Monday, July 5, 2010

damn, that's something!

Welcome to the July 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public!

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Dionna and Paige at All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public ("NIP"). See the bottom of this post for more information.

and now...

damn, that's something!

by Jennifer Boetzer RN

I have been an overt public breastfeeder from the get go. I have an assertive, intense personality when it comes to things I am passionate about and breastfeeding is high on that list. I had my first child in 2001 and have been breastfeeding 7 of the last 9 years. This makes nursing in public a neccesity. I have nursed on planes, trains, and buses; in stores, parks, and restaurants; I have nursed a 3 year old upside down while he was in a hip spica cast. I have been called a breastfeeding militant and relish the title. I am a lactation counselor and I have a breastfeeding app on my phone. I am a girl who knows my public breastfeeding rights (Hooray Wisconsin for passing the right to breastfeed law). Please, ask me to cover up or feed in the bathroom, I dare ya, you will regret it. I am stocked with a plethora of nursing in public comebacks, I know just what to say, until today.

So today, I am at the store looking at baby sunhats, nursing Ira, 7months old, in a sling. A 20 something fella walks by and says, "damn girl, that's something." I am taken aback, but then start thinking alright, maybe he is a forward thinking 20 something who thinks breastfeeding rules. Maybe his mama breastfed him into toddler-hood and he can still remember those sweet, snuggly moments. Whatever the case may be, I dismiss him and return to my choices in baby hats. But oh my, here he is again looping back around the aisle. This time he is fully ogling my chest, dippy smile on his face as he says, "Damn, that's sexy!" What the, what did he just say? Um, did he mean to say I should feed the baby in the bathroom? Because, I have a biting response for that comment. I have had 9 years to have prepared a snappy retort for his comment, but alas, I have nothing. Doofus and his grin walk away.

I am not pleased to have breastfeeding my child seen as sexy by a total stranger, but I am not outraged either. Perhaps it is this stranger's daffy, misguided enthusiasum for what I am doing, but his comment does not feel oppressive they way a stinkeye look and an admonish to cover up does. We have such an incongruent view of breasts, breastfeeding and sexiness in this culture that I often have wondered what would happen if the US culture decided breastfeeding was sexy. I am reasonably certain everyone would be doing it. As I ponder these thoughts, he makes his way around the aisle for a third gawking at my boob and even if he truly does think breastfeeding is the superior way to feed an infant, enough is enough. So I say,"Dude, (yes, he warranted being called dude) you gotta stop it, it is not sexy it is his food!" He smiles goofily and says oh, oh ok and walks off....

This post is just one of many being featured as part of the Carnival of Nursing in Public. Please visit our other writers each day of the Carnival. Click on the links below to see each day’s posts - new articles will be posted on the following days:

July 9 –
Your Legal Right to Nurse in Public, and How to Respond to Anyone Who Questions It


ruthrnld said...

Jen, you are quite a writer! BTW, does your 3rd child also have a color in his name! You can't blame the "dude" entirely, after all aren't American boys taught that breasts are a sex object?? See ya at the baby factory!

Tara said...

jen, you really ought to write a book. This story is great!

RedPowerLady said...

That was fantastic. I have a huge huge smile. You rock!

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

Wow - that was a great response! I don't think I would have maintained my composure as well as you did!

Erin said...

You probably were a sexy momma!
But, that doesn't mean he should be gawking & ogling & repeatedly telling you so.
Pretty funny story, though!