it on social media with all the self-important commentary is what pushes it over the line. Why try to elevate the importance of something so simple, common, and personal? Breastfeeding is fine — good even — but it isn’t revolutionary or rare or anything. Maybe a few people were mildly offended or titillated or startled at the sight of a bare breast, but I doubt that anyone cares as much as her actions seem to indicate she thinks they do.

  • LizzieSt

    *microwaves popcorn*
    *unfolds folding chair*
    *watches the “cover your boobs” and “I have a right to flop them around wherever I want, thankyouverymuch” factions duke it out*

    • Chi

      *sits next to*
      *pulls out bottle of formula to feed kid*
      *helps self to your popcorn*

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Can I join? I’ll bring chips!

      • LizzieSt

        Please do!

      • Joy

        Tesco in the UK is selling Prosecco and Elderberry crisps (chips). I would bring some of those, but I have eaten two bags already.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Weird chip flavors, from this American point of view, seem to be a “thing” in the UK. Some of them sound potentially awesome, and some, I must admit, make me gag just thinking about them. I was watching an episode of “Pie in the Sky” once; at one point, Richard Griffiths passes his wife a bag of what he calls, in the most disgusted Richard Griffiths tones possible, “prawn…cocktail…flavored.” Yep, gag moment. On the other hand, prosecco has a sort of odd possibility to it…

          • Joy

            They are are a UK thing. Things go even nuttier at Christmas. The Aldi Gin and Tonic ones weren’t very good. The prosecco ones are a little fizzy even. But no to prawn cocktail, although that is a “regular” flavour.

          • Nick Sanders
          • Roadstergal

            OT, but on the subject of Strange Flavors – while shopping the other day, I came across what I now consider Peak America.

          • Who?

            I love how beer n cheese isn’t enough-they need beef & bacon to round them out!!

            If they had some tomato that would be a whole meal in there.

          • AllieFoyle

            Chunky Soup is always right on point, isn’t it?

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            That pretty much sums up ‘Mericuh! right there! TBH, DH is not at all a fan of soups, but if I showed him that picture, he’d probably request a case the next time I went grocery shopping.

          • araikwao

            Huh? It has beef and bacon, but what are the white chunks? That is…very odd!(from the country that is making Vegemite-caramel chocolate. Pot, meet kettle.)

          • Angharad

            I think it’s potatoes. Does vegemite go with sweet? I’ve tried it and it was definitely not something I would associate with chocolate or caramel.

          • araikwao

            I think it is meant to be a kind of riff on salted caramel, but it tastes wrong to me. My 6yo daughter likes it, strangely enough!

          • araikwao

            I think it’s meant to be a riff on salted caramel, but it just tastes wrong to me! My 6yo daughter likes it, strangely enough.

          • Nick Sanders

            Potatoes. We sadly have a can of that stuff in our pantry, unless someone has eaten it. (Buying it was not my idea…)

          • Bombshellrisa

            Haven’t you seen the new chips from Lay’s? Southern biscuits and sausage gravy flavored, Pastrami Reuben? We saw them yesterday and I don’t think I will be them, but they were flavors voted on so someone wanted them.

          • Roadstergal

            Oh lol, I saw those on a roadtrip over labor day and had to take a pic…

          • Bombshellrisa

            I wonder what they taste like? I love biscuits and gravy but I don’t want to pay for chips that aren’t on sale that I don’t like (I learned from the Doritos mystery flavor mistake never to do that again. The mystery flavor turned to be cheeseburger).

          • AllieFoyle

            That’s a hard lesson to have to learn.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Especially when you are pregnant. I ate one chip, felt violently nauseated and threw the bag away.

          • AllieFoyle

            Dislike.

          • demodocus

            tell me about it. Just reading this part of the thread. ugh…

          • Nick Sanders

            Well, this southerner thinks they really do have a sausage gravy taste. It’s actually pretty good.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Good to know, my favorite breakfast by far is biscuits with gravy.

          • Megan

            I saw those and thought they sounded gross but I’m sure there are others who think it sounds good.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            …Somehow, I missed that. Probably a good thing. Blech!

          • Ann

            Husband said the Gyro flavored ones were decent. I thought the biscuit ones left an aftertaste.

          • Nick Sanders

            I’ve tried all 4, they’re all decent, but the biscuits and gravy have won the contest, so they’re the only ones that will be sticking around. The rueben ones were pretty good, you could really taste all the flavors of a reuben, from the pastrami to the kraut. The gyro ones had a bit of tzatziki flavor, and a little bit of meat seasoning, but weren’t super impressive. The truffle fries were decent, you could definitely tatse the parmesan and herbs, but not really the truffles, and the fact that they were wavy chips rather than regular really overpowered a lot of the seasoning.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Now I am interested in trying the Reuben one and having a Celray with it. For my Canter’s experience without having to go to LA.

          • Sarah

            Prawn cocktail is a pretty mainstream flavour here. I think it’s disgusting, but evidently lots of people disagree with me. You’ll find them in most pubs and supermarkets.

          • AllieFoyle

            I’m kind of intrigued by the prawn cocktail flavor. Although I’d probably just rather have prawns and cocktail sauce.

          • Amy M

            It’s becoming a thing here, at least in MA. I’ve tasted chips that had dill pickle (yum), wasabi ginger, tomato basil, bacon cheddar, truffle parmesan and various other flavors.

    • demodocus

      oooh, popcorn…

    • Charybdis

      *hauls out CrockPot full of Ro-Tel dip*
      *hauls out second CrockPot full of Little Smokies in BBQ sauce*
      *Opens tortilla chips*
      *sets down cooler full of frosty beverages*
      May I join the party?

      • LizzieSt

        As long as you share the snacks.

        • Charybdis

          *proffers snacks* Help yourself! I brought plenty.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        I like the way you think! I’ll bring the spinach-artichoke dip and pigs in blankets! 😀
        (Of all the insane cravings this pregnancy, beer and wine have got to top the list. One more week and I’m done with the first trimester, and then an occasional beer or glass of wine are back on the “okay” list per my OB. Hurrah!)

        • Who?

          What is a pig in a blanket?

          • Ann

            Cocktail weiners wrapped in either biscuit or croissant dough and baked. My kids loved them for dinner with hot dogs, though.
            And when I breast fed back in the dark ages, I always threw a sweater over which ever side I was using, since Ms Social Butterfly wanted to pay attention to what was going on around her and not drink. The slug child on the other hand, was no problem. Ate, Slept, Pooped, woke up and did it all over.

