my opinions of nursing in public have evolved quite a bit since giving birth. lately i've noticed quite a few news stories about mothers nursing in public that are told to stop, leave, cover up, go to the bathroom, etc. the response by mothers is to hold a "nurse-in" at the location where the offense took place and demand that the location amend their policies to accommodate nursing mothers. my mind has been preoccupied lately as to what the problem is -- who is right/wrong? the side that wants to feed their baby wherever the baby is hungry? the side that doesn't want to see an exposed breast in public? when it comes down to it, i don't believe that either side is wrong and that instead the fault lies in society as a whole and not the individuals.
the conclusion is that society has taken pleasure out of context.
the physiological purpose of the female breast is to feed and nourish her offspring. there is no other mammal on earth that does not feed it's young publicly. as a society we have been caught and in turn teach to be shocked and embarrassed at the sight of an exposed breast... unless that breast is barely covered by a bikini top or a victoria's secret bra. but there is context to that as well because a bikini top is perfectly acceptable at the beach but not at the mall. photos and billboards of scantily clad vicoria's secret models are acceptable at the mall but people aren't walking around the mall in nothing but underwear. i'm not suggesting that women expose their breasts at all times, just that society accept the breast in one more context... the main purpose of it! the reason we HAVE breasts to begin with!
while i'm not sure that we can change most of society currently, there are probably many individuals that will change their minds with the right perspective. as i said, my own views have evolved quite a bit since giving birth. i even thought it was inappropriate to nurse without a cover until recently i was with a new mother whose baby refused to eat while being covered. so her choices were screaming hungry baby, or partially exposed breast, or to leave (with a screaming hungry baby until finding a private, sanitary place to nurse). i had to ask myself why i thought it was so inappropriate? why was i embarrassed for her and secretly anxiously hope the baby would just allow her to cover up? was it just because of my sheltered upbringing? because in anatomy class of christian high school barely glossing over the reproductive system because it was uncomfortable? i honestly think that the answer to the problem of nursing in public is by introducing it early to our youngsters so that future generations will see it as natural and normal; and that the next generations of children will think asking a nursing mother to stop would be as absurd as asking someone to stop eating in public, or as absurd as asking someone not to feed a baby a bottle in public.
so the problem of seeing the female breast as primarily a sex toy is a byproduct of the bigger issue with our current american culture which is taking pleasure out of context. this is evident both in how we view sex and food. the priorities seem to be backward for most people. with food it is apparent that people eat what is most pleasurable and try to make healthy choices within that. instead we should look at food as our fuel source, looking first at what we will be able to use the most out of and what will provide the best nutrients then secondly what tastes best out of those options. with sex it should be viewed first for it's main purpose - the procreation of our species. the reason sex exists is to reproduce, and it also happens to be awesome. if this was truly embedded into the minds of our children i have no doubt that we would see a sharp decline of STDs, abortion and teen pregnancy.
the bottom line is that we need to see things for what they are *naturally occurring* instead of silly societal stigma.
~~ on the topic of nursing i'd also like to add that nursing isn't always an option and i thank God we have formula ~~