The Topic of Breastfeeding in Public Just Got Hairier


@LaotianComotion: How to gymnurstics in public #laotiancommotion

@LaotianComotion says, "I don't care about #breastfeeding in public and you shouldn't either" #laotiancommotion
One of the rare times I was asked to move to another location to breastfeed was actually by my mom. We were at a Lao wedding and she gently suggested for me to go to the bathroom. First, I was like, “Mom, that’s disgusting; this is your grandbaby breathing in air poop particles.” She revealed a bit of embarrassment, if that’s even a thing for my mom, when she motioned to the table of skeezy Lao men behind us (i.e., my dad’s skeezy Lao friends). Second, I was like, “Wait, why would these Lao OGs, who were breastfed by their own mamas in Laos be skeeved?” and then I remembered: ‘Murica.

I find it hilarious how there are U.S. laws to protect the right for mothers to feed without harassment, lawsuits, or jail time. “Yes, we realized society has just recently shamed the natural act of feeding from your breasts so give us a bit to write up these laws so you can face public outcry with vague legal backing.” #Okay. In many other places in the world, there are no such laws that protect the right to bare lactating breasts in public. Why? Because it’s not a big deal. In Laos, I asked my friend Kelly from The Frog & The Moon, who is an American mom living in Laos, about the breastfeeding laws there and she said there were none. Well, of course not. Here in the United States, there are laws abound! I mean, that’s good to avoid jail food while hangry and all but how dumb. Breastfeeding laws are just dumb in theory.

According to National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), “forty-five states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location.” Allow? You allow me to whip my own boob out because my child is hungry while everyone else is eating too? You allow me to respond to a crying child by sticking a breast in there? You allow me to police my own body parts? The following are the examples of breastfeeding in public laws here in Washington:

2001: Breastfeeding in public is not considered indecent exposure. (RCW 43.70, 9A.88.010)

2009: Breastfeeding mothers are protected under state anti-discrimination law, and can breastfeed their children in places of public accommodation such as restaurants, pools, theaters, government buildings, museums, libraries, busses, or parks. (RCW 49.60.030 and 49.60.215)

In almost 40 months of straight breastfeeding between and tandem of two kids, I really have taken the law in my own hands. Please note I have never had an in-real-life incident with harassment with breastfeeding in public. At least not to my face anyway. I have gotten a few head shakes, a lot of stares, and many more quick stare-then-look-aways. It really wouldn’t matter anyway because I actually have the law on my side-boob. Even if the law did not protect me, there are a number of ways of how to nurse in public the right way:

  • Wear a nursing cover.
  • Don’t wear a nursing cover.
  • Use a bottle.
  • Don’t use a bottle.
  • Perfect your bitchy resting face.
  • Don’t be a bitch.
  • Find a room.
  • Don’t find a room; never a restroom because airpoopparticles.
  • Go everywhere with your 6-foot husband, who’d crush anybody for looking at you sideways while breastfeeding the baby in public.
  • Go places without your significant other.
  • Grow long hair (my recent method).
  • Don’t grow long hair.
  • Don’t care what people think, say, do when you are responding to your hungry baby when out living your life in public.
  • Seriously, don’t give a shit.
I’ve actually done all those ways to be comfortable in public because I was a new mom surrounded by jaded society. It wasn’t until I learned one important thing: I’ve lived my life caring about others (my parents, my boyfriends, my friends) thought about me and my body and the only person who should be bothered is the person whose boobs are attached to. If you are modest about the amount of skin you are showing, you have that right. If you live in the bottom depths of Seven Hells and your baby gets too hot under a cover then ditch that thing. If you prefer a quiet spot in a lounge room with comfortable chairs, sit back and nurse. If you just do not give a shit, then go on not giving a shit because you aren’t doing anything wrong. Not only does the law say so, but you do too. I have done all those things because I do not prescribe to one radical be-all-end-all in breastfeeding and I have never had a single problem.
*For a list of your state’s breastfeeding laws, please go check out Breastfeeding State Laws
The one right way to nurse in public #breastfeeding @LaotianComotion

Law’s On Your Side Boob.