          • Who?

            Tasty, I’d eat those.

          • nomofear

            I have one of those now! If she’s super hungry, she’ll nurse in the van, but not well. Ideally, we’re at home, in her room, lights low, door closed, NPR on for white noise, older sister and dad warned to tiptoe past, or she’ll turn her head toward any noise – without releasing my boob first. I’ve tried nursing in fitting rooms, and even that is too much for her. I can’t imagine trying to pop it out in a restaurant. Thank god she’s been reaching for our food as soon as she could sit, and I’ve been giving it to her. I guess that makes me a breastfeeding fail, anyway.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Oh, so processed. Oh, so hits the spot sometimes.
            Take one cocktail wiener–Little Smokies, or the like. Take one Pillsbury crescent roll triangle, and cut it lengthwise into thirds. Wrap the wiener (…this sounds so wrong…) in the strip of dough, rolling up the dough on the wiener spindle (…still sounding SO WRONG) as you go. Set on foil-covered pan, and continue until you’re out of wieners and dough. (Some things write themselves.) Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Inhale while watching sportsball with friends, or just on your own. Warning: if you make this around college-aged males, make at least a triple batch if you want to actually eat any. (Ask me how I know.)

    • namaste863

      I’ll bring the margaritas.

      • demodocus

        got a virgin one? I’m off alcohol for the next 6 months.

      • LizzieSt

        Hooray! On the rocks with salt for me, please.

  • SarahSD

    Looking at her when she says “look at me” is fanning the flames. Just like when my kid acts out to get attention, it’s usually more effective to ignore her. If your argument is that she’s doing this to incite the “mommy wars”, I think you’re just helping her entrench the same competitive, judgmental antagonism with this kind of response. I’m all for criticizing the argument, the framing, and the phenomenon of these kinds of memes. But mocking the image itself as inherently sanctimonious is a stretch, and feeds into the false idea that there exist two sides, pro and anti-breastfeeding.

  • demodocus

    Meh. I have a friend with a kid just a couple months younger than mine. Kid freaked out if she tried to nurse him partially covered. Just. would. not. tolerate. fabric near his face. On the other hand, she never posted brelfies on FB, either. I certainly wouldn’t, but then I’m more than a smidge body shy

    • Wren

      I had that model of baby. Any attempt to cover up led to him exposing me far more, and screaming loud enough to attract plenty of attention while doing it.

    • Mishimoo

      I think I took two or so. Sent one to a friend to show that you can’t see much when bub is latched on properly and is feeding well. The other was because I wanted proof that my newborn liked to flip everyone off while feeding (all 3 did it)

  • Valerie

    Copying some quotes here that she posted with the picture-

    “Again, breasts were made to sustain your baby’s life before they were made to bring pleasure to any other man, woman, partner or spouse. Their sole purpose is to make food and dispense it straight into a baby’s mouth. There is nothing weird about this and there’s no difference in me feeding my baby with my breast than you feeding yourself with a spoon.”

    “Lastly, your children need to see breastfeeding for the same reason you do. They need to acknowledge, comprehend and appreciate that breast milk and breast feeding is and should forever be the first and best choice for both mom and baby. Formula and bottles are a trend. Breastfeeding is not. Your 11 year old daughter watching me nurse may say “Mom, why is that baby sucking her boobie?” But as a parent and human being that understands, respects and appreciates anatomy and mothers, your reply should only and always be “because that’s the way babies eat.” Hopefully it encourages your daughter to grow up with the goal to breast feed and experience the incredible bond and invaluable benefits it comes with.”

    I think it’s pretty clear here that she’s breastfeeding uncovered in public in part because she wants everybody to watch. She doesn’t want people to ignore her and go about their own business.

    I wish the public breastfeeding advocates would separate the justification and explanation for doing it in public (it’s our right, it’s sometimes the only option we have if we want to leave the house, it’s not sexual or intimate to us, etc) from the lactivist rhetoric that gets jammed in there (it’s natural, what breasts are “meant” to do, best way to feed a baby, beautiful, feel a connection, bonding, etc). These points are really irrelevant- you don’t need to convince somebody that breast is best to assert the right to participate in society while a baby has to eat frequently. I do think that sometimes it is inconsiderate to whip out a boob- eg, in front of your father, in the middle of a conversation, without so much of a “I need to feed the baby now, you can stay or go, whatever you are comfortable with.” But strangers? Just look away.

    • Sarah

      I’m glad you posted her words. Those are what we should be criticising her for, not the amount of breast she’s showing.

      • SarahSD

        Or her facial expression, I would argue. Sure, together the picture and the words are damn annoying. But on it’s face, I don’t see anything wrong with the photo, and I find the edits to the image immature and also an interpretive stretch.

    • Roadstergal

      Oh, such a confused woman! She thinks we evolved to bear and feed children. The thing is, having run several marathons, I have discovered that our bodies were made for running marathons. Just think about it – we’re not the fastest animals, and our survival was entirely due to our ability to chase down prey over long distances until they tired, then kill and eat at our leisure. Everyone can do it, it’s what we were made for! And no wonder we have such trouble with birth and breastfeeding. Our narrow running hips weren’t meant to dispense babies, and our running-happy fibrotic breasts weren’t meant to secrete enough milk to be the sole source of sustenance for a baby. Yes, you do get a woman here and there who can birth and breastfeed easily, but they’re the evolutionary exceptions. We wouldn’t be here as a species if we couldn’t run down prey!

      I love playing with evolutionary arguments.

      • Valerie

        More or less, everything I’ve ever read about the True reason for some organ or another is a “just-so story.” It assumes a purposefulness and evolutionary driving force behind every feature, and that we are perfectly fit to an assumed environment. The truthiest story they can imagine, supported by pretty limited data, must be true. Nonsense. It’s also like trying to ask if mouths are really for eating, talking, kissing, or playing a wind instrument. Why should we care which came first? The owner of the mouth get’s to decide how to use it. Same with the owner of the boobs.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      breasts were made to sustain your baby’s life before they were made to bring pleasure to any other man, woman, partner or spouse.

      Their sole purpose is to make food and dispense it straight into a baby’s mouth.

