Covering Up is NOT Proper Ediquette

Here is a link to a news story that was recently aired on a popular news station in my state. Watch the video. I am horrified.

First off, I’d like to say I can understand where the argument comes from in thinking that women should cover up while breastfeeding for their company’s sake. I thoroughly believe that if I’m standing somewhere, it is incredibly rude for someone to come up and start smoking next to me, repetitively swearing in front of my toddler, etc. I understand how someone may try to apply that same rule to breastfeeding in public. The problem here is that nursing in public is not a question of etiquette.

Breastfeeding is feeding a baby. Period. That is all. There is no question of someone getting uncomfortable about it because it’s not an issue of modesty or indecency. If someone is feeding a baby with a bottle, they are not asked to cover up. It is the exact same situation. A baby is eating. That. Is. All.

This is, once again, a problem of our society. Breasts are sexualized. This is something unique to our society. In other countries (beyond the “Americanized” nations) there isn’t a second thought given to nursing a child where ever they may be. It is only in our country where it is normal to have swimsuits that show nearly every inch of skin, but it’s not okay to breastfeed where anyone can see you. I’ve seen people go as far as to say that in my own home if someone is visiting, I need to leave the room to nurse. Are you kidding me?

This is absolutely disgusting to me that women in my state are being told that they’re being impolite by nursing in front of anyone beyond their significant other and children” and possibly your mother and sisters. Are you kidding me? I know I’ve said that phrase multiple times in this post, but I can’t sum it up any other way. I feel that shell-shocked that such a prominent news company in my state would air such an outrageous story.

I am all for mothers having the option to cover up if that makes them more comfortable, but a woman should never be told that she has to cover up. You all know my story of Peanut kicking and hitting me when I tried to cover her when she was only 4 months old. If I hadn’t had the courage to nurse without a cover, I wouldn’t still be nursing today. I wouldn’t have even made it to six months.

What hurts me the most is that the women who gave me the courage to nurse without a cover are the ones that are shown nursing at the end of that story. Specifically I see a leader of the Salt Lake La Leche League that I remember looking up to as she so casually nursed both of her daughters while running the meeting. The first place I breastfed without a cover was in that meeting. That specific video a shot of the breastfeeding cafe. How dare they use video of the cafe to tell women that breastfeeding is essentially wrong. That is the exact opposite of the purpose of that event. I am literally typing in tears because I am so angry that they would do this.

Breastfeeding is not sexual.

Breastfeeding is not immodest.

Breastfeeding is not rude.

Breastfeeding is normal, natural, and the absolute best way to feed your child. Period.

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12 thoughts on “Covering Up is NOT Proper Ediquette

  1. Well said sister. Unfortunately changing attitudes takes time but it does happen especially with blog posts like this 🙂
    Stacey

  2. Wow. That’s my state, too and it makes me very sad. I have had some pretty emotional run-ins with people who feel the need to make me cover up to feed Bean and it has nearly pushed me out of places that are very dear to my heart. I too wish that KSL would not have promulgated this unfortunate misconception. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I disagree. I am VERY pro breast feeding, but it would make even me uncomfortable to see another woman breastfeeding un covered. I think it is proper to cover up. Seeing moms uncovered while I was growing up put a negative light on nursing for me. I never wanted to be that mom that made every one else uncomfortable. I have nursed both of my babes and when in public or when I have visitors in my home, I cover up. It is courtious to others. I believe brestfeeding is a beautiful natural wonderful thing and I LOVE nursing my baby, and I believe it is good to show new mothers that are not comfortable showing their brests in public that they can cover up and still nurse in public, I do it all the time. Babies have to eat and everyone understands that, but there is beauty in being proper about it.

    • I think you said it perfectly in your statement that a mom CAN cover up IF she is not comfortable. It’s exactly that–an option.

  4. I would be angry too! I wish I was in Utah and could hang out with you, but alas, I have to nurse in California. But don’t worry! I tandemed right out in the open at the park today!

    I agree with you that no one should tell a woman how covered or uncovered she should be. You do what works for you and your baby and that’s what matters! My 3 year old wouldn’t let me use layers after she was 18 months old, so it was “whip it out” or make a scene with a screaming toddler. Easy choice. 🙂

  5. I hate this idea that you’re either covered up or flaunting your breasts. There IS a middle ground. My 4 month old refuses to be covered. He always has. If I try to use a blanket or an apron he’ll scream and thrash. I use a tanktop and you’d have to look carefully to see skin. If people are offended they can move.

  6. I agree with you 100%. If a mom wants to cover up for herself, go for it. If a mom wants to breastfeed as she pleases, go for it. If someone else is uncomfortable, I have no problem with them owning their own issues and leaving or looking away. I’m not offended by someone else’s personal opinions or hang ups-unless they try to make me an apologist for them. Try inserting any other description that people are prejudiced against into your post in place of “breastfeeding” and people would see how wrong it is.

  7. I would love, love, love for breastfeeding to come to a point where it’s just a non-issue.

    Cover up. Don’t cover up. Who cares?

    Instead, it’s so polarizing—nearly as much, if not as much as unmedicated vs. medicated birth, home birth vs. hospital, and so many other issues surrounding pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting.

    Urgh.

  8. Pingback: Luvs and Nursing in Public | Adventures of Lactating Girl

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