I am so proud of my husband who wanted to speak out for a woman’s right to breastfeed! We have sat on the sidelines of this debate for too long and I rarely see men discuss it in a non hateful way. You will love (or really hate) his insight!
Breastfeeding especially in public has been a hot topic issue lately especially in the media. It is something my wife has kept me quite informed about and has shown me many articles on both sides of the fence and the slew of comments that follow. It is something we have both discussed extensively as she is due to give birth in September and she has chosen to breastfeed.
I did not give breastfeeding much thought or had much exposure before I started dating Gwen. When we were first dating, her sister was on her breastfeeding journey. When we were all together it wasn’t uncommon for her to feed her child on demand and usually uncovered since it was summer and a cover made her son too hot to eat. This never made me uncomfortable, I just looked away when it was obviously time for the baby to eat. Once he was latched you couldn’t see anything anyways. We had the same positive experience now with her second baby.
The idea to me that a woman feels forced to feed their baby in a bathroom, changing room, asked to cover up with a hot blanket is something I don’t truly understand. Isn’t it more distracting to people to hear a screaming, crying baby than for a woman who can quickly (and usually discreetly) get into feeding position to comfort and nurse her child? If it makes you uncomfortable you can choose to look away or leave.
As men in society, we are constantly bombarded by sexual images from commercials, Facebook, and most television shows and no one gives this a second thought. Heck go to a beach and you will see swim suits that expose more. I’ve never experienced a woman breastfeeding, covered or uncovered to be a provocative experience however a walk in my local mall past Victoria Secret and La Senza I feel a need to advert my eyes out of respect for my wife and the women in those photos.
Watching my wife go through pregnancy has been one of the most beautiful experiences. I’m in awe how her body just naturally knows how to grow this child and I’m educated that afterbirth her body can exclusively keep this child alive. I am happy we live in a country where she can feed her baby wherever she is allowed to be in whatever way she and baby are most comfortable. As a husband I would feel protective of my wife and daughter against those who say rude comments if someone violated their legal right to feed her child wherever and however she chooses.
Here are some common misconceptions I hear from other men and how I feel about it:
1- “Women use Breastfeeding as an Excuse to Show off their Breasts”: Ummm if a woman wants a place to show off their body there is something called Faceboook, Instagram, low cut tops, and the beach. My guess is most women don’t view their breastfeeding as sexy so I highly doubt they are trying to seduce you by nursing in your vicinity.
2- “It’s Unnatural” – There is nothing more natural than feeding your baby. People say, “well going to the bathroom is natural but we don’t do it in public.” I refuse to not be a gentleman and let my immaturity cause a woman to have to feed in the discomfort of a bathroom or make their baby wait till their home.
3 – “Why Can’t they Just Wear a Cover?” – From being on double dates with my wife and her mommy friends, they say a blanket makes the baby hot, uncomfortable, and it’s so dark. Many babies just bat the covers off anyways. If you are seeing skin, be respectful and turn away.
In reality, women have been breastfeeding since the beginning of man kind and it is not something that is going away. It saddens me the amount of hate directed towards mothers who genuinely wish to feed their baby by breast. I can’t say it enough that if it makes you uncomfortable it’s your choice to leave or look away as it is a woman’s legal right to be doing exactly what she is doing. As men it is our job to stand up for our partners rights, be respectful of others, and empower women to comfort their babies in whatever way they choose.