      Notice that these two comments do not follow. Even if we accept the first, that does not imply the second.

      • Amy M

        She’s also got the timing backwards: most women use their breasts sexually for pleasure BEFORE they can sustain a baby’s life.

      • Roadstergal

        And she’s completely taken out the fact that breasts bring a lot of pleasure to a fair number of the women they’re attached to.

        • Sarah

          Yes, I noticed the mention of pleasure to their owner was conspicuous by it’s absence.

          And of course she’s conflating ‘breasts’ with ‘nipples and milk ducts’. You need the latter to lactate, but you don’t need the former which is why our flat chested primate cousins can do it. And why plenty of human women with no breast tissue to speak of could bf a whole nursery if they so wished. I don’t necessarily buy the argument that we developed breast tissue for sexual or ornamental purposes, but we definitely don’t require it for lactation.

          • Megan

            Perhaps the opposite happened to my breasts. They’re big but don’t do much. They evolved just for sex, not to actually feed a baby. Maybe I’m a new subspecies. 😉

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          But that’s not what they’re there for! They’re for FEEDING BABIES, and only the DIRTY MENZ have made them sexualized! It’s totes not possible for a woman to actually enjoy sexual activity, much less with the organs that are SUPPOSED to be feeding babies! /sarcasm, to state the obvious
          It’s a bit like the argument that if your husband doesn’t like cosleeping with a toddler in part because it effects his sex life negatively (ya think?!), then there’s something wrong with him. The possibility that it isn’t, in fact, a bad thing that maybe he’d like to be able to roll over and make an unfit-for-young-ears suggestion to his wife from time to time isn’t even considered. Nor is the possibility that maybe (gasp!) the wife might enjoy that, too even mentioned–it’s assumed that she’s a Good Mom, and as we all know, Good Moms don’t prioritize sex. *rolls eyes*

          • Amazed

            And yet breasts full of nutritional purpose sag and wrinkle just like the useless breast of women like me who don’t have children yet…

            My breasts, although they used to be pretty big, are kind of test to me: men love them, they aren’t one my special zones. When someone manages to turn them into one, I know we’ll be a great fit, sexually, for a long time.

            At least I thought I knew… Now I know I’m a Real Wombyn. Saving my breasts for their True Purpose.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I’m so glad you’ve seen the light! /major sarcasm alert
            Insofar as aging…might I recommend spending extra cash on really awesome bras, if it’s not too forward of me? Since DD, I didn’t have any bras that fit properly–they were old and misshapen, and it doesn’t help that my brief attempt at breastfeeding left one breast a bit larger than the other. I finally bit the bullet yesterday and went to a high-end department store to be properly fitted. Spend an ungodly amount of money on all of two bras, but I can tell already that they’re going to be lifechanging. Sooooo comfortable. Make me look better. Don’t show through clothes. Etc. Worth every penny! Pre-DD, I really liked the way they looked; I hadn’t felt that way since she was born until yesterday/today. Sadly, won’t do much for stretch marks, but nothing’s perfect. 😉

          • Amazed

            Oh, your advice is great! I’ll certainly follow it when the time comes. But no, when I talk about my late bosom, I mean that when I lost weight, breasts were the first thing to go away. There MUST be a treaty with Old Nick that I can sign to avoid it but I can’t seem to find it. For now, what’s left of my bosom still looks in great shape, it’s just that there isn’t much of it left…

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I really do feel your pain. Every time I lose weight, it goes from there first. WHY?! It could leave my hips, my stomach, thighs…I’d be cool with any of those places! Why, oh why must fate pull from there first instead?! Discouraging, to say the least. If you find that treaty, do forward me a copy.
            For the record, I’m in my late 20s, so not exactly at the tennis-ball-in-a-sock stage. 😉 Aside from the mis-matched size, which isn’t too significant (DD, you’re still very lucky indeed that you’re cute), they don’t look terribly different per se from before DD…they just did when in old or cheap bras!

          • Amazed

            You have that copy as soon as I find it!

            Funny, now I remember the Toe Test. I haven’t thought about it in years. When we were about 12 or there and just started growing breasts, we’d press ourselves against the wall, from head to toe, and try to see our toes without moving any other muscle but the eye ones. Woe the poor soul who could see her toes! That meant she didn’t have any breast to talk about.

            Even at this tender age, we were deluded that breasts made us more attractive – when there weren’t even any dirty BOYZ to demean us this way and distract us from breasts primary function. Then, it might have been a good thing, at age 12…

          • demodocus

            Mom lost weight in her boobs last, which when you’re a DDDD with back problems, can be considered a problem

          • Zornorph

            I know I’m a perv, but at first I thought you were saying your cup size was Double D before I realized you were talking about Dear Daughter.

          • Gatita

            I’m not a perv and what I thought was she became a Double D after nursing and preferred a smaller cup size.

          • Kelly

            Good fitting bras are one of the main things that make me feel pretty. Without a good fitting bra, I feel frumpy and lumpy.

          • Busbus

            When I was pregnant with my first daughter and very new to all of this, I remember vaguely that I posted a question once on one of the AP boards about how (or whether) they manage to co-sleep but still cuddle with their partner at night. As far as I remember, I didn’t receive a lot of responses, and non actually addressed my question… I definitely got the impression that that’s not one of the things that you’re supposed to ask, or worry about.

    • LisaL

      Oh… I love that she assumes every woman’s breasts are magical milk sacs that WILL provide just what the baby needs and baby WILL latch perfectly and it’s all perfect and wonderful and BOOBS! Sigh… really wish these sanctimonious a-holes would get off the internet and go eat more organic kale or whatever the F they do.

    • Sarah

      We have evidence of the Ancient Egyptians using bottles to feed infants. Myself, I’d say something that’s been practiced for approaching half the lifetime of human civilisation has gone past the merely trendy.

      • Kesiana

        Neat!

        Though, I really hope they knew to CLEAN those bottles, unlike people in the Victorian era… the “newly developed” baby bottle had tubing and nipples made of porous rubber, and new mothers were advised that they “needn’t wash the teat for the two or three
        weeks it lasted”…

        • tariqata

          I’m no expert, but recently read an in-depth discussion of ancient baby-feeding vessels in “Baby Meets World” (which was an excellent book for any new parent!). Unfortunately, it seems as though bottles and other strategies for feeding babies have been around for a very long time, but adequate cleaning methods are a much more recent development.