*You may share any images from my blog upon the condition you credit/link to thelaotiancommotion.com. I like when you share but love when you acknowledge the creator. Thank you; don’t be a dick.

Breastfeeders and non-breastfeeders: What do you care about breastfeeding in public? Do boobs bother you? Are you modest?

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24 thoughts on “The Topic of Breastfeeding in Public Just Got Hairier

  1. I breastfeed my son recklessly. All over the place in public. LOL. I did get stares but I think that had more to do with our different skintones. The shock of that prevented people from noticing I was breastfeeding. OK I’m joking. Sorta. But seriously no one gave me a hard time about nursing my son in public. I did carry around an optional blanket for coverage but I made no secret what I was doing. Shame we need a LAW for something so basic as feeding your child.

  2. Modesty is subjective. I have zero issue with some random person seeing my breast but hate if my stomach is exposed. I don’t care where I nurse and how. People can keep on walking. I do get pissed off when mothers are harassed. I’ve been harassed. As a new mom I didn’t fight back. When it happened with #2 I called the cops. Hate that there even need to be laws. Not to mention a lot of the socalled laws are useless without actual consequences. In my opinion the best way I can help future breastfeeding women is to just not give a crap what others think. Normalize it by doing it. Whenever and however I need to.

  3. Great post! Now that I am nursing my second I am much more careless about coverage. Coverage is really my own comfort and what I would be ok with showing. If other people wanna look they can. It’s good we have and see more breastfeeding in public. It’s something to be proud of not feel ostracized or shamed because a nipple or tit is out.

  4. The only reason there are breastfeeding laws is to protect nursing mothers from being arrested for violating public nudity laws. Those laws specifically restrict women from exposing their areola or nipple (along with a host of other, more sexual body parts). Obviously, breastfeeding laws wouldn’t be needed if there were no obscenity laws. Some states and cities (New York) have enacted laws making it legal for women to go top-free (outside public breastfeeding), similar to the way men are allowed to go shirtless.

    • New York really did not need a breastfeeding law as the states Supreme Court has ruled not once, but two times since 1992 that any attempt to outlaw public nudity is a violation of the state’s Equal Rights Amendment laws. The most recent ruling came down in June 2013 after Holly Van Voast challenged her arrest.

      North Carolina is the same way, because their law allowing female toplessness is as old as the state itself, and a few years ago, the state took away local authority to enforce bans on female toplessness (hence why special interests groups in Asheville are lobbying for the state to enact a topless ban on women).

  5. For me, I think it’s which place I’m at. In Laos, it’s so normal and I feel it’s ok if people see my boob but then when I go to the US I feel that you need to cover up. But I’m more of a modest when it comes to breastfeeding and have always used a covering. Tessa doesn’t like it most times as it was hot. We go to the mall a lot to hang out because they have a nursing room which has air con and the rooms are classy:)

  6. I accidentally “didn’t care” all up in meeses nostrils at the mall yesterday. Mega distracted by the extreme amount of people ice skating during the 5 minutes of decent weather we get a year. Looked down to find him giggling and playing peekaboo with people as the quick-glance-look-away’d us. Funsies.

  7. How does your baby not rip your hair out with those iron fists? If I let a single stray hair loose, it gets caught in a death grip and is ripped from my scalp =/ Points for making do with what’s available though!

  8. Well, I am pretty modest and I breastfed all 3 of my children…my oldest two boys until they were one and my youngest, a daughter until 2.5 (I know *GASP* the horror) but because I’m modest I preferred to be covered up. HOWEVER, if I didn’t have a cover or it was too hot or the baby would rather pull the cover off, well then the boob just came out and the feeding commenced…oh well…modesty completely out the window…lol

  9. I breastfed both my babies back in the 80s. The only time anyone said anything was to compliment me for doing it (and it was mostly really old people who did this)! I don’t know when things changed, but I’m very sorry they did. Babies gotta eat.

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