*This blog post is in response to another blogger's question, Is It Really That Hard to Cover Up? It is also an open letter to anyone who has called me (or any other nursing mother)
What is the big controversy about breastfeeding in public?
I’ll admit, I’m on the other side of this, and I’m asking the same question.
I understand; you don’t want to see it. And, believe it or not, I respect your wish, and there’s a simple answer to it: don’t look. Ask your husband not to look. Teach your preschool son to look away. There are plenty of things I see on a daily basis that I'd rather not see, but I generally look away rather than gawk.
I don’t see what’s so offensive about expecting someone who doesn’t want to see it to look away.
For me, it is that hard to cover up. Honestly, my son will make more of a spectacle of nursing if he’s fussing and fighting off a cover, instead of me simply allowing him to latch and still see the world around him. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been nursing my son in public and had someone come to look at him, only to jump in shock – after bursting my personal space bubble – at the fact that he’s attached to my *gasp* nipple.
I am a Bologna Barb, but when my son is nursing, there is no areola to be seen, unless you get super close and look on purpose. I seriously wore more revealing tops (plus push-up bras) when I was a teen/early 20's that revealed just as much "naked breast" (if not more) than I show while nursing my son.
And if you’re getting that close, then it’s your issue, not mine.
I agree, there are many breastfeeders who look down on those who don’t. Gladly, I am not one of them, and neither are any of the breastfeeding mothers I’m friends with. If you're not comfortable with nursing without a cover, that's okay, too! If you'd rather cover/pump/go someplace private for YOUR OWN comfort, that's great! If you'd rather give formula because you don't feel comfortable with your child touching your breasts, or because you are unable to breastfeed for ANY other reason, awesome!! You're still making sure your child is well nourished, whichever way. What it boils down to is that YOU are comfortable, and that YOU are feeding YOUR baby. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, has any right to say anything about how you do it. I'll be caught dead before I'll say anything negative about how another woman feeds her child, unless she's not feeding them at all.
I will not stand for anyone to be made to feel superior over anyone else because of the way they choose to feed their child. I will support anyone who has a desire to breastfeed, but is scared to because of how others might view them, or because they’re afraid of being immodest, or have to overcome any number of physical or mental hurdles.
You contradict yourself when you say there’s no stigma in 2015, yet you’re begging other nursing mothers to cover. It’s sad that, in our day and age, we’re still having to fight for a woman’s right to not be sexualized. Incredibly, in my state, it’s perfectly legal for a woman to be topless anywhere it’s legal for a man to be topless. That’s not even with a baby attached to a boob.
You may not be sexualizing breastfeeding, but you are perpetuating the cultural belief that breasts are sexual things. I think it is possible to break the cycle of breasts (or any other part of a human body) being seen as purely sexual. If we teach our children what they are actually for and refuse to sexualize them ourselves, they will be much less likely to sexualize breasts when they're older. However, if you want to keep sexual things private, I will need to cover my lips, neck, ears, back, legs, feet, hands… well, pretty much every part of me. Because any and all can be sexual, in the right context. Just because a part of a body can be utilized in a sexual fashion does NOT make it sexual in all cases.
Yes, my vagina helped make my baby, but my breasts did not. They did not start their job until after my baby came out of my womb. So comparing my breasts to my vagina is comparing apples to oranges. I say this as politely as possible; that argument is invalid.
I believe that every person has a right to his or her own opinion and version of modesty. I also believe that the only person’s version of modesty I need to live up to is my own. By the same token, the only one you should feel the need to live up to is your own.
I choose to not subscribe to the cultural norm. It’s not that I believe that I’m better than it, just that I don’t think that cultural norm = morally right. If you choose to follow the cultural norm, that is your choice and I’m not going to down you for it, or try to force my personal view down your throat. But I will ask you, what made this view a cultural norm, and why do you choose to subscribe to it? Simply because it is? Is the fact that it just is a reasonable justification for following it?
If you don’t want your husband ogling other women while they breastfeed, ask him not to look. I don’t ask, because it doesn’t bother me. The only thing my husband thinks (we discussed this the other night) when he sees a breastfeeding mother is, "that baby is eating good!"