    • AllieFoyle

      I’m pretty sure that my daughter has never felt inspired to “grow up with the goal to breast feed and experience the incredible benefits that come with it” by seeing random women breastfeeding in restaurants, malls, or waiting rooms. Nor is that a particular goal I have for her myself. Why that lady thinks it’s her business to convert other people’s children to breastfeeding devotion is beyond me. It would almost be offensive it weren’t completely laughable.

      • Valerie

        I think it is offensive. She’s saying that if you don’t teach your daughters the right way to use their future breasts (in public, uncovered) and feed your hypothetical grandchildren, she will. Parents have the right to their own religions/cultures/values that may not support flagrant public breastfeeding. Not everybody (obviously!) believes that breast-at-any-cost is the the only acceptable way to feed babies, and they shouldn’t have to justify bottle-feeding baby brother to their children and strangers. Her intent is to overstep the boundaries of her own rights (to feed her child) into the boundaries of other parents about what they think is age- and culturally-appropriate instruction for their own kids. I think what actually happens is that the majority of parents who don’t want to use a stranger’s public, uncovered breastfeeding as a teaching moment is that they will tell their own children whatever they want- maybe “it’s rude to stare.”

        • Who?

          Everyone with something to sell/evangelise wants a crack at other people’s kids, the believers/users of the future. I don’t think it’s offensive, in particular, just something to be wary of. It’s useful to teach kids to think critically about what’s presented to them.

          And I agree-for most people the lesson here is ‘oh yes, (yawn) that’s how some people feed their babies, it’s nice to let them have some privacy while they do that, so let’s not stare’.

      • PeggySue

        That was never a goal of mine, and I actually saw my mother breastfeed my younger brother. There must be something really wrong with me!

      • Burgundy

        I have my older daughter and God daughter (both were 6 year-old at the time) cricking how I breastfed my younger daughter while I fed the baby. So I kicked them out the room really fast. did that mean I fail them? (sac)

  • Allie P

    “Sanctimonious expression?” I disagree. Dr. T., don’t start shaming women for their RBF. Some people just don’t feel the need to smile at everyone. And this isn’t a selfie. Someone else took this picture. I can’t speak to whether it’s staged, or if she really needed to show as much breast as she is, but I know lots of women who do in fact have to expose their breasts to feed. I don’t have as much breast as she does but the whole thing has to come out for me to feed my kid, and no, she WON’T eat under a cover. I breastfeed in public all the time and no one has ever given me grief for it.

    • PrimaryCareDoc

      You should probably read her FB page before saying she’s not being sanctimonious. I’m actually pretty sure that by definition, anyone that calls themselves “Intactalactavist Mama” is probably sanctimonious.

      https://www.facebook.com/IntactalactivistMama/?fref=nf

    • SarahSD

      I agree that there’s no need to police people’s expressions. The thing is, the problem is not the image itself or even the intent behind taking it, which could go either way (though in this case appears to be entirely judgemental and sanctimonious). It is how these images are framed and reproduced – their action in the world rather than their content. It the framing surrounding the image and its circulation that is sanctimonious. To me, there is nothing inherently bothersome about the image itself. Are the hundreds of artworks depicting Mary breastfeeding Jesus sanctimonious? No. When they are posted on a lactivist webpage glorifying breastfeeding? Context is everything.

  • crazy grad mama

    I’m a little uncomfortable with the tone of “she’s showing too much boob!” that some comments are taking. We don’t need to shame public breastfeeding to agree that this kind of staged photo is ridiculous.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      I agree. Also, there may be a reason that she’s showing more than “necessary”. **Shameful confession** When I was breastfeeding small one she went through a stage where she wouldn’t tolerate anything around her head so I either had to either not take her out for any extended period of time because of the risk of showing too much or…just flop the thing out and let those who would stare stare if she got hungry. I went for option 2. But, while there are pictures of me breastfeeding, they are not, nor will they ever be, on the internet. At least, there had better not ever be.

      • Sarah

        Yeah, she seems like an absolute twat judging from her FB page. It’s not for anyone else to decide how much exposed breast might be necessary for her to comfortably feed her son, though. She might well be an option 2er also. Dr Amy is on much stronger ground interrogating the fact that images like this disproportionately feature women whose bodies are ‘acceptable’ in size, skin colour etc.

        • LaMont

          “Feature” is a strong word. These are *selfies*. If I take a picture of myself or have one taken of me, I can’t exactly make that image a model of diversity, no matter what body/race/age/etc. I’m one person, documenting my own life. If we’re going to wait until society completely ends racism/sexism/ageism/sizeism/homophobia/etc. before allowing people to celebrate or document their lives in any way, we’re basically going to have to stop speaking and writing entirely. This from someone who has taken maybe three selfies, ever, FWIW.

          Now, if there was *media coverage* of this and they chose to say “oh god don’t let any large/non-white/gay/trans people in our breastfeeding coverage” then that would be a huge problem.

          • Sarah

            I think the point is that there’s a reason this particular movement so strongly features certain types of women and body, though. And this point has been made before about various lactivists and lactivist sites: The Alpha Parent, for example, has previous for showing images of breastfeeding mother as skinny Aryan and formula feeding mother as fatter and darker. This isn’t about stopping people documenting their lives, that’s a ludicrous way to describe it. But if you choose to use a particular image to try and normalise something, and you either know or should know that the image is of a person performing an activity that’s disproportionately performed by privileged people in your society, if you don’t bother addressing that it’s on you.

          • LaMont

            Gah my bad – this lactivist movement is ridiculous and hyper-privileged, and I am 100% behind critiquing and ultimately attacking it. I meant to say (good going me) that the precise logical attack proposed can also be applied to individual images/acts as well as the overall movement, which may go too far. However, for Alpha Parent stuff and other places purporting to explain and illustrate the movement as a whole, that sh*t is inexcusable.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Ohhhh yeah. And remember the good vs bad pregnancy nutrition poster? “Good” mom is white, blonde, and skinny, and refusing medications while living on vegetables and kale, while “bad” mom is overweight, Latina, and stuffing her face with donuts or something while taking Prozac injections. Charming, I don’t think.

      • SarahSD

        If you actually don’t care how people feed their babies, this image is “meh”. The fact, and the way, that it was posted as part of an ideological diatribe is worth getting annoyed about. But picking it apart for its details seems to me to misdirect energy against women who nurse in public for a variety of reasons and in a variety of ways (with or without ever taking or posting a picture), which is maybe why people are feeling defensive.

