Lactivists in the News

You have GOT to be kidding me. People are all a-tizzy about a boob on the cover of Babytalk magazine. Exclaims one outraged woman:

“I shredded it,” said Gayle Ash, of Belton, Texas, in a telephone interview. “A breast is a breast — it’s a sexual thing. He didn’t need to see that.”

And yet another:

“I’m totally supportive of it — I just don’t like the flashing,” she said. “I don’t want my son or husband to accidentally see a breast they didn’t want to see.”

My favorite:

“Gross, I am sick of seeing a baby attached to a boob,” wrote Lauren, a mother of a 4-month-old.

These women, quoted in this CNN article, are all worried about how their male sons or their husbands might react to seeing a real live breast out in public. For the record, everyone should read the history of infant formula and face reality. It was a fad. A 100+ year fad, but a fad nonetheless. The fad is over. Or it should be. (Not that all women can or should breastfeed. I think it’s wonderful that formula exists for babies who really need it for whatever reason. Wet nurses are hard to come by these days, and there certainly aren’t any job listings out there for them on

If ever we are to be a society that embraces breastfeeding (which we all should now know is so much healthier for babies), we have to be free to breastfeed in public. It’s just skin and fat, for goodness sake. You see more boob on the beach, on the street, on TV than you do on a lactating woman in public. Get over it, people. It’s not sexual when a baby nurses. It’s just food.

I wish I knew this woman:

Babytalk editor Susan Kane says the mixed response to the cover clearly echoes the larger debate over breast-feeding in public. “There’s a huge Puritanical streak in Americans,” she said, “and there’s a squeamishness about seeing a body part — even part of a body part.”

“It’s not like women are whipping them out with tassels on them,” she added. “Mostly, they are trying to be discreet.”

I’ve seen women sitting on the floor of public bathrooms nursing their babies. Thank goodness for the antibiotic boost that breastfeeding gives those babies; I can’t even imagine the germs that those women must be exposing themselves and their babies to. Even in the workplace, women are relegated to bathrooms for pumping breastmilk in the office as if it’s an elimination function. Try pumping breastmilk, an activity that requires a certain amount of comfort and relaxation to perform successfully, as you endure the sounds, smells and germs that assault you in a bathroom!

A friend of mine pointed out another blog post that discusses this issue as well. Arguably, she put more time and effort into hers and I’m not ashamed to say it’s written much better than mine.

Choice is important. Many women choose to breastfeed in public. If you are averse to seeing boobs in public, stay home. You have a choice too.


8/10/2006: Stephen Colbert talked about this on his show last night. Cannibalism! The man is hilarious.


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