If you don’t want your preschool son looking at a breastfeeding mother, teach him to look away. Personally, I hope to raise my son (and any other children I have) to not objectify women (or other human beings in general), so that even if he sees a completely topless woman (totally normal and acceptable in many parts of the world, including many places in the UK, not just 3rd world countries) he will simply see her as a human being, not a thing to ogle or think lustful thoughts about.
Also, I hope you ask them to look away from anyone not wearing enough clothes for your liking, and that you keep extra blankets with you to throw over their heads when you're in public, or to throw over said under-dressed people.
I believe the true issue isn’t nursing in public, or doing so covered/uncovered, but rather personal views of modesty.
100 years ago (give or take), it was not considered immodest to nurse a hungry baby, but it was immodest – especially for a woman of “breeding” – to show her ankle. Thanks to the controversial flappers of the 1920’s, who dared not only to show their ankles but their knees, women have continued to have more and more freedom with the way they dress. So, think of me as a flapper, if you will. Maybe, because of women like myself, breasts will no longer be sexual in the next 100 years. I may be a revolutionary, but it is the turn of the century.
Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m beating a dead horse. Maybe there will always be two sides, with a select few yelling back and forth at each other, while the rest of us just want to live in peace.
Keep being the awesome mom I’m certain you are, in the best way you know how to mom, and I’ll keep trying my best to do the same.
I don’t hate anyone for not wanting to see a specific part of my anatomy. Please don’t hate me for asking you to look away.
A fellow mama
*Disclaimer: Author was provided products by Katz Gluten Free at no cost for review. Author was not compensated in any way for her opinion, and the following review is her own opinion, in her own words.
I currently live in Eastern Kentucky, where anything natural and/or organic is hard to find, and gluten free is nearly impossible. What I have been able to find is a far cry from what anyone would hope it to be. Gluten free products are generally dry, rubbery, and – worst of all – gritty. Many lack in flavor. My first real craving during my pregnancy with Bean (before I even knew I was pregnant!) was donuts. The only gf donuts I was able to find at that time were overly dense and heavy, and the donuts themselves lacked in flavor. I was disappointed, and never did get that craving fulfilled.
Several weeks ago, the donut craving bit me again. (No, not pregnant this time! Breastfeeding cravings are worse than the pregnancy cravings, for me.) I was visiting my family in a larger city, where I figured the gf selection would be quite a bit better than where I’m located. Unfortunately, the few stores we were able to visit in the short time we were there were disappointing.
On our last day there, I started an earnest online search before everyone started getting up. I found a review for Katz Gluten Free donuts online, and looked to see if they were sold in that area. In my rush to find a store, I messaged Katz Gluten Free, using the Contact Us form, not thinking about the fact it was a Saturday, and it was unlikely that anyone would be there to answer my message. Shortly after, I found the “locate retailers” link on the website, and was able to find a store we could stop at to get a few things.
On the way home, Bear bought me the glazed, chocolate glazed, cinnamon, and powdered sugar donuts. It had been YEARS since I'd had a good donut, and almost 2 years since my last gluten free donut.
I was unable to resist when I got to the car, and ate two right away! They were light and airy, and not at all gritty. I reluctantly shared a couple bites with Bear, who is not strictly gluten free (though we are at home), and he agreed with me that these are INCREDIBLE!
Even as a chocolate lover, I have to say the powdered are my favorite. They take me back to my days as a kid, riding my bike to the gas station to pick up a pack of mini powdered donuts. The rest of the donuts were delicious as well! I was in heaven.
A few days after we got home, I received a response from Katz, telling me where I could buy their donuts, and recommending that I contact some of my local grocery stores to request them to carry Katz products, as well. I immediately sent emails to my local stores, then replied to the Katz representative that I had, told him how much I loved the donuts, and asked if they would be willing to send me a few things to review for the blog. They happily obliged, and last week I got a MUCH larger box than I expected!
In the box were the following: jelly donuts, chocolate rugelech, everything bagels, English muffins, blueberry muffins, chocolate cupcakes, marble loaf cake, small dinner rolls, whole grain bread, and another box of both glazed and powdered donuts! Here is my take on each one of these products.