    • Karen in SC

      I NIP’d a lot in my years of breastfeeding and if you lift your shirt from the bottom, it shows less, IMO. Even showing a little more — somehow the scrunched folded top across the chest reads less like a boob show and more like feeding the baby.

      • Roadstergal

        It looks like she’s going to have a red under-tit line from the over-the-top method. Are there babies that seriously do not nurse right if you lift your shirt from the bottom?

        • crazy grad mama

          I wasn’t aware that lifting your shirt from the bottom was the only acceptable way to breastfeed.

          • Roadstergal

            I didn’t say it was. I asked a question.

          • crazy grad mama

            Your question is posed to indicate that you think lifting the shirt from the bottom is what we *should* do and all other methods are only OK if that doesn’t work.

          • Roadstergal

            Are you just looking to pick a fight? Don’t put what you read in my mouth, I’m not putting anything in yours.

          • crazy grad mama

            If I’ve misinterpreted you, then I apologize for the testiness. There seems to be a whole lot of sanctimony on this topic this morning and it’s making me touchy.

          • Roadstergal

            Let me lay it out…

            I did not know, before reading the commenters here, that there were some babies that pitched a fit if you tried to feed them with a cover. It changed my opinion of women who fed in public without a cover. So I asked another clarifying question about whether another thing – a thing which is NOT REQUISTE and NEVER REQUISTE and I am NOT POLICING BODIES for god’s sake – but a thing I find polite to do, and being polite to me is something women can feel free to give no shits about – is something that’s really not possible for some dyads.

            I would never say anything to a woman nursing in public like this woman is. I can nonetheless find it, not only rude, but going out of her way to be uncomfortable to make a point, with the dataset I have on hand at the moment

          • Bombshellrisa

            Yeah, I EBF my first and she was adamant about no cover. So I just kind of rolled with it. I am sure that I showed a little skin, but I wasn’t trying to call attention to anything. I was just feeding my kid. To the extent I bf my son in public, I was able to cover up a little better because I wore a waterfall cardigan and found that Old Navy makes maternity tank tops that work well for me while nursing.

          • toni

            My son was pretty easy going. he wasn’t mad about being covered with a blanket but he was fine with the top up cami down method for the most part. But even with him I would be exposing a fair amount of skin at first because I live in FL and it’s usually too hot for layers. My uniform is a button down blouse so I would face the wall or put my handbag on the table to block us, at least partially, from view, open it, latch him and once he was comfortable try to position the loose fabric in a way that covered us.

            My daughter will not tolerate anything near her face and she likes to rest her hand on my breast, no fabric is allowed to be in the way haha. Once she’s fallen asleep after 5 minutes or so I’ll drape something over my chest for modesty but not while she’s awake. I mean, I’m sure she would nurse with something over her eventually if she was ravenous but it would be a struggle. I hear enough crying from my toddler TYVM, I’m not going to needlessly aggravate my baby when I’m trying to enjoy my iced chai or w/e. I always request a booth in the corner at restaurants to minimize exposure but I have no control over other people’s wandering eyes.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Oh my goodness yes, a screaming baby is going to attract more attention (wanted or not) to whatever you are trying to do!
            I have no problem with women using a cover, whatever works. My mom nursed my brothers and she never used a cover, just did what you mentioned to minimize exposure. It just never seemed like a big deal to me the way she did it, but that was a long time ago and now so many women feel that along with feeding their babies they have to make a statement too.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            You aren’t kidding. I was once on a forum where a mom got berated by a self-proclaimed lactivist for not feeling comfortable nursing in public, even under a cover. Mom was cool with it, baby was cool with it, which you’d think would be all that matters, but nope. Apparently, by stepping into another room to nurse she was basically perpetuating the cycle of violence against women. “It doesn’t matter that you’re uncomfortable, it matters that you’ll make some other woman feel uncomfortable nursing her baby in public because you aren’t!” Okaaaaay, then…

          • Bombshellrisa

            Oh geez.
            There is a shopping center here that has the most amazing nursing area. Comfy couches and rocking chairs, toys and a kid size table for older children and a changing area. They also have extra large stalls with doors that go all the way to the floor and a sink in each stall (so much easier to go to the bathroom when your toddler can’t crawl out of the stall!). It is easier for me and much more comfortable to be able to go to the bathroom myself, change baby and then relax in a comfy chair to nurse. It might not be where other women choose to nurse and that is cool too.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            That’s awesome! I love it!
            On a much smaller scale, I saw a setup at a local indoor playplace which had a nursing glider inside a fenced-off area with some extra toys, with a screen you could move in front of the glider or not as you wanted. Given that the place had serious restrictions on how nursing-friendly it could be due to architecture, I was quite impressed by this common-sense solution–i.e., toddler can be contained in this area while you nurse the baby in a supportive chair, shielded or not from the eyes of other parents walking past as you preferred.

          • Bombshellrisa

            This is part of the area I am talking about, it is a huge area. It’s cleaned constantly too. My son still loves visiting it even though we are long past the nursing stage, he loves all the toys.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            That is absolutely lovely! Whoever came up with that must be both a very kind person and a very smart person.

          • Bombshellrisa

            It is a good example of what baby friendly should be. Usable and practical to anyone with a baby.

          • Megan

            Wow! That is really nice! Most places around here don’t even have changing tables in the bathrooms let alone a place to nurse! It would be lovely for bottle feeding a distractible baby too!

          • Bombshellrisa

            Whoever thought up the concept thought of everything, one of the counters has a sunken changing table in the counter right next to the sink. So you can change a diaper, throw away the diaper and wash your hands and your baby can’t roll away. There are also those chairs on the backs of the bathroom stall doors that you can strap a baby into, particularly nice if you don’t use a stroller and don’t fancy wearing your baby while you use the toilet. I both breast and bottle fed there and it was just perfect. Free wifi there too, pretty sure I posted on SOB while enjoying a break with my baby.

          • Megan

            Seriously awesome! That’s nicer than my set up at home – I’d move in!

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            Our local shopping centres have similar set ups – the best one has 3 private rooms off the main parents room for breastfeeding. Whilst I don’t have a problem nursing in public, I love having that little extra privacy. Plus since my little monkey is a happy spitter, I can just take my top off completely to feed and reduce the risk of getting covered in vomit while in public.

          • Roadstergal

            Our workplace has mothers’ rooms on every floor – locked, comfortable rooms where women can go for a little privacy to pump and/or nurse during the working day. We are having serious space issues (I’m working in a converted mailroom, and we’re discussing splitting cubes in half to fit more), and nobody has even mentioned touching the mothers’ rooms. That’s far more BF-friendly, IMO, than giving a ‘Good for yooou!’ card to a woman BF in a Starbuck’s.

          • Bombshellrisa

            That is very breast feeding friendly! Wow, I love it.
            ((That is your stomping ground in the pics. UVillage!))

          • That place sounds like heaven.

          • Sarah

            Of course, that’s no more acceptable than expecting a woman to cover herself while feeding because of other people’s views. Both attitudes are equally wrong, two sides of the same cruddy coin.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            And in the long run, just plain silly. I might prefer not to see an entire boob out like that, but then, I don’t have to look, do I? The way I see it is that most nursing moms are just trying to feed their babies. A few are trying to be obnoxious attention-grabbers/professional victims. In either case, not really looking closely is the answer, because in the first, she’s just wanting to feed the kid, not get attention, and in the second, don’t feed the troll. Simple enough, right?

          • Sarah

            Exactly! If you don’t like the way in which a woman’s breast is presented when she breastfeeds, exercise your right to not look. The world would be an infinitely better place if we could all just mind our own business about what other women do with their bodies.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I’d go so far as to say your last sentence could have everything after “business” left off and still be entirely true. I actually once read an interesting, if somewhat tongue-in-cheek, blog post written by a policeman here on the subject–basically, that if people would just mind their own business, he’d have a lot less to do. (Obviously, this doesn’t apply to things like obvious child abuse and such.)

          • AllieFoyle

            Can’t we all just feed our babies however we feel comfortable and get on with things? Why does every decision a woman makes have to be fraught with political significance? It’s ok for things to be personal.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Hear, hear!

          • Megan

            Totally agree!

          • Sarah

            That’s obviously up to you, but I hope you’d also find it rude that someone would object to a woman breastfeeding uncovered in public? I must say, I find the idea that a person has the right not to be exposed to public breastfeeding, and that other people are doing something negative if they don’t want to facilitate that, quite extraordinarily impolite.

          • crazy grad mama

            Got it. Your question was more sincere than I realized—sorry ’bout that—but you do think nursing with minimal cover-up is rude. And that’s an attitude I find highly objectionable.

        • SarahSD

          My baby would nurse either way, but sometimes the clothes I was wearing made it preferable for me to breastfeed over the top of the shirt rather than lifting up. In some clothing/social situations I was more comfortable showing more of my breast rather than more of my tummy. It was also easier to see her with the over shirt method, which mattered more when she was little and we were learning how to latch; that was also when she was nursing all the time, we were still learning the ropes, and I was figuring out what clothes would work better and worse for nursing. Definitely pulled the boob over the shirt to nurse in a carrier.

          • Roadstergal

            Thanks, that’s helpful to know.

      • crazy grad mama

        Well, yeah, there are various ways to show less breast, which work better or worse for different situations. But I don’t think it should be a requirement of NIP that you cover up as much as possible. The decision to cover up more or less should be based on a mom’s own comfort level (with some awareness of the formality of her surroundings and such).

      • SF Mom & Psychologist

        I was very uncomfortable lifting my shirt from the bottom in public because it exposed my flabby, dough-y, white, multi-rolled post-babies tummy. Call me vain or anti-feminist for wanting to hide a (IMO) very unattractive part of my body, but I was and still am uncomfortable having my tummy exposed in public. And I had one baby who hated being under the nursing cover. In the end, I chose what was most comfortable for babies and me. I can’t be responsible for everyone else’s comfort.

        • Megan

          This is the exact reason I did the nursing cami under a shirt. I hated my belly showing. But I hated showing my breasts too. That way I didn’t have to show anything. I’m just really self conscious about all of my body.

  • LaMont

    I feel the same way about public breastfeeding as I do about revealing clothing/leggings/etc. If you’re comfortable being exposed, then freaking go for it, do what’s right for you and get your kid fed – if you’re not comfortable, then be more covered up. Anyone who would actively shame women for their visible bodies when they breastfeed in a generally appropriate place* (and we know those people exist, FFS women get shamed for being visibly pregnant in public) should get a side-eye, but if you’re amped for war when you breastfeed publicly, you’re probably not as comfortable with it as you say you are.

    *I saw a rule of thumb that appealed to me – in theory – about this: If you could reasonably feed your toddler a snack in a certain location, then it’s fair game to breastfeed your baby there. A restaurant, park, coffee shop, sure. A workplace, on television, in a place where your immediate concern isn’t parenting, probably not.

  • Roadstergal

    And it’s not even a selfie – she dragged someone else along to take the picture.

    • Madtowngirl

      It’s 100% staged. I don’t even believe there was this mythical woman shaming her off-camera.

      • PrimaryCareDoc

        I don’t either. Look at the people in the background. They’re completely uninterested.

      • AirPlant

        I just saw a thing on facebook where some lady was crowing about how she had been shamed for the very first time for nursing in public after 14 months and blah blah warrier mama etc. I was just thinking DUDE, you have been doing this for over a year and this is the first time you have heard anything? That sounds pretty good, my hair doesn’t even have that kind of track record.

        • Roadstergal

          If you’re female and have gone a year without anyone saying anything negative to you in public, I want to move there.

          • AirPlant

            Right? Like I am not saying it is a good thing to be rude to nursing mothers, but one comment in 14 months does not a hostile environment make.

          • Dr Kitty

            I live in Northern Ireland, which is in the dictionary under “reactionary provincial backwater”, and I’ve breast fed #1 for over a year and #2 for three months and counting without a single negative comment…

            I have strong DGAF face and the ability to ignore strangers, so maybe there were dirty looks, but if there were I didn’t see them.

      • Blue Chocobo

        I think she’s looking in the mirror on the wall of the cafe. Gotta make sure she gets the expression right.

  • RaineyDay

    I always pulled my shirt up from the bottom and laid baby across my belly. Nothing showed at all. Most people just thought my baby was sleeping. This exposure is not necessary in order to nurse a baby.