Jelly Donuts: Wow! Jelly donuts were always my go-to any time I’d stop at a donut shop. Something about that gooey jelly and powdered sugar everywhere. These did not disappoint! The jelly is just as gooey as I remember, the powdered sugar is perfect, and the donut itself is light with a nice texture. The donut is a little on the dry side, and so is not chewy like I remember regular donuts being, but the jelly balances that out, and you should be eating these with coffee or tea, anyway ;)
Chocolate Rugelech: Rugelech is a traditional Jewish pastry, which look like little pinwheels. The pastry is dense, flakey, and almost crunchy, in the best way possible. Rolled in the pastry is a rich, smooth chocolate. I’m pretty sure it’s one of the first things I tried, and it’s been the hardest to stay away from!
Everything Bagels: I was a little sad that these were not pre-cut, as my experience with gf bagels in the past have been, let’s just say, disastrous. These were surprisingly easy to cut! After toasting, I put a bit of homemade butter on it. Amazing. The bagel was crunchy on the outside, warm and chewy on the inside. As with everything else I had tried thus far, it was not at all gritty (one of my main complaints of gluten free products). Bear and Bean both love the bagels, too!
English Muffins: Not pre-split, but, like the bagels, was easily split for toasting, though I used a fork for the muffin. Crisped perfectly on the outside, and was wonderfully chewy and hole-y on the inside, just like an English Muffin should be. Spread with butter, these have made the perfect addition to my and Bean's daily breakfast of eggs and sausage.
Blueberry Muffins: Warmed quickly in the microwave, these are delightfully sticky on top, the blueberries are whole and juicy, and the muffin is just the right sweetness. I am happy to say that Bean even got to enjoy some of – okay, half of – the first muffin I tried. Adding butter to the warmed muffin was a very, very good decision. :)
Chocolate Cupcakes: Decadent! These cupcakes are rich and fudgy, almost brownie-like. I made some buttercream frosting for them, though they would have been just as amazing without. I would say I’d try to save the rest of them for my birthday, but that is very, very unlikely. :D
Marble Loaf Cake: One of my dearest friends got married this past weekend, and I had the honor of photographing her wedding. If there’s one thing that makes me sad at weddings is no longer being able to eat any of the cake. Wedding cake, in my opinion, is just awesomeness. So I brought the marble loaf cake with us to the hotel. I was going to eat just enough to not feel bad for myself not having any wedding cake, but before I knew it, I had eaten half of the loaf! It is moist, cakey, and not overly sweet or rich. Perfectly balanced and absolutely delicious!
Small Dinner Rolls: Do you remember the dinner rolls you’d get at the restaurant? The ones fresh from the oven; hot, airy, and slightly sweet? Served with butter that melted on them right away… Well, you can have them again. I didn’t have the patience to toast them in the oven, so I popped them in the microwave instead. I could not have asked for anything better.
Whole Grain Bread: The sandwich bread was the only thing that did not far exceed my expectations. It was par for the course where gluten free bread is concerned. It was good, but slightly grainy and fell apart easily if not toasted. It did, however, make incredible French toast. ;)
Another thing that I love about Katz products is that many of them are dairy/soy free, in addition to being gluten free! Many people (like myself) with gluten intolerance also have dairy intolerance, and soy is one thing I’m supposed to avoid with my thyroid disorder. Also, the fact that all of these goodies are made with natural ingredients, I can feel safe giving Bean select items with no qualms. And best of all, for me, is the accessibility. Even though Katz is not sold nearby, I can still order online, and when I want something, simply pull it out of the freezer. Sure, I have an entire board of gluten free recipes on PInterest; but, let’s be honest, ain’t nobody got time for that! Okay, maybe I’m just lazy. And I’m okay with that.
I want to say a huge thank you to Katz for making gluten free delicious again, and for the opportunity to taste just a small selection of your products. You definitely have a customer and advocate for life!
Not only did Katz send me a huge box of goodies, they agreed to share some with my readers! 3 readers will receive a free sampler from Katz, which will include:
· 1 Slice of Whole Grain Bread
· 1 Slice of White Bread
· 1 Slice of Challah Bread
· 1 Powdered Donut
· 1 Chocolate Cupcake
· 1 English Muffin
· 1 Cookie
· 1 Rugelah
· 1 Slice of Marble Cake
To enter, follow the steps below. Enter and share away! I will be selecting the winners next Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Best of luck!
Mama Bear of one Baby Bear, Bean, who both love Papa Bear, and live in a crafty, gluten-free cozy den.