    • Amy

      “This exposure is not necessary in order to nurse a baby.” According to you. Not for everyone.

      • RaineyDay

        no, really, it is not necessary. Babies can easily nurse without the entire breast being exposed. It’s not an opinion.

        • Amy

          Even on a site like this everyone wants to tell everyone else what to do. Obviously you can wear a chador whilst breastfeeding.

    • crazy grad mama

      Meh, I nurse my kid with my shirt pulled down at the neck all the time. It’s quick and easy with a V-neck. But I don’t take pictures of it and post them publicly on the internet.

    • Allie P

      It’s nice that your breasts are so big that you can feed a baby sitting on your lap. We aren’t all so lucky.

      • Poogles

        To be fair, she said “belly” not lap, so that would place baby closer to the breast.

  • Amy

    “Breast exposed far more than needed to feed a baby? Check!”

    I agree with the point of this article, but am not sure how she could expose less breast unless she used a cover?

    • AirPlant

      I was thinking that too? Like the two shirt method is great, but you can get hot. I don’t think nursing mothers should have to sit in a shame cave just because they use their breasts to feed their baby, I am just not sure why they can’t let the boobs flop where they may, get the job done and move on without a damn selfie to commemorate the occasion.

      • Amy

        exactly.

        • AirPlant

          I feel like my position on public nursing can be summed up as “Everyone just STFU.” Nursing mothers? Facebook is not a vital part of your nursing relationship. Feed your kid and STFU. Poor soul who is pathologically afraid of exposed boobskin? Being uncomfortable doesn’t mean that you are going to die and at least the kid isn’t screaming. STFU. Strangers just bursting with parenting advice? Please, seriously just STFU forever. Nobody cares how you feel about how any particular person is feeding their child, least of all the mother in question.
          I would love nothing more than if we all, as a culture found a way to shrug, walk away, and never think about public breastfeeding again.

      • Megan

        I really don’t care what other moms do. I was just mentioning the two shirt method because she asked the question of how to breastfeed in a less exposed manner. Breastfeed however you (general you) want.

        • AirPlant

          I posted mine before I read yours I wasn’t knocking you. I have nothing against the two shirt method, it just isn’t the best answer for everyone. Like if it is august in Texas I don’t need some poor lady to get heat stroke just so I don’t have to see her boob.

        • Amy

          I wasn’t really asking for tips, was I? Obviously you can breastfeed in private if you want to. But often it is easiest for me to breastfeed just like the woman in the picture.

          • Megan

            “but am not sure how she could expose less breast unless she used a cover?”

            Looked like a question to me. Sorry if I misinterpreted. If you want to bush neckline down, go for it. I truly do not care.

    • Bombshellrisa

      An infinity nursing scarf or one of those waterfall cardigans can help without being as annoying as a cover.

      • Michele

        Or throw a burp cloth over the shoulder and the top of the breast. Doesn’t cover baby’s face. If baby pulls the burp cloth down to cuddle or play with it, it’s still covering part of the breast and visually breaks up the exposed skin.

    • PrimaryCareDoc

      Lift the shirt instead of bringing out the whole boob and flopping it over the neckline.

      I mean, the way she’s doing it is going to totally stretch out the neck of the shirt, and it looks damn uncomfortable.

      • PrimaryCareDoc

        Like this.

        • Amy

          glad that works for you. Nice brelfie!

          • PrimaryCareDoc

            That’s not me. Just some random person I pulled up in a Google image search.

          • Karen in SC

            How can that not work for anyone?

          • Amy

            Use your imagination, Karen in SC.

    • Megan

      The few times I managed to nurse in public I wore a regular shirt over a nursing cami. Cup of cami came down, regular shirt came up. Very little exposure and baby wasn’t covered. Personally I would have been super uncomfortable showing any more skin than absolutely necessary, but I know others aren’t.

  • PrimaryCareDoc

    Considering that this woman is also anti-vax and a militant intactivist, I fully expect that the parachuters will be arriving in swarms.

    • Roadstergal

      Penises must be covered, breasts must not? :p

      • Erin

        Because breasts are mammaries and have no sexual appeal besides what the patriarchal society has given them….says the lactivists. I don’t think breasts are equivalent to flopping out a penis in a restaurant though, (let’s be real here) and if a mother has to expose her breastfeed to feed her child, I don’t think it’s lews at all…but for women to suggest breasts flopped out don’t make other people uncomfortable is false. And blaming those people for “sexualizing” the breasts isn’t fair. Hate to say it, but breasts are sexual. Whether that’s right or wrong is arguable, but it is the truth and it’s not the fault of thw people made uncomfortable by the fully exposed breast at the next table. The time in a woman’s life they are used for feeding babies is very short compared to their role in the woman’s sexuality. She shouldn’t be shamed for breastfeeding her child eveb if she has to fully expose herself, but there are ways to be far less obnoxious about it and conscientious of the world around them than drawing unnecessary attention then claimed they are being attacked if they get weird looks. I know they like to belive they live in an egocentric vacuum where the world revolves around them and their parenting choices, but it doesn’t.

        By all means, breastfeed your child if you want, but stop making a spectacle of the act then try to promote it as “normalizing.” By making it like some kind of statement and trying to draw public attention to it, these women are actually being counterproductive to their cause.

        • Roadstergal

          It was a silly joke, but thinking about it – breasts actually are more sexual than penises. As you say, even if you BF, it’s a short time overall compared to a lifetime of use, and for a non-BF like me, they are 100% sexual. Whereas a penis is used for urinating more, over a lifetime, than ejaculation.

          • LaMont

            I don’t know about this – the idea of breasts as purely sexual, while a man’s chest is apparently totally fine to display without any sexual appeal (um, nobody ran THAT idea by me, I’ll say!) is definitely sexist. A woman’s body is assumed to be a sexual item in ways that a man’s isn’t. Comparing chests to chests, there is a clear lack of parity. When a potentially sexual part of the body isn’t being used sexually (i.e. a breast being used to feed a baby, a mouth being used to eat, a hand being used to open a door), it’s not a sex crime to display said body part in public.

          • Roadstergal

            Particularly since a lot of guys have bigger breasts than I do. It’s not anything I’ve figured out, it’s just interesting to discuss.

          • Karen in SC

            When a penis is being used to urinate, it is a crime some places to do that in public. We have private rooms for our excretory system, dressing rooms to try on clothing (that’s non sexual too)….To me, a full on naked breast is sexy and I’m a heterosexual. I guess that is why I purchased nursing tops with slits and wore other similarly discreet tops.

          • LaMont

            I think we’ve societally agreed that both penises/vaginas are primarily sexual organs, and that going to the bathroom (as opposed to feeding one’s child) is best done privately – there’s no gender disparity about excretion privacy, thank god. I agree that chests are sexy (on both genders really) but in my opinion I think we’ve unfairly drawn the line between male and female chests on public display. Women are expected to not act on their arousal when they see an attractive man, but men are expected to be “distracted” by attractive women in similarly revealing attire.

            That said, while I clearly don’t think people’s discomfort with breastfeeders should override their right to do it, I think that breastfeeders looking for a fight is idiotic and this woman featured clearly is doing that. Also, YES breasts are sexual! Come on, anything is sexual if you try hard (hehe) and believe in yourself!

          • AirPlant

            and if the internet is a guide I would say a lot more people like looking a boob photos than dick pics.

          • Erin

            I know you were joking. I wasn’t so much jumping at you as the “breasts aren’t sexual” mantra I hear over and over again that I was anticipating in response to your joke. Sorry about that, but I felt the rebuke coming on and I wanted to nip that in the bud…because they are sexualized, by women as much as men (that’s why the majority of breast augmentation surgery is actually performed on post-breastfeeding women who want to reclaim that sex appeal). Saying they are more sexual than penises though….that’s a stretch to me…

          • Roadstergal

            It’s a funny thought for sure, but why not? Personally, my beats are nothing but sexual, insanely so, to the point where even a breast exam is, embarrassingly, an arousing experience. I’ve known a lot of guys with a lot of kinks, but none who got an erection from urination. For an organ that spends the majority of its time sleeping or eliminating waste, the penis gets a disproportionate share of attention, imo.

        • mythsayer

          This is how I feel. This stuff doesn’t bother me…nudity doesn’t bother me. But I understand it bothers other people and I therefore think we should try to respect as many others as possible while still doing things like feeding the baby. Why do you have to pull an entire breast out in the middle of a crowded room to feed your baby? You don’t. And some of hose people around you will be uncomfortable and they have as much right to be there as you do as your baby does to be fed. So I say, feed the baby but can you TRY not to just blatantly disrespect others’ feelings? Especially once you know how they feel. Instead, these BF militants actively gear up for war.

          Breast ARE sexual in our culture. It’s just how it is. ergo, some people are going to be bothered by breastfeeding. I’m just of the “why can’t everyone try to find some kind of common ground? Just TRY.”

          • Erin

            Amen. I’m pregnant right now and I intend to give breastfeeding the good old college try…but I live in a part of Florida with a huge retirement population…the generation that didn’t breastfeed. Also, teenage boys are not going to think of me whipping my boob out to feed my baby as anything short of titillating for them. If I lived in an area where every woman walked around with exposed breasts and nobody cared I would probably be inclined to do the same, but that is not the area I live in. I understand that’s what lactivists want to change, but they wont do it by their self-righteous, “Look at me! How DARE you look at me! What is wrong with you?” strategy.

            I don’t think anyone here would be outright offended to the point of saying something (manners are king), but I do recognize it isnt normal for them, and it is a bit alarming. Out of basic respect for others than myself, I will be as discreet as possible…and I don’t find anything patriarchal about it. To me, it’s just common decency to be aware of others. Now, if I have a preventive shirt that required full exposure, that’s one thing…but as a breastfeeding mother, I likely wouldn’t wear that shirt out in public to begin with. Just a little forethought and consideration for others that don’t want to be thrown into a public statement about breastfeeding. No one should shame mothers for it, but mothers need to be aware the world doesn’t revolve around their egos and need to feel validated.

          • Roadstergal

            This sounds like an utterly reasonable and thoughtful approach.

          • Dr Kitty

            I’d totally wear that orange top to breast feed but I’d wear it over a nursing camisole, pull the camisole down to expose my breast and pull the orange top up (so my tummy remained coved by the camisole).
            If you don’t mind exposing your tummy, pulling your top up exposes less breast than pulling it down, so the camisole isn’t strictly necessary, but I prefer it.

            I have had no issue feeding my babies anywhere, and I don’t use nursing covers, but there are ways to do it that don’t scare the horses (or old people)

          • Sarah

            The problem is that there isn’t really any ‘common ground’ between people who don’t want women to breastfeed uncovered in public and women who want to breastfeed uncovered in public, is there? There are a lot of scenarios where one group gets their own way and the other has to suck it up. I can’t see any way round that. Far too often, when people talk about compromise in these situations, what they mean is that the breastfeeding woman should be the one making the accommodations.

          • Chi

            During the VERY brief time I was trying to EBF. my husband and I (and our then 5 week old minion) had to travel to another city for his sister’s wedding.

            While we were on the road, where possible, I breastfed in the back of the car as discreetly as was possible. But, I have big boobs and inverted nipples so feeding her involved basically flopping the whole thing out to either try to get her to latch or apply a nipple shield. I had a cover but trying to navigate all the above under that was well nigh impossible.

            So I was trying to avoid making others uncomfortable, and in doing so, actually wound up making myself more uncomfortable. Because seriously, I felt SO squeamish about exposing my boob in public, even if it WAS to feed my child.

            Life got a hell of a lot simpler (and I got harassed more) when I just switched to full-time formula.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        Personally, I think whether breast exposure is allowed or not should not be gender based. Men’s chests and nipples are sexual areas, both in terms of attraction to members of an appropriate gender and in terms of arousal and enjoyment of the area during sex. So if it’s okay for a man to be running around exposing his chest, it should be okay for a woman to too. OTOH, I don’t like for any member of any gender to DEMAND that I pay attention to their chest and/or nipples, which is what kind of seems to be going on here.

        • Roadstergal

          I agree, it should be equally legal for men and women to go topless.

          The thing is, just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s polite – although it’s legal for men to be topless, a man who showed up at my work topless, eg, would get a little chat with HR and a trip home. There are many restaurants where men aren’t allowed to be topless for sure. And while I sympathize with women who just want to feed their babies, it just seems like the trend now is that none of the conventions of Polite apply to women who choose to feed their baby from the tap (I do live in NorCal).